Putting Employee Wellbeing First: Employee health, emerges as top concern
Employees are the lifeblood of any business – big or small. Whether there’s five or 500 people on the team, each person plays a pivotal role in helping a business operate smoothly, achieve growth, thrive and succeed.
It should come as no surprise that economic concerns came out on top – with 61% of businesses flagging this as their biggest concern (refer to Figure 1.1). Coming in at a close second however were issues and concerns around employees, which was flagged by 58% of businesses.
Putting employee concerns in focus
When you explore the research findings, it becomes clear that businesses are concerned about a range of issues directly relating to their employees. These include:
- The mental health of those working in and around the business (23%).
- Maintaining Covid-safe practices (23%).
- Risks related to employee health and safety (22%).
- The difficulty of attracting and retaining good staff (15%).
- Offering and facilitating remote working (11%).
Employers are concerned about a range of insurable and uninsurable issues when it comes to employee matters. In New South Wales mental health concerns stand out, whereas COVID-safe practices are prevalent in Victoria. Attracting employees is a bigger concern in South Australia, while remote working is a concern for all except South Australia.
When business owners and operators rate the importance of their insurance cover across a range of potential risks, health and safety concerns are a clear area of focus – but there are other issues at play.
Not only are these issues seen as important – they’re also seen by many businesses as complex topics when it comes to insurance. For example:
- 51% of those surveyed see their responsibilities as an employer as complex when it comes to making sure they have the right level of insurance.
- 47% see changes to their employee safety guidelines as a complex area.
The good news, however, is these are key opportunities for brokers to demonstrate expertise and support for clients. Consider the following graphic (Figure 1.4), which highlights the key insurance-related areas that are seen as particularly complex.
Employee responsibilities and regulations are widely considered to be complex, suggesting a clear opportunity for brokers to help clients in this area. In particular, businesses with 200-499 employees have major employee responsibilities but may not have large human resources, safety or risk teams to help – so a brokers’ expertise is particularly valuable.
These areas of complexity are ones where brokers could remove complexity for clients, such as discussing employee issues, sharing specific insights related to business types or industries, and providing information to make sure business owners and operators are aware of their responsibilities.
There is also an opportunity to educate clients, identify the risks to their business and provide advice on how to reduce and mitigate these risks to help prevent workplace accidents or incidents.
More than 20% of the business owners and decision makers surveyed believe that the mental health of their employees – as well as their own – is a key concern.
23% of business owners and decision makers are very concerned about the mental health of employees. This increases to 32% when looking at large businesses and 29% when looking at CBD-based businesses.
44% of businesses believe that workplace accidents and employee safety are key insurance concerns.
What may surprise you, however, is that this type of thinking isn’t limited to those operating businesses in industries generally seen as risky, for example construction or manufacturing. Even in industries such as education and administration – which involve a lot of desk work – health and safety remains a key area of concern.
For example, mental health claims along with claims related to stress, bullying and harassment are prolific in white collar industries. Musculoskeletal claims – such as those for RSI, back injuries or work-related slips, trips and falls – are also still a factor.
The opportunity that presents itself to brokers is to lead important discussions with clients around protecting employees from risk, no matter the industry a business operates in.
This could take the form of helping a business identify key risks specific to their industry or ways of working, and then collaborating to help put measures in place to reduce those risks, which could benefit the premium of relevant insurance protection.
New ways of working don’t just require a rethink of established ways of doing business, they open business owners and operators up to confusion about risks to their employees and insurance, especially when it comes to health and safety.
31% of those we surveyed want to ensure that their employees who work remotely or from home are covered.
On top of that, 68% of business owners and operators who are concerned about cover for their remote workers believe that knowing what they will or won’t be covered – and the risks at for is a grey area.
This provides a huge area of opportunity for brokers to offer up clarity, advice and expertise – working with clients explaining to clients exactly what their remote workers can be covered for, as well as the cost implications now and into the future.
The prevalence of remote working raises new risks and questions for employers. How can brokers help businesses effectively manage risks and protect their workers who are working remotely?
So, what’s next?
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