Employees not reaping the benefits

Article date: 26 April 2002

Hardworking Brits are urging businesses to shake up theiremployment benefit schemes, according to new research outtoday.

While almost half of full-time employees admit they’d feelmore loyal to their employer if they were offered health- relatedbenefits, three quarters say they don’t receive any benefitsat all from their current employer.

Norwich Union Healthcare’s ‘Well-being atWork’ study also reveals that companies could be wasting over£1,500 million (fifteen hundred million GBP) on benefits that areout of step with their employees’ needs.

The research amongst 1,000 companies* shows that many areoffering traditional perks such as subsidised canteens and freemedicals, when in fact their staff are looking for 21st centurybenefits that fit in with their busy lifestyles.

Almost a third say they’d like a personal fitness traineror on- site GP as part of their employment package. And a quarterwould like their company to introduce duvet days – wherestaff are granted a last minute ‘no questions asked’day off work.

The most common health-related perks currently being offered bybosses are free fresh fruit in the office, a working from homepolicy and wellness rooms to allow staff to take time out or abreak during work hours.

The ‘Well-being at Work’ study reveals that the topsix health related benefits staff would like to see introducedare:

  1. Personal fitness trainer
  2. On-site GP services
  3. Duvet days
  4. Personal grooming services (ie hairdressing)
  5. Staff concierge services
  6. Life coaching/mentor

Norwich Union’s research amongst both employers andworkers also showed:

  • 44 per cent of bosses believe that staff retention andperformance has improved due to the benefits package they offerand say it’s the top reason they offer perks
  • More than three in five people believe that fewer companieswill offer health related benefits due to the economicdownturn
  • Employers in Scotland and the North are the most generous withemployment benefits spending an average of £3,141** on theiremployees. Companies in the South spend the least - £1,079**.

Dr Doug Wright, clinical development manager for Norwich UnionHealthcare, said: “Today’s workplace is very differentfrom that of 20 years ago and employers need to understand thedifferent pressures their staff are faced wit


“It’s even more difficult for working parents tocope with the stresses of employment, with British parents theworst off in Europe emotionally and financially - maternity pay hasfallen in real terms and is now less than half the Europeanaverage.

“Our research shows that providing the health-relatedbenefits and perks that employees want can not only play a key rolein staff retention and happiness, but also dramatically improvetheir quality of life.”

Mike Emmott, spokesperson for the Chartered Institute ofPersonnel Development, added: “Organisations increasinglyfaced with stressed staff and high turnover rates, or struggling tomaintain morale and productivity, are realising the importance ofhealth-related benefits in improving the effectiveness of theiremployees.

“Employers who take the time to find out the kinds ofbenefits their employees want will reap the rewards in the form ofimproved performance and motivation, more effective recruitment,reduced costs of stress and reduced absenteeism. Few companies willbe able to afford not to make them a priority.”

*Companies with less than 50 employees
**Money spent per company on health-related benefits per year

Press contact:
Matthew Buchanan or Anja Kueppers at QBO on 020 7379 0304 or LouiseZucchi at Norwich Union on 08703 66 68 60 or 07860 203 466

Notes to editors

  • Norwich Union Healthcare commissioned research amongst 101small business owners and 582 working adults in January andFebruary 2002.
  • Norwich Union Healthcare is the healthcare arm of NorwichUnion and provides a range of private medical insurance and incomeprotection products to around 750,000 customers. It is one of thelargest providers of income protection and private medicalinsurance in the UK.
  • Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer offering acomprehensive range of long-term savings and general insuranceproducts.
  • Member of the General Insurance Standards Council
  • Norwich Union’s news releases are available on thisinternet site
  • A selection of images is available from the CGNU Newscast siteat www.newscast.co.uk
  • An ISDN facility is available for studio quality broadcast.Call the press office on 08703 66 68 68

For all life and pension media enquiries 08703 66 68 73
For all other media enquiries 08703 66 68 68

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