Less than a quarter (22%) of employers target benefits to specific demographics in their workforce, dependent on their age, lifestyle and risk factors, according to new research from Towergate Health & Protection.
This means that their health and wellbeing support may be under-valued, under-utilised, and ineffective in helping to keep employees healthy.
The survey found that most employers (57%) offer exactly the same benefits to all staff, and 18 percent base their benefits offering solely on seniority of staff.
However, half of employers (49%) say they would like to target employee benefits to different demographics, but they find this too complicated.
By taking demographics and risk profiles of staff into consideration it is possible to make health and wellbeing support much more targeted. For example, if employees are found to be at high risk of developing a certain health condition, like diabetes, then they could be provided with appropriate preventative benefits like nutrition advice, screening services and increased support to improve fitness.
“Risk profiling is revolutionary for employers, it can ensure health and wellbeing support is targeted and makes a tangible difference and, what’s more, it’s very simple to implement. This is a gamechanger for employee benefits, and the increase in engagement is quantifiable,” says Head of Specialist Consulting for Towergate Health & Protection, Debra Clark.
Benefits of risk profiling
The overwhelming majority of those surveyed (78%) said it would be valuable to have a better understanding of the risk profile of the health and wellbeing of their staff.
The main reason for this was to enable employers to tailor health and wellbeing support to help keep employees healthy and in work, stated by 49 percent.
Also, 42 percent said it would mean they could tailor their health and wellbeing support to the specific needs of their workforce. Aiding recruitment and retention would be the reason 39 percent of employers would use risk profiling, while 38 percent felt it would help to meet corporate and social responsibilities.
For 32 percent of employers, the advantage of risk profiling would be that if they were only able to offer a limited range of health and wellbeing support, it would help them to prioritise what was most relevant.
Not only does risk profiling enable the employer to carefully target the benefits on offer to staff, but the undertaking of risk also profiling itself helps to engage employees with their own health and wellbeing.
Once they are aware of any increased risks of illnesses, such as having high blood pressure, they are more likely to take an interest in their own health, it increases their propensity for self-care, and they’re more likely to appreciate benefits focussed directly at helping with their own individual concerns.
“Employers have put forward really good reasons for using risk profiling. It enables health and wellbeing support to be focussed exactly where it is needed. If employers are only able to offer a small selection of benefits, then it makes a huge amount of sense to ensure that they are really relevant to the specific workforce and that the support will benefit the company too by helping to keep each employee healthy and productive,” adds Ms Clark.
How can employers implement risk profiling?
Implementing risk profiling is simple and cost-effective. It can be done using a straightforward questionnaire.
This can be set up to provide anonymised overall results for the employer but also to give the individual their own risk details.
The information can then be used by employer and employee alike to help to address particular areas of concern.
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview. With a master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.