SME employers encourage healthier lifestyles, says Standard Life report

One in two bosses of small businesses claim to encourage employees into healthier lifestyles and say that it reduces days off sick and improves staff loyalty, according to a new survey.

Standard Life’s Attitudes to Healthcare survey, also found that three in 10 small business bosses believe they should be directly involved in supporting their employees’ health and wellbeing.

The research found 77 per cent of employers felt should be directly involved in supporting their employees’ health and wellbeing, while 76 per cent said that employees would find it more attractive to work for an employer who supported employee health and wellbeing.58 per cent said that staff loyalty would be improved and a further 50 per cent said that employee health and wellbeing would be improvedThe report found that If bosses could design a preventative health programme 67 per cent would include PMI, 65 per cent would include flexible modules, 56 per cent would include health advice, and 47 per cent helplines and 24/7 telephone access to a GP.

Fast access to hospital/medical care was rated as important by 91 per cent of bosses, with 86 per cent valuing the ability to choose when and where to be treated. Access to a GP by telephone at any time of day or night, advice and support in dealing with complex staff sickness or disability issues and discounted health screens were all attractive to a majority of employers as were add on services such as dental cover/travel insurance and a facility for pre-employment health checks.

Mike Hall, chief executive of Standard Life Healthcare, says: ‘An overwhelming majority of small business bosses rated the key benefits of PMI as important, with many stressing that they were very important.

Furthermore the business case for supporting staff wellbeing and protecting them and the company with fast private access to medical care is clearly understood; many bosses see the link between staff wellbeing and recruitment, retention, sickness levels and of course ultimately productivity.

This is a widely held view among small businesses of all sizes – from sole traders and partnerships to firms of a hundred or so staff.

See special healthcare for SMEs supplement