Voice of the Employee

A desirable location, good job security and getting along well with colleagues are all key ingredients for career contentment, new research by Canada Life Group Insurance has found. However, employee benefits play a valuable role in supporting the happiness of a workforce.

Among those who are happy in their current role, two fifths (40%) cite working close to home or in a desirable location as a major reason for their happiness. A third (32%) say job security is a major contributing factor, while around three in ten (28%) claim that getting along with their boss and colleagues is a key reason behind their happiness.

Money troubles endanger happiness at home and in work

On the other hand, over half (54%) of people looking to move jobs in 2017 are seeking better pay. Money worries often go hand in hand with stress and anxiety, in the workplace and at home. Mind, the mental health charity, conducted research that revealed 30% of respondents considered debt or financial problems as quite or very stressful.  The Royal College of Psychiatrists also asserts that half of adults with debt also have a mental health condition.

Not every employee with money worries can simply be given whatever raise they might need, but that does not mean employers are completely unable to help. Employee benefits can help employees to identify and manage issues, particularly Employment Assistance Programmes (EAP) which are included with many Group Income Protection (GIP) products.

However, having employee benefits is only the first step. More than a quarter of respondents (27%) stated they have never had the employee benefits that they are entitled to communicated to them by their current employer. Employers who want to maximise their benefit spend should familiarise themselves with the full breadth of their products and have a robust communication strategy in place to publicise those benefits to their staff.

Benefits like Group Income Protection are an effective recruitment aid

Despite the poor communication of employee benefits, workers see their potential. Three in five (59%) content employees say the quality of their benefits package is important. Benefits such as GIP and Group Critical Illness (GCI) are seen as desirable; around one in seven (14%) employees who are happy in their current job said they would be tempted to move if they were offered GIP or GCI by another company.

Paul Avis, Marketing Director of Canada Life Group, comments: “We spend so much of our time at work that it comes as no surprise to learn that the people and environment contribute so much towards our happiness. Unfortunately, contentment doesn’t pay the bills, and over half of employees looking for a new job in 2017 are on the hunt for higher pay; or at least think they are.

“We can’t do anything about your office location, but employee benefits can help in ways that might surprise you when it comes to the other ingredients for loyal, contented staff. Support services such as EAPs give employees a direct line to qualified counsellors who they can speak to in confidence about any troubles they may be having, at home or in the workplace. Stress and anxiety can be acknowledged and managed, and advice about debt management can be sought.

“Knowing their employer has considered their wellbeing and purchased products like GIP, with vocational rehabilitation and a day-one Early Intervention Service, can also help employees feel secure in their role. These benefits say, between the lines, that if something happens to them then they will be helped, not abandoned. Loyalty goes both ways, after all.

“Unfortunately, these benefits are poorly communicated, resulting in some staff missing out on important support. Group benefits are an effective retention and recruitment aid – with staff saying they would move jobs for benefits like Group Income Protection – and are more affordable than employers think. But all the advantages are undone if they aren’t properly communicated – it’s crucial that employers regularly let their staff know the benefits that are being provided for them, proving they value their employees.”

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