A holistic approach to employee benefits is good for you and your clients

Nashalin Portrag, Head of FundsAtWork at Momentum

By Nashalin Portrag, Head: FundsAtWork, Momentum Corporate

Has your doctor ever spoken to you about the benefits of a holistic approach to health – a view that looks at the whole person and all the different aspects of good health? Interestingly, the same thinking is relevant to the “health” of a business. 

More South African employers are recognising the benefits of investing in the financial, mental, emotional and physical wellness of their employees. Their employee benefits mix not only helps them win in the war for talent acquisition and retention but also makes employees feel appreciated, protected and invested in the success of the business.

However the employee benefits mix is often delivered on a somewhat fragmented basis with little, if any, integration between the different elements. This however is changing with some leading service providers now rewarding employers for providing a comprehensive package of employee benefits and removing obstacles which prevent financial advisers from delivering a more holistic solution.  

Nowadays progressive employee benefits providers offer programmes that recognise and reward employers for providing employee benefits, as well as behaviours like engaging regularly with their employees and making sure their workplace is safe and healthy. Some employers can earn financial rewards of up to R600 per employee per year on programmes like these.

Employers participating in these programmes not only benefit from improved employee engagement but can invest their rewards in initiatives that further boost engagement levels and help sustain business continuity in challenging times.

Programmes are now also available to support and reward financial advisers who want to unlock the benefits of a holistic approach for their clients.  

The employee benefits industry is highly regulated and financial advisers have to meet specific licencing and accreditation requirements to sell different employee benefits. For example, a financial adviser may be licensed to sell group retirement benefits but not other group benefits like health solutions. This means financial advisers without all the necessary accreditations are limited in what they can sell and may miss out on the benefits of offering their clients a holistic solution. 

However, if the financial adviser participates in a service provider’s programme which gives them access to a dedicated team of experts licensed in all the product solutions, they are able to leverage the value of a more holistic approach. This team works alongside the financial adviser, sharing valuable insights to help inform the implementation of tailored interventions that positively influence employees’ financial outcomes and  strengthen their client relationship.

Furthermore, participation in such a programme helps the financial adviser to optimise their earnings and secure recurring income.

A great example for demonstrating the benefits of a holistic approach is the positive impact that an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) can have on absenteeism and disability benefits. 

Historically EAPs operated outside the employee benefits mix, focussing on employees’ emotional and mental health. However the expansion of these programmes to address work-life issues such as legal and financial support, family relationships and physical health means EAPs are now perfectly positioned to help reduce some of the stressors that can result in absenteeism and disability.

When an employee returns to work after a disability, the EAP can also help facilitate a speedier, less stressful, more successful return. Plus, data analytics generated by an EAP can help identify high-risk areas and drive appropriate preventative interventions.

In these challenging economic times, financial advisers should carefully consider how their clients can extract greater value from their employee benefits, as well as ways to optimise their earning potential and strengthen the sustainability of their brokerage.

Visit the official COVID-19 government website to stay informed: sacoronavirus.co.za