So we’re into 2012 and although the hope from most businesses is that it’ll be a better year than 2011, all of the indicators suggest it won’t be.
The UK’s spiralling debt, together with the ongoing Eurozone crisis and a flat economy in the US are all going to make trading difficult for many organisations, both large and small.
Amidst the doom and gloom around there are perhaps lessons to be learned, and inspiration to be gleaned, from organisations that started operating in times of economic recession. Apparently, Hyatt, FedEx and Microsoft were all started during recession years; and although it is unlikely that any were quite as bad as what we have in store for us now, it is heartening to know that new ideas, and simply better ways of doing things, can prevail no matter what the economic outlook is like.
I think the take away message is clear. UK businesses need to take a critical look at what they are doing and how they are doing it. Nothing should be sacred and everything should be questioned. But, in order to do this we need energised, innovative and productive employees on the case. With this in mind there really is no better time than now to also take a critical look at your health benefits to make sure they deliver the best value to your employees as well as the best return to you as an employer.
Public sector expenditure is being pared back at a rapid rate. And although no politician will publicly acknowledge the fact, it is clear that front line healthcare services will be impacted in the future. I believe that employer provided health benefits have already started to be perceived as being more valuable by employees. Rather than the "nice to have" add on that they were in times of plenty, they are increasingly being seen as an integral element of the overall employment package.
From the employer's perspective a clear health and wellbeing strategy for the coming years is a must. How do you want to approach employee health? What do you want to get out of it and how are you going to achieve a healthier and more productive workforce? These are all questions that need to be asked, but they also provide a pathway to a better performing and more innovative organisation.
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