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21 Dec 2021

A benefit for the talent tool-kit

Have you considered this employee benefit for your business?
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Finding and retaining great staff: As any business owner will attest, it is perhaps one of the most – if not the most – important aspects of running a successful venture.

But as with all important things, it certainly can be challenging. Particularly in a tight labour market with, as Statistics New Zealand recently reported, the lowest unemployment rate since just before the GFC (December 2007). And added to that, sharp increases in inflation to levels not seen in just over a decade with the corresponding pressure on wages and spending power.

It’s been quite a year, once again, and in no small measure a challenging one on the talent front. And looking ahead, it’s likely that 2022 will continue to deliver the same set of challenges for Kiwi business owners. So, as we bring 2021 to a close, take a breather over the break and think strategically about next steps, what else could business owners add to their talent tool-kit in the coming year?

Health cover for employees (Group Health Insurance) is definitely one for business owners to consider, says Scott McRobie of Custom Financial, a financial adviser based in Auckland. Here’s why:

Another challenging year for business. What can Group Health Insurance offer in the race to win and retain talent?

At the best of times, finding new staff who are a great fit for the role and culture of the business can be challenging. Add the market pressures of 2021, and that just got even harder for Kiwi business owners. It’s more and more important to ‘stand out from the crowd’.

One-third of job-hunting Kiwis consider subsided health cover as a factor when assessing potential employers (reported by Southern Cross). And I think there’s a couple of layers there: first, at a practical level, it is a valuable employment benefit that an individual may not otherwise be able to access; and secondly, offering this type of benefit shows a prospective employee that the business takes care of its staff – that management are mindful of employees’ health and wellbeing. Of course, this is not the only way a business can take care of its employees, but for someone new to you and new to the way you run your ship, it sends a nice clear signal.

And for existing employees, the people you have spent countless hours with, training, getting to know, and in many cases, coming to rely upon to run an efficient and profitable business, offering health cover is a powerful retention and productivity tool, amongst other benefits.

When you look at it from the perspective of what most of us are seeking in life, of course it just makes sense. When people feel valued, appreciated and cared for, they’re not just happy to stay where they are, they play their best game. And in a business context, this can translate to better retention of employees, higher productivity, less sick leave, and of course, a healthy business culture. In fact, in that Southern Cross report I mentioned, they highlighted that businesses with health cover in place for their employees, on average, report one less sick day per full time employee per year. For a business with five staff, 10 staff, 20… that can really add up.

You mentioned that it can help employees access cover that they might otherwise not be able to get. How so?

Historical and existing health issues can make obtaining health insurance difficult for individuals, and where it is possible to obtain, will likely include exclusions for those health conditions. Group Health Insurance on the other hand, does not exclude pre-existing conditions. So in short, for some, it can actually make getting cover possible. This is particularly beneficial for businesses with an aging workforce, where it is more likely that staff have pre-existing conditions.

Mental health has been a much talked about topic, in particular since the onset of the pandemic. How can Group Health Cover assist in this area?

Insurance providers have enhanced the benefits available in Group Health Insurance to support mental health since Covid-19, and certainly as understanding of the toll the pandemic was taking on mental health grew. I work with a number of providers in the Group Health Insurance space and each offer benefits specific to mental health.

How does a business get Group Health Insurance underway?

From a business owners’ perspective, one of the often-unsung features of Group Health Insurance is how easy it is to administer. I say it is easy, as it is essentially handled by the insurer and the adviser.

Typically, this is what a business owner could expect: I talk through the options available and costs with the business owner; once the plan that will be offered is agreed, I meet with each employee to explain the options they have (depending on the scheme and provider) and what is going to be covered going forward; and then every year, I check in with both the employer and each employee to assess any changes that may need to be addressed.

You mentioned options a couple of times there. That suggests that it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution?

That’s right. There are various insurers that offer this type of cover, and each have different levels of flexibility and different benefits. What’s more, there are some cost levers that business owners can adjust – for example policy excess levels to decrease premiums, and so on. Getting advice upfront helps the business owner to thoroughly assess what’s available in the market, and what’s right for their business, employees and bottom line. That’s what I’m here for – sharing knowledge, so that my clients can make informed decisions.


Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current developments or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.