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Employee Wellbeing and Productivity

Regardless of which phase of the pandemic lifecycle we are in, an organization’s people should be at the heart of its response strategy. The following are some key areas you should consider (and their corresponding pandemic lifecycle stage) to ensure continual functioning of your business without jeopardizing the wellbeing of your employees.

Employee health and benefits

Businesses today not only compete for customers, they also compete for employees. Yet attracting, retaining, and maximizing productivity of talent can be as challenging as building the business.

When Australia makes it through this pandemic and businesses impacted by COVID-19 start to re-build, there will be increased competition for talent across all industries.

The businesses that are most attractive to employees differentiate their people value proposition in many ways. Benefits can be a key part of this. To set your organisation apart, a key differentiator could be to include an employee health and benefits offer that is tailored to the people you want to attract and retain, and to lead in your industry or the talent pool you are targeting.

Mercer Marsh Benefits (MMB) is a collaboration between Marsh and Mercer Consulting. Together, we represent one of the largest employee benefit consultancy and brokerage businesses in Australia, with a combined experience of more than 50 years in employee benefits brokerage, consulting, and HR outsourcing businesses.

The experienced MMB team can develop a bespoke Employee Benefits Program — with a single source for managing the associated costs, risks, and complexities.

The result? A collaborative-based approach providing a competitive benefits program that can better serve your employees, who in turn, help your business thrive in a competitive marketplace. MMB can further support you by arranging:

  • Group Life, Disability and Salary Continuance Insurance
  • Private Health Insurance – Fully / part subsidized or Voluntary
  • Group Personal Accident and Sickness Insurance
  • International Health Insurance – For Expatriates and non-residents
Want to learn more about Employee Health and Benefits?

Workplace social distancing infection strategies

Prior to COVID-19, social distancing was a term that most employers and employees had never heard of. Today, in the absence of a vaccination, social distancing and good hygiene practices are the two main weapons in the fight against COVID-19.

Social distancing and infection reduction now also form part of an employer’s Workplace Health & Safety (WHS) Duty of Care, in that they must ensure adequate information, training, supervision and instruction around this control strategy to ensure the health and safety of the workforce.

For over 30 years, Recovre (Marsh’s in-house safety, rehabilitation and return to work specialists) has been known as a leading Australian provider of customised Workplace Health & Safety and Workplace Rehabilitation service solutions to help individuals and organisations realise their full potential. 

Recovre can work with businesses to build pragmatic and tailored programs, and educate your workforce on social distancing and infection reduction strategies delivered through quality online training solutions.

Working from home strategies 

The world of work has changed dramatically as workplaces adjust to protect employees from the spread of COVID-19. Employers are shifting to work-from-home arrangements, with some testing these measures for the very first time.

Home has become the new workplace for many across Australia, and data tells us every effort needs to be made to help mitigate injury and help keep your employees healthy, safe and productive whilst working from home.

The Recovre team can help businesses to:

  • Develop Working from Home (WFH) Policies and Procedures
  • Develop “home based” safety and ergonomic self-assessment checklists or review or update existing checklists to ensure they are appropriate and cover all risks
  • Rollout workstation set-up and self-management
  • Conduct remote ergonomic assessments and coaching
  • Conduct home ergonomic training

Mental health, resilience and wellbeing training

According to Heads Up, mental illness impacts 1 in 5 Australians with many workplaces now recognizing that keeping their employees safe at work doesn’t just mean physically but mentally as well.

The current COVID-19 situation is unprecedented, with many Australians now concerned about both the health impacts and financial impacts of this pandemic. It is very likely that employees will be experiencing elevated levels of stress and anxiety, so it is critical to ensure that your managers, supervisors and employees understand mental health.

Recovre can support your business with a variety of mental health, wellbeing and resilience training courses, including courses specifically tailored for frontline leaders to give them the skills and confidence to effectively manage mental health issues in the workplace.

Our programs can also be tailored to your industry, to ensure that they are relevant to the business environment your employees operate in. 

Employee assistance programs

The current COVID-19 situation means many employers and employees are likely to experience heightened levels of stress, anxiety, mental health issues and conflict at home.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) provide direct counselling to employees to enhance the emotional, mental and general psychological wellbeing of all employees, including immediate family members.

Recovre Psychological Services is a team of highly experienced psychologists and counsellors who can provide employees with a safe, confidential space where they can seek professional advice, support and counselling. EAP can also be provided to employees’ direct family members at the discretion of the employer. We specialize in the provision of effective short term solution-focused counselling interventions, usually over three sessions.

Upon identification of more significant long term counselling needs, Recovre can refer clients to a large network of agencies and psychologists for further assistance to ensure continuity and effective care.

Return to work support

The impact of COVID-19 on Australian businesses has been both positive and negative. Some businesses, such as supermarkets and certain manufacturers – whilst having to deal with unprecedented supply chain issues – will ultimately thrive. Whereas others, such as restaurants or retailers who have taken a heavy hit during lockdown restrictions, are now struggling to recover. Australian employers will be managing their way through a situation never before experienced, with employees that are uncertain about their future.

With government restrictions lifting, businesses must adapt to reopen or continue operations in their workplace safely, as well as care for the physical and mental health and wellbeing of employees.

Returning to the workplace at this uncertain time presents great challenges and opportunities for organisations, particularly when managing people risk. 84% of attendees at a recent Marsh webinar expressed concern around returning to the workplace. Almost 20% of global respondents in a recent Mercer survey have no plans to develop a return-to-work policy for those who contract the virus.

Now more than ever, it is critical for employers to step up and alleviate fear and demonstrate care for your people, whilst also meeting legislative obligations to reduce the risk of a COVID-19 infection in your workplace.

What are the three focus areas you need to consider right now?

Workers’ Compensation cost is minimized if employers can return their employees back to work in a timely manner. If they cannot return to their pre-injury role, a new role with their existing employer must be identified, or alternatively, a new role with a new employer. 

Our team of specialists in workers’ compensation are supported by over 350 allied health professionals across Australia focused on achieving exceptional Return to Work or Redeployment outcomes.

Staff communication plans

Arming employees with information about the outbreak’s progress, how the organisation is responding and efforts by governments and public health officials to combat it (and using the right tone to communicate) can provide comfort to employees, correct misconceptions about the novel coronavirus and limit fear and anxiety. The Marsh Strategic Risk Services team can provide staff communication plans and advice to manage and assist these communications to ensure accuracy, consistency of message and staff engagement.

To help reduce anxiety and better prepare employees as they return to the workplace, general and specialised COVID-19 training should also be implemented depending on an employee’s role

Workplace risk profiling

Whether your business is ramping up dramatically or slowing down, Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) risks will be present.

Our experienced Mercer Marsh Benefits (MMB) team can support clients to identify and manage these new risks with our diagnostic management tool, Strategic Workplace Risk Profiling (SWRP). SWRP provides an analysis of the performance of an organisation against the four key drivers of workplace injury and cost:

  • Safety Management;
  • Injury Management;
  • Claims Management; and
  • Insurer Management.

On the completion of this review, our clients are provided with a comprehensive report outlining findings and recommended actions.

Pre-employment fitness assessments

As businesses impacted by COVID-19 start to recover, there will be employers looking at ramping up operations and rebuilding their workforce.

Ensuring new employees have the physical, cognitive and psychological capacity to perform the inherit requirements of a job role is critical to ensure you are not increasing your workers’ compensation risk profile in addition to the productivity losses of having a new employee on workers’ compensation.  

The team of allied health professionals at Recovre can support your company’s recruitment team to conduct pre-employment screens that can highlight a prospective candidate’s capacity to perform a job role. Our pre-employment services can be tailored to the role requirements and may include psychological assessments.

We are here for you

As COVID-19 continues to affect how we all do business and interact with one another, we are committed to continue to deliver timely and relevant information to our clients and broader community. If you have any questions or would like to have a conversation about the impact coronavirus is having on your business, please reach out to your Marsh representative.

You can also follow us on LinkedIn to stay abreast on our latest updates. 

Download the Practical Guide to Returning People to the Workplace Safely

As the economy begins to reopen, how confident are you in your organization’s readiness for bringing people back to work? In this free guide, Marsh’s risk and safety professionals have drawn upon our extensive knowledge to identify immediate actions for your organization to consider as you prepare, implement, and manage a return to on-site work.