MetLife is introducing an employee assistance programme (EAP) for its SME proposition to target smaller employers’ need to improve their employees’ wellbeing.
The EAP, available to members of SME group life schemes overs three core areas of well-being: financial, mental and physical. MetLife says its research amongst SME staff in firms with between 51-250 employees highlights the need for support.
It found 24 per cent of SMEs have access to EAPs while 41 per cent of SME bosses plan to seek advice on how to better support the well-being of their staff.
The research found 38 per cent of SME staff believe their employers do not address and manage stress well, with 34 per cent believing SME employers do not manage and address mental wellness issues effectively and 36 per cent believing SMEs do not manage physical wellness effectively.
Financial well-being services on the EAP include access to legal advisers who can provide information on a broad range of financial issues including debt; credit card consolidation; pensions and retirement planning; budgeting and living on reduced income; and general money management issues.
Mental wellbeing support includes access to qualified counsellors to offer assistance with issues such as depression, stress, bereavement, anxiety and panic attacks, and relationship counselling.
The physical wellbeing EAP focus provides access to registered nurses on hand to offer guidance on a range of issues including stopping smoking; exercise and healthier eating; heart health; serious and terminal illness; as well as every day aches and pains.
The EAP services are being offered in partnership with Health Assured. SME employees and family members in the same household can access services by phone and also via MetLife’s Health e-Hub app, all at no additional cost.
MetLife UK employee benefits director Adrian Matthews says: “It’s vital to recognise that SME employees are often called upon to step up to the challenges of working in an environment where resources can be stretched. This has implications for staff wellness with impacts for overall mental health; pressures on leisure, family time, exercise and eating patterns.
“SME bosses see staff retention as a major issue and it’s clear that enhanced Employee Benefits are important to the SME sector. And whilst every employer has different and specific needs, our research shows some very clear SME priorities for Employee Benefit provsion. The proposition must be simple to understand; have an excellent claims handling and payment track record; with the expert support that is dedicated to meet the specific needs of SME employers.
“Less than a quarter of SME staff have access to specialist support services and we aim to address this issue by fulfilling a need for tailored guidance on financial, mental and physical well-being issues that can impact an employee’s daily wellbeing.”