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MetLife focusses on SME staff wellbeing

5 November 2019

MetLife is focusing on the wellbeing of small-to-medium enterprise employees, as research found that nearly a third of SME firms believe staff wellbeing has become a major issue.

MetlLife has introduced an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), as part of its Group Life proposition, covering financial, mental and physical wellbeing.

Research among SMEs employing between 50 and 300 staff found 31% of firms believe staff wellbeing is a major issue, but less than a quarter (24%) across the UK have access to EAPs.

Meanwhile, nearly two out of five (38%) of SME staff believe their employers do not address and manage stress well and 24% believe employers do not manage and address mental wellness issues effectively. Physical wellness was also found to be a concern, with more than a third (36%) stating it is not addressed or managed well by SME organisations.

MetLife’s EAP will offer employees access to financial wellbeing services including information on debt; credit card consolidation; pensions and retirement planning; budgeting and living on a reduced income; as well as general money management issues. It also provides mental health support in the form of access to qualified counsellors who can provide assistance with depression; stress; bereavement; anxiety and panic attacks.

The physical wellbeing aspect provides access to nurses to help with issues such as stopping smoking; exercise and healthier eating; heart health; serious and terminal illness as well as everyday ailments.

SME employees and family members in the same household can access services by phone and via MetLife’s Health e-Hub app, the group said.

Adrian Matthews, employee benefits director, MetLife UK, said: “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 provision. 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.”

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