Employers are misjudging the possibility of a severe issue affecting their staff

Employers seem to be misjudging the chance of a severe issue such as an illness or bereavement affecting their staff within the next 12 months.

According to Group Risk Development (GRiD), the industry body for the group risk protection sector has shown a disparity in HR professionals views and reality. Even though just under 80 per cent (78 per cent) of individuals working in HR for large companies having already supported a staff member in their current role going through bereavement, only 65 per cent predict they will have to do this again in the upcoming 12 months.

This miscalculation also extends to employees being absent for a long period of time. HR professionals who have experience dealing with employees being absent for six months or over lie at 76 per cent, only 60 per cent believe it will happen again in the next 12 months.

Irrespective of a HR professional experiencing such issues with an employee, the likelihood of it happening is high enough. According to Macmillan Cancer Support 125,000 people of working age will be diagnosed with cancer every year. Mind, the mental health charity predicts 1 in 4 people will endure a mental health problem and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that 16 per cent of people who died in 2017 were of working age.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD said:

Statistics clearly show the likelihood of employees being affected by serious issues. Furthermore, employers need to realise that just because they’ve dealt with a serious incident with one employee, it unfortunately does not mean that they are in some way immune from it happening again. Indeed, larger organisations, and those with a specific demographic bias, may find themselves repeatedly dealing with a similar scenario for individuals within their workforce.

GRiD also highlighted that these scenarios are interlinked as a serious illness can lead to death and then possibly a mental health issue.

Ms Moxham added:

Of course true support for employees needs to go beyond that individual member of staff and extend to their family too. These serious issues have a wide impact on partners and dependents, and the individual member of staff will only be fully supported and get true peace of mind if they know their family is looked after as well.

She also believes that group risk products can provide an answer to such problems as they can offer financial and wellbeing support for employees and their families.

Interested in employee wellbeing? We recommend the Workplace Wellbeing and Stress Forum 2019





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.