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UK companies more focusing on employees wellness to cut healthcare costs

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UK companies need to invest more in training their HR teams and line managers to help them identify signs of stress in employees, according to the Aon – the UK’s leading insurance broker and employee risk management firm – speaking on National Stress Awareness Day 2009 on 4 November 2009. This will both promote wellness and productivity across the firm by helping staff return to work and cut healthcare costs through early intervention.

Charlotte Bray, consultant for Aon Consulting and occupational health specialist, commented: “We’re beginning to see companies take a more proactive, self-help approach to managing stress by using employee assistance programmes for lifestyle advice and counselling. More training and workshops for managers means they can learn to identify stress at the early stages which can prevent conditions becoming chronic and are less likely to require drastic measures such as long term psychological or psychiatric help.

“In turn this helps to reduce claims for private medical insurance and group income protection plans, while most importantly helping the employee to return to work. This needs to form part of a company’s overall wellness strategy, taking into account the objectives of the organisation and their ability to measure ROI.”

Richard Brough, consultant for Aon Global Risk Consulting, added: “Stress management programmes are in their infancy. As a bare minimum, companies must have a policy to identify the symptoms with a clear stepped response to create a stress-aware culture. Stress can be caused by a variety of triggers and not necessarily stemming from work but showing you have stress management plans in place will help protect your employees and could help you defend a costly employers’ liability insurance claim.”