Why 2021 offers HR directors opportunities to show strategic impact with smart employee health strategy
Employee Health Trends for 2021
The past year has taught us just how hard it can be to predict what a new year might bring.
For HR Directors and people managers, 2020 brought unprecedented employee health hurdles. They spanned areas including sickness absence management, employee health and wellbeing and practical health and safety. The link between the presence of healthy staff and organisational continuity became starkly visible. The vital importance of every employer’s duties of employee care was reinforced not only for organisations but also for Government.
Now, we stand at the start of 2021. It is easy to contemplate only the challenges of COVID-19. Yet, there are some positive opportunities emerging, despite it all.
The HR Director magazine requested Empactis to provide its expert perspective on employee health trends in this coming year, which can be found in full at TheHRDirector*. In it we have considered these opportunities.
There are challenges to overcome.
Ongoing disruptions are self-evident to us all in lockdown 3.0. Many unknowns remain about how quickly vaccinations may enable a return to any ‘normality’ in working patterns.
One of COVID-19’s unfortunate side effects is that many employees are now uncertain of their safety in workplaces. This trust took industry and health and safety campaigners decades to build. It will take time to re-establish.
Health management will be a vital activity in the years ahead, and not just directly from the virus. Sadly, some staff will suffer health issues simply due to the focusing of NHS capacity on COVID-19. It has meant fewer GP visits and the suspension of some screening programmes.
The implications of ‘long COVID’, mental and emotional toll, and even physical impacts from home working, will all create new employee needs. Strong engagement will be required from HR as well as every team leader and manager. Occupational Health services have growing relevance, with a new role to play underpinning COVID-19 continuity pillars such as private testing.
There are opportunities for better employee health strategy too.
HR leaders who build on the past year to promote and lead a new era in employee health will not just support their organisations to recover better but demonstrate a new strategic business impact. They will play a key role in driving more joined up thinking and will champion the adoption of systems that support clearer insight and better decisions around workforce and individual health.
Read the full article, featuring our 2021 employee health trends and the key questions that arise for HR leaders as they develop their strategies.
*This article contains extracts from the full article first published by theHRDirector issue 195 and online, January 2021. Reproduced with permission.