New research indicates personal and work related issues are impacting work performance of over half the UK workforce
Unum, the UK's leading disability insurer, has partnered with Ceridian, one of the largest providers of human resource services in the world, to launch an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). The new service will be offered under the name Unum LifeWorks and cover all employers and employees insured by Unum Group Income Protection (GIP) policies at no further cost. It will go live from November 2008.
Importantly for employers, it raises the bar in the provision of EAPs in the UK by providing access for employers to online and telephone legal and employment helplines for managers and supervisors. It also allows for the creation of tailored legal documents, to help Unum clients stay compliant and make savings on legal advice costs.
The programme is based on a best practice EAP service design which has worked extremely well for Unum and Ceridian in the US over the last 7 years. It has been specifically designed to provide a unique range of services that will benefit both employees and employers by aiding them with potentially stressful situations and issues. Stress-related illness is becoming increasingly prevalent amongst workers in the UK and offering an EAP will allow employees to seek advice at an early stage, before issues may start to impact on their health and work performance.
Further services available for employees include access to telephone and face-to-face counselling, matched referrals for child and elder care and tips and advice online on a wide range of subjects. This is reinforced with printed materials and CDs which can to be sent to employees' homes, at their request, on topics that are relevant to them.
The launch comes on the back of new research from Unum, which reveals that over half (51%) of all UK workers believe that their work has been impacted over the past two years due to stresses and worries.
The most common stresses cited by workers were worrying about personal health issues (38% of respondents) or other personal issues (37%), followed by stress due to the cost of living or not being able to pay off debts (32% and 25% respectively).
The research also revealed that work issues and personal issues are likely to have the greatest impact on an employee's work performance; 72% and 71%, respectively of respondents who admitted that their work had been greatly affected by stresses and worries in the past two years cited these problems. These are followed by stress due to personal health issues (66%) and the cost of living (57%).
Wojciech Dochan, Head of Commercial Marketing at Unum, commented: "Unum LifeWorks will add value to our current GIP offering by not only helping both employees and employers to resolve potentially stressful and complicated personal and work-related situations at the earliest stage possible but also supporting organisational management in the areas of legal and employment information.
"As our research shows, personal and work issues can have a significant impact on an employee's ability to perform their role at work. This can result in unnecessary levels of stress, which in turn can impact upon an employee's health. We are committed at Unum to supporting UK businesses as much as possible through the introduction of this new service.
We chose to partner with Ceridian because its vast level of expertise in this area will ensure that our customers and their employees get access to the best service possible.Wojciech Dochan, Head of Commercial Marketing at Unum
Jeremy Campbell, Director of HRO Sales at Ceridian, said: "We are delighted to be working with Unum to provide wellbeing services to their policy holders. It is unrealistic to expect employees to leave personal issues at home but by the same standard, with today's PDA and blackberry culture, work rarely stops when you leave the office. Unum LifeWorks provides guidance to individuals on a range of life issues, whilst also advising businesses on how best to support their employees with balancing work and life.
"As well as providing emotional support from qualified counsellors and support for everyday issues, users can benefit from access to a range of health, educational/career development and debt/financial specialists. In addition, the Unum LifeWorks Online website offers practical resources to enable users to be proactive and tackle their concerns before they impact on work and personal life."
When asked who they would prefer to speak to if they had a work or personal issue that was affecting their work, the most common answer was an immediate colleague, which was the option favoured by 21% of respondents. This was followed by their line manager (16%) and then the director or boss (9%). Over a third (34%) of employees said that they would not speak to anyone at work about such issues.