Unum operates in the UK as part of the Unum family of companies, which were originally founded in the US but operate extensively throughout the UK as a major employee benefits provider offering Group Income Protection, Group Life Assurance and Group Critical Illness Cover among other employee benefits.
Available at no additional cost as part of their Group Income Protection Insurance — and as an optional paid addition to their Group Life Insurance and Group Critical Illness Cover — Unum offers Help@hand, an app-based support system that’s designed to reduce employee absence in the workplace.
We know that access to convenient medical support can be a major challenge for workers and their families.
Employers want to support the health of their workforce and we wanted to offer a service that made a tangible difference. Early treatment can often result in a quicker resolution to a medical condition or problem and bring added peace of mind.
Unum UK Chief Executive Officer
Unum Help@hand is primarily an employee absence management system that works via an app.
It offers four main benefits:
Unum offers an impressive suite of benefits with Help@hand. They complement the actual employee benefits they run alongside well and are clearly designed with employees in mind.
Not only do these benefit the employees, however, but they also help employers by keeping workers actively well and therefore at work. There’s been a big rise in presenteeism in recent years, where employees come to work even though they’re not well and therefore don’t perform to their best ability.
86% of UK workers have reportedly observed presenteeism in their organisation in the last 12 months and over a quarter of these report that presenteeism has increased over this period according to HR trade body CIPD.
The app is easy to use and can connect you with your chosen medical professional with just a few taps of a screen. As it’s powered by one single healthcare provider, the service is a joined-up provision of services ensuring a simple, straightforward user experience.
The wait to see an individual’s own GP on the NHS can be days or even weeks. Seeing a doctor as soon as you need to via the Unum app can speed up diagnosis and reduce sickness absence for the employee, benefitting both employee and employer. It can also reduce time taken off work to attend doctor’s appointments, which can be a cause of significant lost hours cumulatively in many workplaces.
Not all branches of the NHS offer access to a specialist for a second opinion on diagnosis or treatment, and even where this is possible there may be a wait to secure an appointment. Having this service therefore offers reassurance for employees and their families, which can go on to increase focus at work and cut absence.
Mental health problems are a major cause of claims on Income Protection policies, with poor mental health resulting in thousands of lost working hours per year. Given 1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental health issue at some point in their lives, and the wait for counselling and talking therapies on the NHS can be long, having immediate mental health support just when you need it the most can be hugely valuable for employees and reduce absence from poor mental health.
Alongside mental health problems, musculoskeletal issues are one of the biggest causes of workplace absence. Help@hand’s physiotherapy service (again physiotherapy can involve a long wait on the NHS) provides an almost instant service once clinical need is determined, which can reduce time spent off work with issues such as back pain. The sessions could make a massive difference to an employee struggling due to work-related pain keeping them out of the office.
Head of Employee Benefits at Drewberry
All in all, this is an impressive package from Unum. With the introduction of physiotherapy and mental health support, Unum is tackling two of the biggest causes of workplace absence head on.
Its remote GP service brings it in line with numerous other providers in the group sphere as well as being an excellent benefit itself.
Any employer with Unum Help@hand should see the benefits in reduced presenteeism and absenteeism and growth in employee engagement, hopefully improving workplace productivity and employee satisfaction across the board.