A modern workforce wouldn’t be complete without its millennial cohort, which is growing year on year. Millennials are criticised for being a fickle bunch who need to be constantly supported and nurtured once you’ve hired them. But are they really that bad?

All millennials are asking for is to work for a company which helps them to live better lives, at work and in life. Their biggest concern is their wellbeing so they want to work for a company who takes their health as seriously as they do.

Millennials also have high expectations when it comes to employee benefits. They want tangible perks which make a real difference to their lives. That’s why finding benefits which have a direct impact on keeping your workforce happy and healthy are going to be the most desired.

After all, wouldn’t you rather work for a company who looks after you rather than leaving you to fend for yourself?

Private healthcare does this in theory, but it’s long been established as a complex benefit which costs the employer a lot of money and doesn’t get to the root cause of absenteeism.

But what if there was a healthcare offering which was affordable for all companies and easy for employees to use without costing them a penny? And what if it put employees face to face with doctors without them needing to leave the office?

That’s a wellbeing benefit which employees are going to see huge value in – millennials and beyond.

Part One: The rise of the millennials

Like it or not, millennials are on the rise. They’re stubborn, live in their smartphones, and now even refuse to ring doorbells. And this cohort will make up 50% of the UK workforce by 2020, and 75% globally by 2025.

Add to that 40% of the cohort are looking to move jobs within one year and you’ll see the competitive necessity of retaining the ones you have in your company and attracting those looking for new jobs.

It’s also common knowledge that millennials love a perk at work – that really won’t come as a surprise to you – but it’s the perks which make a genuine difference to their life which they want most.

With issues such as gender equality and the environment large concerns for millennials, it’s easy to forget just how important wellbeing is for them. When asked what would help them live a happier, more fulfilled life, 77% of millennials ranked physical and mental health as the most important.

"When asked what would help them live a happier, more fulfilled life, 77% of millennials ranked physical and mental health as the most important"

Even the most amateur of detectives can see a link here. Millennials want benefits which help them live happier lives and the most important facet of their happiness is their health.

That’s why employers need to be more than attractive places to work from the outside in. Millennials will quickly sniff if a prospective employer doesn’t give them the tools to manage their physical and mental health. And those already in your employment will be out the door when they find jobs at companies that do.

Thankfully it’s not all a one-way street. A business which invests in improving the wellbeing of their workforce will not only improve talent retention and employee happiness but will also reduce absenteeism. Not a bad byproduct when absenteeism is estimated to cost the average UK business £570 per employee per year.

Helping employees improve their health

Knowing your employees want help improving their happiness and health is one thing. Finding the right initiatives to do so is another. There are a couple of classics of course: gym discounts and cycle to work schemes. Unfortunately, gym discounts only work for those who enjoy the gym and not everyone feels confident enough to cycle during rush hour to and from the office.

Don’t forget the welcome provision of free fruit either. It’s the standard-bearer for wellbeing initiatives and one that’s not going to upset anyone. And that’s because fruit does help to make people happier and healthier.

Hey, if you really wanted, you could start a running club, host weekly hot yoga classes or provide personal trainers for every employee. It’s just none of this is a magic bullet for wider physical and mental health issues.

Maybe it’s time to take a step back from the glitz of the latest wellbeing craze and take a look at an old friend: healthcare.

"Maybe it’s time to take a step back from the glitz of the latest wellbeing craze and take a look at an old friend: healthcare"

Sure, it’s not got the same razzmatazz of a smoothie station but adding accessible healthcare to your wellbeing package brings a level of stability to the health of millennials and beyond.

And those millennials seem to agree. They’re more likely than other generations to say better wellbeing packages make the company more attractive. Adding a wellbeing benefit to that package which has a direct impact on their health is going to excite them the most.

Part Two: Why private healthcare doesn't solve absenteeism

Private healthcare has never been sexy. And never will be in its current form.

There are plenty of options for businesses in the UK who want to provide their employees with private healthcare or one of its beige equivalents: cash plans or PMI. Each one designed to take maximum profit from your company while actually paying out as little as possible towards healthcare.

All they really provide is a golden ticket to the front of the treatment cue for those who can afford it. Which is why most companies don’t want to spend £1500 a year on average to offer private healthcare which is unwieldy, underutilised, and notoriously difficult to understand.

"Most companies don’t want to spend £1500 a year on average to offer private healthcare which is unwieldy, underutilised, and notoriously difficult to understand"

We also have the NHS. A world-class healthcare provider which is free at the point of use and a much-cherished facet of modern British society. And for all the stick the NHS gets – difficulty seeing a GP and long A&E waiting times – it treats injury and illness incredible effectively with compassion and speed.

What would be a real boon for business and the NHS is a healthcare offering which cuts down on the biggest shared concerned: timely access to a GP.

Before you factor in the average wait of two weeks to get an appointment, employees will be out of the office to see their GP seven times a year on average and cost businesses 42 hours per employee per year of productivity – all lost to the black hole of trying to see a doctor.

The two-week average wait to see a doctor is another problem for businesses entirely and generating a culture of presenteeism. So much so, 83% of HR professionals have observed presenteeism in their organisation over the past 12 months. You might be happy that your employees are at least in the office but when they’re ill, their work will suffer and there’s a chance they could spread any illness to the rest of the business.

Helping your employees get face to face with a doctor quicker is essential to bringing down absenteeism and presenteeism, as well as being a jewel in the crown of your wellness offering.

How healthcare access is changing

As we described early on in this ebook, millennials live in their smartphones. It’s no wonder when you can do everything from ordering food to finding love on them. And while the front-facing camera is predominantly used for selfie-taking, its video call function has led to a rise in easy-access GP services.

It’s probably no surprise that millennials are the early adopters of seeing a doctor over a video call. They’re technologically tuned in and accustomed to getting what they need instantly through their phones. If a doctor can fulfil both those needs then, of course, millennials are going to use it.

For many, the traditional setup of calling your GP surgery, booking the earliest available appointment and arriving to see the doctor will always be their preferred method of healthcare. It’s a tried and tested method which allows the patient to build a level of trust with their GP and feel cared for.

Being able to see a doctor over a video call does remove a level of intimacy but it means you’ll be able to see a GP at a time which suits you – the day you’re ill and not two weeks later. This is especially appealing for millennials who are able to fit an appointment with the doctor around their carefully curated work-life balance. And the sooner they see a GP, the sooner they can start to receive the treatment they need.

While this brave new medical world may be criticised by some, who is better off?

The person who waits two weeks to see their GP...

Or the one who sees a doctor immediately by video and gets their prescription or referral on the same day?

Part Three: Accessible healthcare for all

It’s all well and good writing about how long it takes to see a doctor and how great an innovation seeing a GP over video call is – but how does that help you?

There was a time when small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) would believe that private healthcare would stretch their budget too far. And we were all right to believe that. After all, when the NHS is free, why not spend money on more affordable benefits for your people.

Well, we’ve built a healthcare offering which is affordable for all companies, free and easy for employees to use, and puts them in front of a GP via video call at a time which suits them.

It’s called Perkbox Medical. It brings the highly sought after healthcare benefit and makes it affordable for every business and free for every employee – all at a fraction of the cost and complication of the big boys.

Medical has a much greater impact on absenteeism than the established cabal of private medical insurers. It’s main objective is getting your employees in front of a GP immediately and either getting a referral to a specialist or prescription delivered to them on the same day.

Millennials love it because helps them balance their health with their work-life balance – and it shows their employer is one who really cares about them, at work and in life. For SMEs, this is the difference in attracting and retaining the talent which will grow your business further.

Medical is also ideal for large enterprises who want to streamline their wellbeing benefits and give all of their employees immediate access to a GP, rather than unfairly limiting healthcare to senior managers. It’s important to do this uneven benefits can lead to a toxic culture of us vs them.

How we’ve made healthcare more accessible

We’ve been strategic with Perkbox Medical by only focussing on getting your employees in front of a GP immediately – dramatically cutting the cost for your business. While we understand that diseases and illnesses are important to fix, these are what bring the cost of private healthcare to astronomical levels for employers.

This is how private medical insurers make their money, by hedging their bets that the majority of people won’t need to claim for the conditions which they charge so much for. And as we know, these are the illnesses which the NHS is incredibly well adept at handling in a timely manner with effective treatment – the same as if you were to go private.

Medical is designed to work in tandem with the NHS, not replace it for the gain of shareholders. It does this by solving the biggest problem currently facing patients and the NHS – seeing a GP when it takes up to two weeks to get an appointment.

"Medical is designed to work in tandem with the NHS, not replace it for the gain of shareholders"

By providing the ability to video call a doctor at any time, we’re able to route your employees around this bottleneck and give them access to same-day referrals and prescriptions delivered to their home or the office. All free of charge and packaged in an easy-to-use app!

And we probably don’t need to tell you the obvious bonus of Medical – employees will no longer need to take time off to try and arrange a GP appointment and take further time off to see them.

It’s not just office-based workers who stand to benefit the most from Medical. If you’re a shift worker who can’t afford to take the time off and see your GP, you’re able to keep your work commitments while video calling a doctor during your lunch break. The same goes for remote workers and those who travel for work who might be away from their local GP for a length of time. Perkbox Medical puts private healthcare in the hands of all employees for maximum effect.

All of this makes healthcare incredibly accessible and makes it relevant to the younger generation. A generation who are more concerned about their wellbeing than those previously and will want to work for businesses who have got their back when it comes to improving the health.

Perkbox Medical in action

Sam Johnson, Marketing Manager at The Portfolio Group: “I’ve recently moved house and haven’t had the chance to register at my new local doctor – partly due to working over one hour away from home. I’d been suffering from cold symptoms – blocked sinuses – for a few weeks. I wasn't technically ill enough to take time off but wanted to check if I needed antibiotics to clear it up. I decided to use Perkbox Medical because I was able to get an assessment on the same day without having to take time off work.

I had a video call with a friendly doctor who was able to advise me how to relieve my symptoms, which gave me the peace of mind I needed. The whole process was a much simpler option for me as I was able to speak to someone qualified and get expert advice without having to register or wait days for an appointment. Nor did I have to sit in a waiting room with other sick people!