Are your employees your greatest asset or risk?

by | Oct 20, 2021

It’s never been more important for employers to tackle people-related risk

Being in the insurance industry, we deal with risk on a daily basis. There are many different types of risk, but one that has really captured the spotlight of late is people risk.

People risk falls under the category of operational risk, which focuses on the risks that arise when people, processes or systems fail.

As The Unisure Group’s Group Chief Risk Officer, Pierre Rossouw, explains, while people don’t necessarily ‘fail’ (unless it’s intentional, such as in cases of fraud or theft, for example), risk is present in everything from employees not performing at an optimal level, to them making mistakes which contribute to the company’s objectives being delayed or undelivered.

“If employees are not achieving their full potential or they’re not managed well, a company could face numerous risks,” Pierre elaborates. “This includes losing key employees, costly mistakes being made as a result of burnout or a lack of motivation, or even negative customer experiences and brand damage as a result of in-house negative behaviour or attitudes.”

In a time of COVID-19 and the resulting 2021 trend that experts are calling ‘The Great Resignation’, people risk is an incredibly important area for brokers, clients, and employers to pay attention to.

A recent Microsoft Work Trend Index report1 revealed that over 40% of the global workforce is considering leaving their employer this year. The reasons for this are multifaceted:

  • Employee stress levels reached record highs in 2020 (Gallup State of the Global Workplace 2021 Report2)
  • 71% of workers experienced burnout in 2020 and the number of employees working late rose to 87% (Asana, Anatomy Of Work Index3)
  • 42% of workers are “highly or very highly stressed” and they are now more than three times as likely to report poor mental health than before the pandemic (FlexJobs & Mental Health America4)
  • Workforce exhaustion is the 4th highest people-ranking risk. This is because overtiredness stemming from work-life balance issues, change fatigue, and too many priorities and distractions often lead to errors, high employee turnover, reduced productivity and damaged reputation (Mercer Marsh, The 5 Pillars of People Risk: Asia5)

COVID-19 has led employees to re-evaluate their lives, their jobs, and their value within the organisations they work for. It has also shown many global employers just how important health and wellbeing is for creating environments where employees are productive, engaged and invested in their work, a fact which has been particularly hard learned in a time of remote working.

As Dr Heather Bolton, Head of Psychology at Unmind, told The HR Director6, “After a year that’s challenged our psychological, physical and social wellbeing in life and work, employee wellbeing needs to be right at the heart of businesses’ retention strategies…Employees increasingly want to work for companies that have ‘cultures of care’.”

From a Unisure Group perspective, and a perspective that many of our brokers and clients share, any efforts to bolster company culture, such as in the form of Group Health, Wellness, Life and Disability benefits, for example, are beneficial for both employee morale and business productivity and profitability. We see on a daily basis that employee benefits are as important for talent attraction and retention as they are for helping to develop engaged employees that care about the work they do and help boost the bottom line as a result.

“To quantify the people risk within any organisation is extremely difficult, as there are so many different factors which influence your employees’ productivity, mental state and overall wellbeing,” Pierre explains. “What Group Benefit Solutions can do to assist leaders and HR managers, however, is show their employees that they are invested in their physical, mental and financial wellbeing.”

“When an employer can show their employees that they can rely on them in some of life’s worst-case scenarios, such as in times of illness or even death, this can help relieve financial stress and foster greater company loyalty, which in turn translates into being more motivated to perform at their best.”

In short, Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2021 Report2 sums it up beautifully: “People want a good job and a life well-lived.”

At The Unisure Group, we believe that this is possible and we’re passionate about creating Group Benefit Solutions that are a win-win for employers and employees.

For more information on how we can help your company invest in your employees, visit and


  1. Microsoft, Work Trend Index Report 2021
  2. Gallup Workplace, State of the Global Workplace 2021 Report
  3. Asana, Anatomy Of Work Index
  4. FlexJobs & Mental Health America, 2020 Survey
  5. Mercer Marsh, The 5 Pillars of People Risk: Asia,  & Mercer Marsh, 25 Risks HR, risk managers, and business leaders must tackle together
  6. The HR Director, Attract and retain: the importance of promoting employee wellbeing
  7. Pierre Rossouw, Unisure Group Chef Risk Officer, Interview, 22 September 2021.