Malakoff Humanis: Support for vulnerable employees

Country news: France

June 2024

Malakoff Humanis: Innovative solutions to help companies support vulnerable employees

Malakoff Humanis 2023 Social Fragility Barometer

Financial difficulties, complicated family situations, caregiver responsibilities, serious illnesses, loss of meaning, professional burnout, eco-anxiety…the results of the 2023 edition of the Malakoff Humanis Social Fragility Barometer1 show the rise and overlap of professional and personal problems that affect employees.

While the Barometer reveals that employees are increasingly satisfied with their work and quality of life at work, and most employees (65%) say they are in good or very good health, this figure has declined steadily since 2011 (71%). 

Behind the results are two trends: decline in mental health, particularly among women, and an increase in chronic diseases, which is expected to continue as the population ages. 

In any company, there may be employees in situations of temporary or lasting vulnerability. It is important for employers to understand the contributing factors and support vulnerable employees as part of the management of the company.  A company's health is unquestionably linked to the health of its employees. For example, 22% of employees report suffering from a chronic illness, and for 70% of them, this illness is detrimental to their work.

Vulnerabilities: what are we talking about?

To be vulnerable is to be exposed temporarily or over time to a risk of fragility. As an employer, it is important to distinguish between personal and professional vulnerabilities. 

Personal vulnerabilities include:

  • Serious illnesses
  • Psychological suffering
  • Single parenthood
  • Being a family caregiver
  • Financial difficulties 

Professional vulnerabilities include:

  • Occupational illness or work accident
  • Physically or psychologically demanding working conditions
  • Difficulties in reconciling professional/personal life
  • Professional “wear and tear”
  • Loss of meaning
  • Professional exhaustion

Work-related causes of vulnerability

23% - Professional burnout or attrition linked to harsh working conditions

19% - A loss of meaning, deep boredom at work

17% - Great difficulty in reconciling professional and personal life

13% - A feeling of loss of employability (difficulties in adapting to new forms of work, digital tools, new processes, etc.)

Two-thirds of employees surveyed reported a health issue: sleeping (insomnia), chronic fatigue, anxiety disorders (generalized anxiety, phobia), mood disorders (depression), burnout, trauma, and stress-related disorders (accident or assault causing harm physically, emotionally, mentally).  The majority were not followed by a health professional. Only 16% consult a mental health specialist, and 14% a psychiatrist or other professional.

30% of employees believed their issues were due to personal problems, and 32% believed they were work-related, while 31% of employees believed the reasons related to both work and personal problems.

1 in 2 employees feels professionally burned out.

Exhaustion due to work thus finds its pre-crisis level after having fallen during the past 2 years.

  • More young people (under 30) give personal reasons for poor mental health, e.g., financial situations and social isolation.
  • At work, they feel anxious and emotionally distressed.

A sharp deterioration in women’s health

38% of women say they are in poor general health compared to 34% in 2020 and 31% of men in 2023.

When it comes to mental health, the figures are worrying for women. Women are most affected by:

  • Sleep disorders/insomnia (51% of women vs. 43% of men)
  • Chronic fatigue (46% vs. 36%)
  • Anxiety disorders (37% vs. 28%)

However, women are diagnosed less often: 47% of women have never been diagnosed with an illness or disorder compared to 40% of men. 44% of women report average/poor mental health vs. 32% of men.

Women cite both professional and personal reasons for poor health

On the work side:

  • Work intensity and time: 65% (+7 points vs. 2022) vs. 59% for men
  • Declining social relations at work: 41% vs. 38% for men

On the personal side, it’s complicated:

39% of women are worried about their financial situation vs. 26% of men.

Generational differences:

49% of women over 50 report poorer general health compared to 32% among those under 35.

46% of women between 18 and 34 consider themselves to be in poor mental health.

What can a company do to address employee vulnerability?

53% of managers are convinced the social performance of the company, i.e., its capacity to create an inclusive working environment, welcoming all differences, is a factor of economic performance.

Taking into consideration the vulnerabilities of people is also a way for companies to retain and attract employees with valuable skills. Most employees – 8 out of 10 – want their company to assist them with their vulnerable situations.

To prevent risks and support vulnerable people, an employer must:

  • Improve the quality of life at work
  • Work to prevent professional risks
  • Implement employee training and recognition
  • Promote work/life balance
  • Support employees with vulnerabilities.

Where to start?

As soon as an employee shows signs of vulnerability, the manager's role is to communicate with them. It is fundamental for creating the conditions for a caring dialogue to seek solutions . A negotiated solution avoids stigma, which is the fear of 40% of employees, and the first obstacle to any action. Support can then be developed and put in place.

These exchanges can be an opportunity for the manager to direct the employee to the right people: HR services, occupational health, etc.

Solutions from Malakoff Humanis

The health of employees must be understood from both a personal and work perspective. Malakoff Humanis has long developed this vision in the services offered to its insureds:

  • Social support
  • Associated aids
  • Specialized crisis lines, including a dedicated line for helping employees

Malakoff Humanis systematically integrates services and social support into its insurance contracts to help improve the performance of client companies. Malakoff Humanis’ Diagnosis and Protection of Human Capital is a digital diagnostic platform that analyzes absenteeism, inventories workplace health and can establish a personalized action plan for your company.

Mental health may seem like an issue that is private, but it is not one that is "external" to the company. The key is to prevent psychosocial risks by involving all company players, especially managers.

This is why Malakoff Humanis has developed a prevention and awareness-raising program called "Bien mieux", enabling all players to understand and detect situations of fragility, and to learn by attending conferences and workshops designed to initiate a genuine dialogue and provide concrete avenues for action.

Malakoff Humanis also provides support to employees and their families in the event of cancer, serious illness, disability or caring for a dependent relative: 

  • The Mission ECO Line – Employees can discuss their problems in complete confidentiality. Advisors can guide the employee towards solutions adapted to their situation.
  • Caregiver Info Line – Advisors can guide employees towards solutions adapted to their situation, including home help, home improvement, financial support for respite solutions, etc.) to facilitate the daily life of the person being cared for and the caregiver.
  • Death Info Line – Employees benefit from immediate assistance and support for the loss of a loved one: attentive listening and personalized advice.

For employers, Malakoff Humanis provides practical HR Disability Issues Kits that offer guidance for quickly and efficiently integrating disabled employees into the workforce.

Designed with experts in the disability field and in accordance with regulatory changes from 2020, this tool presents the issues of disability, its legal framework, and the actions needed to be implemented in the company. It can assist with measuring the issues and systems in place within your company and the integration of people with disabilities.

To learn more, visit

1 Fragility Barometer (2023) – study of perception conducted for Malakoff Humanis by Harris Interactive with 2,001 employees and 452 private sector leaders in France online and via telephone between May 5-25, 2023. All statistics are from this edition of the Barometer.

Why partner with Malakoff Humanis?

Malakoff Humanis offers a comprehensive range of products and services that includes life, disability, supplementary health insurance, employee savings and retirement plans. In partnership with specialized healthcare service providers and its own subsidiaries, Malakoff Humanis offers an array of innovative wellness programs. It also invests in innovation and health promotion initiatives through its dedicated “MH Innov” fund and develops social support services to help its employees and corporate clients.

Learn more about the advantages of partnering with Malakoff Humanis view their key figures, recent awards and recognitions and get in touch with the local IGP contact.

Learn more