Punter Southall Health & Protection
recently partnered with Reward & Employee Benefits Association (REBA) to conduct research into the current state of wellbeing in the workplace. The report, ‘Employee Wellbeing Research 2017: The evolution of workplace wellbeing in the UK’ revealed that employers in the UK are rolling out workplace wellbeing strategies at an unprecedented rate.
The findings show that 45% of UK companies have a clearly-defined wellbeing strategy in place, compared to less than a third (30%) in 2016 - and 26% have had a strategy for more than three years. Of those that don’t, virtually all plan or wish to implement one – with 46% planning on implementing one this year, 24% in the next few years and a quarter (25%) having it on their ‘wish list’.
When asked what was behind their decision to implement a wellbeing strategy, over a third of respondents (37%) said that they wanted to improve employee engagement, and just over a quarter (26%) to improve their organisational culture. Other drivers included improving productivity levels (11%), reducing long and short-term sickness absence (6% & 5%) and retaining talent (5%).
We believe that the jump in companies promoting employee health and wellbeing to improve their culture and engage employees demonstrates that wellbeing is no longer a ‘nice to have’, but an area of growing strategic importance for many organisations.
86% of employers are focusing on promoting physical activity and 82% on mental health in their wellbeing strategy. The top wellbeing initiatives offered by employers are employee assistance programmes (89%), followed by discounted or free gym membership (78%) and health screenings (63%).
One of the fastest growing areas of wellbeing for 2017 is sleep management, with the number of companies including sleep in their wellbeing strategy set to double from 42% to 88% this year. The number of companies offering support for carers is also primed for a big jump (from 37% to 83%).
Financial education is another priority. More than a quarter of companies (27%) plan to add financial education or guidance to their health and wellbeing strategy over the next 12 months, and almost half (49%) will over the next few years.
When it comes to how employers are engaging their workforce, we discovered that there are various approaches being used. The main methods of communication used are email (73%), intranet (70%) and posters and leaflets (63%), whilst over a quarter (26%) had a dedicated online wellbeing website or portal and 25% use wellbeing champions.
We believe that having a wellbeing strategy in place is not enough – employers need to communicate the benefits, train line managers to support their programmes and use good technology to support their campaigns. Make the most of social media, apps, audio or video (podcasts or YouTube) and text messaging to communicate initiatives.
It’s clear that employee wellbeing is firmly on the agenda for many forward thinking organisations. A happy and healthy workforce is likely to be a more productive and engaged workforce. Looking after your employee wellbeing is a win-win for everyone.
As an REC member, you can download a complimentary copy of this research here.
Find out more about developing your own wellbeing strategy by calling a member of our team on 01274 588862
or visit www.pshp.co.uk.