Wellbeing ‘top benefit’ for 2018 say top reward and benefits providers | incentive&motivation

Employee Rewards News: Wellbeing ‘top benefit’ for 2018 say top reward and benefits providers

Businesses will put the mental wellbeing of employees at the top of the 2018 boardroom agenda, according to new predictions from Perkbox, the UK’s fastest growing employee benefits platform – a view that is also taken by experts in the field including Reward GatewayHealthia and Aon Employee Benefits.

The news comes as Britain faces a major mental health crisis, with Police and health workers under increasing strain due to the volume of incidents impacting members of the public. The predictions suggest companies will take action to tackle the crisis, predicting that companies will focus on developing greater mental health awareness in workplaces and encouraging a healthier work-life balance.

The proof is out there 

Ultimately, there is fundamental recognition that wellness supports sustainable engagement and that a healthy employee is a productive employee. This assertion has even been endorsed by the Government. In its report ‘Does workplace wellbeing affect workplace performance’ the Department for BusinessInnovation and Skills tells of “a prima facie case for employers to consider investing in the wellbeing of their employees on the basis of the likely performance benefits”.

The assertion has been further supported by Willis Towers Watson’s research. Its Global Workforce Study has revealed employers that invest in supporting employee health and confidence in their financial well-being achieve a substantial return for stakeholders. Indeed, where it has been possible to successfully measure, the ROI tied to employee productivity, talent management and public image can be between two and four times higher for these organisations.

Companies that look to drive productivity improvements by increasing workloads and by putting staff under pressure to work longer hours can, ironically, achieve the opposite by creating higher levels of workplace stress, increased incidents of stress-related absence and reduced employee energy levels.

The study showed that workers who consider their employer to have a strong culture of health, regard them as also having a good reputation and are better able to attract and retain high-quality employees. In fact, the ability to hire highly qualified employees was considered to be almost three times more favourable.

Employees’ sedentary lifestyles, obesity, stress and health are inextricably entwined with healthcare costs and having a healthy workforce can give employers that all-important competitive advantage.

Rise of the millennials

Other trends identified include the rise of the Millennial workers taking up top posts in businesses, as bosses increasingly recognise their ability to add value to organisations. In addition, the company predicts that ‘people analytics’ will be used by HR teams to analyse people data and build more employee-friendly working practices.

Chieu Cao, CMO and Co-Founder of Perkbox said,  “As millennials rise in the workplace, the stigma of becoming a flaky job-hopper has become a thing of the past. This has come at a time when skills and good ideas are at an all-time premium posing difficulty to businesses which also have to fill specialist roles from a shrinking talent pool. The fear of Brexit’s impact in the UK also adds to this challenge.

“Fortunately 2017 has been a year where we’ve started scrutinising just about every HR practice we have in place, with many on their way of being reinvented completely. 2018 will be an exciting year where we see organisations – particularly larger ones – lean on these new resources to strive for differentiation and overcome some of the biggest problems of talent retention of this day and age”.

Communication is key

Why is wellbeing not being taken seriously? Reward Gateway‘s recent study suggests there is a real disparity between the fantasy and reality of wellbeing programmes.

  • 33% of respondents* said that their company currently offers no wellbeing programmes
  • Only 29% of respondents said that their company currently offers a physical wellbeing programme
  • Only 23% of respondents said that their company currently offers a financial wellbeing programme
  • Only 22% of respondents said that their company currently offers a mental wellbeing programme

On top of this, almost 1 in 2 (48%) employers think their company communicates the wellbeing solution they have well, but almost a third (29%) of employees don’t know what wellbeing programmes their company currently offers.

Financial wellbeing matters

Further research from Reward Gateway, an astounding 22 million British workers, or 7 in 10 employees (71%), have felt stress or financial strain in the last five years. Despite these numbers, the same research also found that a third of respondents said that their company currently offers no wellbeing programmes. It’s key that you don’t just look at wellbeing as a physical or mental issue.

According to FCA’s March 2017 report, ‘Financial Well-being in the Workplace: A Way Forward’, half of all UK adults are exposed to financial hardship and “display one or more characteristics that signal their potential vulnerability”.  The survey also reveals that financial worries have a direct impact on workplace productivity, with 89% of employers agreeing that financial concerns have a direct impact on employees’ mental health, which in turn impacts on their workplace performanceWith this and potential Brexit implicationsmore employers will be looking at ways to support their workforce to effectively manage their day-to-day finances and help prevent them from getting into debt problems, either through online tools, financial education sessions or a mixture of both.

How to proceed

Martha How, principal at Aon Employee Benefits has provided 4 simple steps to getting wellbeing right in your workplace.

“Understand the connections between employee health, wealth and behaviour in the specific working population. Not all employers are the same and each would benefit from truly understanding the dynamics that underlie their specific employee population’s health and wealth.

Secure sufficient budget for employee wellbeing. The Aon 2016 EMEA health report research has shown that wellbeing budget restrictions are a problem. However, there are opportunities to demonstrate return on investment (ROI) from wellbeing programmes through absence reduction, engagement improvement, productivity improvement, recruitment attractiveness, PMI cost control and employee retention. The key is to convince decision-makers of the ROI – actions may take over 12 months to start to repay investment. The analytical information indicated above should feed into this.

Design a wellbeing programme which is relevant to employees and to the performance metrics that need to be improved. These programmes can address situations such as mental health and stress, financial wellbeing and education, fitness and diet campaigns, ‘stop smoking’ campaigns, health screening and posture and health programmes.

Communicate a wellbeing programme in a way that best attracts the attention of employees. Use of multimedia can be powerful but it is important to understand what types of media employees respond to best. Simply relying on email may be a false economy. Web tools, a flexible benefits site, surveys, fitness checks, health apps, seminars, etc. can all be useful, but key to this is line manager training and buy-in.”

Are you planning on increasing wellbeing spend or budget this year? Join in the conversation – search IncentiveHub on Twitter. 

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