Wellbeing has transitioned from being a niche benefit to a mainstream strategic concern in just three years, according to a new report.
The Reward & Employee Benefits Association (Reba) has published their latest annual research into employee wellbeing.
This 2019 report shows that one in seven firms (68.4 per cent) now has a strategy in place for monitoring staff wellbeing. Three years ago less than a third of firms (29.8 per cent) had a wellbeing strategy in place.
This report, which was published in conjunction with Axa PPP, also found a significant increase in the number of employers offering specific mental health support.
This year nearly half (45.9 per cent) of employers report having a dedicated mental health strategy in place – up from 15.8 per cent who did so in 2018.
Overall, mental health is now the number one wellbeing priority (for 62 per cent of respondents) for boardrooms.
The report found that there had also been a surge in the proportion of employers using digital tools to monitor and improve employee wellbeing.
The number of companies offering wellbeing apps has jumped from 8.5 per cent in 2016 to 30.5 per cent in 2019, while employers offering access to virtual GPs has increased from 11.6 per cent in 2016 to 31.5 per cent in 2019.
Since 2018, there has also been a 57 per cent growth in employers offering a dedicated health and wellbeing component to their website.
Debi O’Donavan, director of Reba says: “This year’s results reveal just how fast wellbeing and mental health have risen up the corporate agenda.
“It’s clear from the data that chief executives are under more pressure from their shareholders to make the fundamental changes needed to improve wellbeing in their workforces as a key way to create long-term sustainable businesses filled with productive employees.”
This Employee Wellbeing report shows that the percentage of respondents claiming their board supports their wellbeing agenda is steady (at around two-thirds since 2018). However evidence suggests commitment is being channelled to where it matters the most – with senior managers.
This year’s survey finds 72.1 per cent of senior managers are committed to the wellbeing agenda. Of those employers with a mental health strategy, 77.2 per cent provide line managers with mental health training.
However, despite the rapid and widespread adoption of wellbeing strategies within the workplace, the report highlights further challenges ahead.
Almost three-quarters of organisations surveyed admit high pressure work environments are the biggest threat to wellbeing – the same as in 2018.
In addition, nearly half (46.8 per cent) of respondents of organisations that do not currently have a wellbeing strategy in place say the main barrier introducing wellbeing strategies has been lack of budget.
While there has been an increased focus on mental health as part of an overall wellbeing strategy, it is clear that other elements can be overlooked, with only 3 per cent of boards surveyed stating their employees’ financial wellbeing is their primary concern.