There is a significant gap between employer and employee expectations when it comes to the support available for health and wellbeing.
Research by Group Risk Development (Grid) found that while employees and employers agree mental health should be a top priority for support, there was less agreement across other areas of health and wellbeing.
When it comes to physical wellbeing 70 per cent of employers believe it is their responsible to support staff to leave healthier lives, which includes offering access to services such as physio and rehabilitation. But less than a third (32 per cent) of employees feel this is the responsibility of their employer.
There is a similar mismatch when it comes to financial wellbeing. Employees rank financial wellbeing support from their employer as more important than physical wellbeing support (36 per cent as against 32 per cent), but 46 per cent of employers don’t believe the financial wellbeing of their staff to be their responsibility at all.
Financial support is second, only to mental health, in terms of employees’ top priorities for wellbeing support.
Meanwhile just under, just under two-thirds (61 per cent) of employers think it is their responsibility to ensure the social wellbeing of staff, for example by encouraging social connections and supporting their sense of belonging. But employees don’t agree: only 27 per cent of staff think this is an area for employer support and it was the least-prioritised area of wellbeing by employees.
However, when it comes to mental wellbeing three out of four (75 per cent) of employers feel it is their responsibility to support staff with this issue, via access to counselling services and providing mental health first aiders. Around half of employees (49 per cent agree).
For both employers and employees mental health was rated as the top priority when it comes to wellbeing support.
Only six per cent of employers believe they have no responsibility at all for the wellbeing of their staff but remarkably, a third (30 per cent) of employees also believe that their employer has no duty of care for mental health, financial, physical or social wellbeing.
Grid spokesperson Katharine Moxham says: “Wellness and wellbeing are terms that have become fully mainstream in the workplace lexicon. With that comes an expectation from employers that employees will want support, and vice versa that employers will provide that support for employees. Employees have clearly highlighted that their priorities are mental wellbeing and financial wellbeing and it’s important that employers respond to this.
“There’s a lot more support today that employers can access to offer their staff which helps them fulfil their duty of care.
“Group risk products are one such way of providing this support, and the embedded extra services within group risk products can ensure all areas of wellbeing are covered.
“Whichever way employers decide to offer support, it’s important that they regularly review what’s available and put in place support that’s fit for purpose, and that their staff value and know how to utilise.”