Improving employee wellbeing is the top benefits priority for UK employers, ahead of work policies and inclusion policies, according to research from Willis Towers Watson.
The consultancy’s 2019 Benefits Trends Survey found than three-quarters – 76 per cent – of UK employers plan to incorporate wellbeing into their benefits strategies. Wellbeing – including financial, physical, emotional and social wellbeing – topped the table of priorities for companies’ benefits programmes. The enhancement of work policies took second place with 63 per cent of the vote.
The research identified that almost half of businesses – 48 per cent – have earmarked a value-on-investment (VOI) approach to measuring and evaluating business outcomes over the next three years. VOI extends beyond financial ROI and may include metrics ranging from engagement and workforce retention rates to job satisfaction and employee morale.
The survey found that 60 per cent of businesses are looking to build inclusion and diversity into their benefit strategies, with the same number aiming to align their provision with market norms and employee needs.
Willis Towers Watson Health & Benefits, Great Britain & Western Europe senior director Mark Ramsook says: “The importance of modernising and broadening the scope of employee benefits to meet the evolving needs and expectations of the today’s workforces – and to raise the bar in the drive to attract and retain top talent – has been clearly recognised by UK employers.
“The rise of wellbeing up the HR and wider business agenda has been particularly dramatic, with targeted initiatives having been proven to help boost workforce health, productivity, engagement, and job satisfaction.
“The effective utilisation of health-related business data will ultimately hold the key to identifying where core health risks lie, enabling companies to address and change patterns of behaviour that can lead to meaningful and measurable wellbeing improvements.
“A strategic approach must be taken when reviewing benefits programmes to ensure portfolios balance the relevance and value of benefits to employees with how they are aligned to market expectations and wider business objectives.
“With this in mind, benefits benchmarking can act as a particularly powerful catalyst for change, providing the evidence companies need to address gaps in provision and areas where they are found to be underperforming relative to their peers.”