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Press Release

Companies believe they should double their current spend on employee wellbeing

October 26, 2022

The current economic situation is causing some companies to dial down investment in employee wellbeing, while other companies are accelerating it.
Health and Benefits|Employee Financial Resilience

LONDON, October 26, 2022 – Companies believe they should be doubling their current spend on employee wellbeing initiatives, as 71% of organisations admit they are spending less on broader wellbeing benefits than they think they need to.

For some organisations (36%), the potential recession and concerns around inflation as business risks are hindering their progress to invest more into employee wellbeing. While in contrast, for just over a quarter of companies (28%), concerns for employees in light of the cost-of-living crisis has accelerated their focus on wellbeing.

In response, many companies intend to offer broader healthcare benefits for employees. In fact, at least a fifth of organisations are looking to introduce support for neurodiversity, men’s health, reproductive health or support for carers. The majority of employers have raised concerns around burnout (64%) and poor financial wellbeing and its associated health impacts (63%) among employees, which are also the two most prevalent issues and the ones with largest impact on productivity. While about 40% of employers have growing concerns around the wellbeing of employees with caring responsibilities, and the rise in musculoskeletal issues.

Lucie McGrath, wellbeing expert at WTW says “Numerous factors such as a growing focus on our wellbeing in recent years, the backlog of patients waiting for diagnoses and treatment via the NHS, and a desire to achieve greater inclusion and diversity has guided many employers to reassess the value of their health benefits for employees.

There’s a greater awareness that broader health issues have an impact on employee productivity, and employers understand that it pays to assist their employees on a more personal level.

There is a growing awareness that employers need to do more to support employees during every life stage.”

Lucie McGrath | wellbeing expert at WTW

For example, we’re seeing a particular surge in the number of organisations that are offering support around routine pregnancy and childbirth (39%), which historically has only been available via state provisions. There is a growing awareness that employers need to do more to support employees during every life stage and this focus is only likely to increase as pressure on NHS resources continues.”

Financial wellbeing is proving to be an area of concern, as 63% of organisations rank it as a key concern for their employees, but only 33% think they are effective at addressing it. And while many employers feel they provide effective emotional (69%) and physical wellbeing support (66%) to staff, only 38% of employees attribute the support of company services to improving their mental health, and only 37% of staff say their organisations helped them live a healthier lifestyle.

In addition, employers are anticipating significant issues facing the healthcare system. 93% of organisations have growing concerns around the length of NHS waiting lists and 90% of companies think that the late diagnosis of new conditions and delayed treatment of existing conditions will be a serious issue impacting claims costs and benefit premiums.

The increase in the review of benefit strategies is being led by the strong competition for talent (72% of organisations) and a growing focus on Inclusion and Diversity (67% of organisations). While three in five companies say the cost-of-living crisis (62%) and a greater focus on ESG (60%) are playing a part in overhauling benefit strategies.

As a result, 6 in 10 employers are planning or considering offering ESG aligned benefits to their workforce, and half are looking at requiring benefit providers to evidence their ESG policies and credentials.

However, rising costs, limited internal resources and the complexity of change are presenting key challenges in the face of companies being able to deliver on improved benefit strategies.

Other key findings from the survey

  • Only 1 in 7 employers feel they have a good understanding of how to measure benefit programme effectiveness, while less than a third of organisations feel they understand the wants and needs of their employees (31%) or trends in employee health (32%).
  • Half of employers (50%) said their most important priority for the delivery of their health and wellbeing strategy is to enhance communication,
  • 47% of employers said their main priority is to ensure their health benefits and I&D strategies are aligned.
  • Almost two thirds (64%) of organisations said providing the best-in-class products is a main area of focus.

About the survey

WTW’s Emerging Trends in Health Care Delivery survey 2022 was conducted between June and July 2022. Respondents include 173 U.K. employees from a range of companies, private employers, representing a broad range of industries.

About WTW

At WTW (NASDAQ: WTW), we provide data-driven, insight-led solutions in the areas of people, risk and capital. Leveraging the global view and local expertise of our colleagues serving 140 countries and markets, we help organizations sharpen their strategy, enhance organizational resilience, motivate their workforce and maximize performance.

Working shoulder to shoulder with our clients, we uncover opportunities for sustainable success—and provide perspective that moves you.

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