Pension & Benefits News Employers prioritizing total wellbeing and embracing technology to drive workplace productivity, employee satisfaction
Thursday, January 10, 2019

Employers prioritizing total wellbeing and embracing technology to drive workplace productivity, employee satisfaction

By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff

Forty percent of employers believe they have achieved a culture of wellbeing in 2018, up from 33 percent in 2016, according to Buck’s recently-released report, Working Well: A Global Survey of Workforce Wellbeing Strategies. Among the remaining respondents, 81 percent aspire to achieve a culture of wellbeing. The survey indicates that workplace productivity, job satisfaction, and employee retention are linked to physical health and financial wellbeing, among other elements of broader total wellbeing. These findings are based on responses from 252 employers in 56 countries covering 5.22 million employees.

Nearly 75 percent of employers view support for total wellbeing as an important element in their employee value proposition, with the same number citing it as a part of their corporate image or brand—a dramatic rise from 38 percent in 2016. Almost half say it supports diverse needs by generation or life stage. In addition, the survey showed a significant rise (up from 66 percent in 2016 to 73 percent in 2018) in employers' focus on reducing health care or insurance costs.

“Our survey results confirm that supporting employee wellbeing holistically is much more than a ‘nice to do’—it’s a core, competitive business need,” said Ruth Hunt, a Principal in Buck's Engagement practice and also the Global Workforce Wellbeing Survey leader. “Our findings demonstrate that a failure to creatively invest in employee wellbeing can result in many adverse consequences for the success and sustainability of a business.”

According to the survey, top factors influencing employee wellbeing include stress (95 percent), work/life issues (94 percent), depression, anxiety, and weight management issues (93 percent), and access to health care services (92 percent).

Key findings include:

  • Betting on data and technology to drive wellbeing. Companies increasingly rely on technology to drive efficiencies in benefits delivery, including greater personalization and relevance. The most effective approaches include predictive analytics (84 percent), incentive tools and tracking (80 percent), portal hubs (69 percent), and decision-support tools (63 percent).
  • Identifying financial wellbeing issues. Financial instability and/or inadequate financial protection, and financial distress, were rated as detriments of poor financial wellbeing by 84 percent and 83 percent respectively. Inability to retire was a driver for 72 percent of employers, and 58 percent cited delayed retirement as a key issue. Other negative impacts of poor financial wellbeing also included lower productivity (52 percent), absence from work (47 percent), higher health care costs (38 percent), and unwanted turnover (30 percent).
  • Expanding total wellbeing offerings. While respondents identified physical health as the most mature offering, employers have introduced newer offerings in the last five years to promote enhanced financial literacy and skills, as well as enhance spiritual wellbeing, emotional wellbeing, and social connectedness. The top program elements to be added by those expanding their financial wellbeing offerings included money management and budgeting tools (66 percent), financial health assessments (66 percent), retirement estimating tools/calculators (63 percent), and financial literacy and skills education (59 percent). Overall, results demonstrate a continued march toward support beyond physical health.
  • Driving global wellbeing. For multinational organizations, health-related wellbeing programs for physical and mental/emotional health continue to well exceed—by nearly 50 percent—the number of financial wellbeing programs. Regionally, the US and Canada well exceed the percentage of offerings in other regions, with Europe, including the UK, second highest in number of health and financial wellbeing programs.


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