A wellbeing strategy gap exists in UK organisations, new research has revealed.
Aon’s 2022-2023 Global Wellbeing Survey found that while three-quarters (74%) of employers say wellbeing has grown in importance and a large majority (92%) have wellbeing initiatives in place, under a third (29%) said it is fully integrated into their business and talent strategy.
When asked which important business factors could be affected by wellbeing initiatives, the top three answers in the UK included employee performance and productivity and employee satisfaction and engagement, both cited by 39% of respondents, followed by loyalty and retention, noted by 35%.
The biggest reason given in the UK for why employers were not prioritising wellbeing by 29% of respondents was that “leaders have other focuses”, followed by 14% who said they “haven’t thought about it”.
Elsewhere, 60% of those in mainland Europe and 63% of global survey participants said that wellbeing has grown in importance. Additionally, in other regions the strategic gap is smaller, with wellbeing fully integrated into the overall business and talent strategy at 38% of mainland European businesses and 41% of global organisations.
Letitia Rowlin, principal strategic consultant for Health Solutions at Aon in the UK, said: “A multitude of recent developments, not least the Covid-19 pandemic, has seen wellbeing become a far higher priority in UK organisations as they strive to build a more resilient workforce. Decision makers also increasingly see a link between employee wellbeing and productivity, performance and engagement. However, the UK remains behind when it comes to fully integrated strategic choices and funding.”
She explained that when it comes to funding, the UK falls behind other regions since just 24% of organisations allocate 4% or more of their overall company and benefits funding to wellbeing. By comparison, 33% of mainland European organisations and 38% of global businesses commit this amount to wellbeing.
Rowlin added: “The UK also has a fragmented approach to wellbeing, with many organisations implementing wellbeing initiatives, but far fewer using a data-led approach to tackle the specific issues that are unique to their situation. Using data gives clarity and confidence to make better decisions, applies funding in a strategic way and enables measurement of results.”
The survey further showed that the top three overall priorities have shifted for UK employers. These are now attracting or retaining talent, employee wellbeing and profits and financial margins. However, in 2020 these were identified as meeting financial targets, evolving market and meeting changing needs and meeting customer needs.
Rowlin concluded: “Wellbeing has become a differentiator in the war for talent. Employees and candidates want to see that their employer cares, and employers who support employees’ wellbeing gain in improved productivity and performance.”