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Supporting employee wellbeing has 'positive impact' on the business, employers say

Two workers wearing hard hats having lunch break

Employers have been investing more in employee wellbeing over the past two years, but are they getting value for money?

As with any business expense, this spending needs to be justified -- with clear benefits not just for the employees themselves but for the organisation as a whole.

Nearly nine in ten (89%) UK employers say that supporting the health and wellbeing of their staff has a positive impact on their business, according to new research.

In a survey of 505 HR decision makers by GRiD, the industry body for the group risk sector, 45% said they believe that supporting the health and wellbeing of their staff demonstrates that they care about their employees, and that helps to foster loyalty and engagement. Another 42% said that when their employees know they are supported with their overall health and wellbeing it increases their engagement, and 41% said that productivity is increased.

Meanwhile, 26% think that supporting the health and wellbeing of staff differentiates them from their competitors, helping with employee recruitment and retention. And 19% said that potential clients are interested in how they look after staff, and that having a good policy in place helps them win new clients.

Separate research, however, shows that there is a disconnect between what companies are doing to support their people and how it is perceived by the workforce.

The latest Mercer Marsh Benefits (MMB) report, The Digital Revolution -- Accelerated approaches to employee reward, wellbeing and engagement, found that although a majority of companies in the UK (69%) have increased their benefit spend considerably during the pandemic, just over half (55%) of employees felt they received the support they needed at the right time.

And while most companies (88%) moved quickly to adapt their benefits in response to the crisis, only 22% of employees realised that their benefits had changed. What's more, four in ten felt their employee experience was worse as a result of the pandemic.

Of those that made changes to their employee benefits during the pandemic, six in ten changed their value added benefits and four in ten changed their core benefits, while 83% of respondents introduced new wellbeing offerings as a direct result of the pandemic.

Despite the overall lack of understanding of many of these changes on the part of the employees, those that did notice a change appreciated the increased provision of mental wellbeing support the most, illustrating the continued mental health impact of the pandemic, MMB said.

"While the pandemic caused businesses to pivot their benefits offering at a pace not previously thought possible, employees are yet to notice an improved experience," commented David Dodd, partner at MMB. "Better communication is needed to close this gap, as well as delivering more relevant, personalised benefits, ideally through a consumer grade digital experience."

Dodd added: "When employers get it right, the results are tangible and visible through greater workforce engagement. In this period dubbed the Great Resignation, ensuring the workforce feels supported and heard is not only important in fostering a positive culture, it is also key to effective talent retention and attraction."

Posted by Fidelius on January 24th 2022

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