More Than A Quarter Of Organisations Struggling To Justify Wellbeing Spend

Even though many UK businesses are now focusing more on employee wellbeing initiatives — especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic — over 1 in 4 are struggling to come up with a business case to demonstrate wellbeing ROI.

According to research by insurer Unum, more than a quarter (27%) of organisations say they are unable to create a business case for providing employee wellbeing benefits. This is sadly despite the fact that 68% of employers said investing in employee health and wellbeing initiatives had grown in importance for them over the past two years.

Barriers to adopting employee wellbeing initiatives revealed

According to the Unum data, other barriers to implementing wellbeing initiatives included budgets (57%); issues with the business planning cycle (23%); getting board consent/consensus (23%); having to deal with other competing priorities (22%); and there being a general lack of understanding around benefits (21%).

Nevertheless, positively, 72% of organisations polled said they had introduced wellbeing measures, with 47% now offering preventative measures too. However, Glenn Thompson, chief distribution officer at Unum, said more needs to be done by employers to ascertain proper ROI.

He said: “Our research reveals that of those businesses not investing in employee health and wellbeing, just 9% say there is nothing stopping them from doing so (and they intend to start). However, primary blockers are around budgets (57%), and a hard-to-prove business case (27%).”

Thompson added that even though they can see the value of investing in employee wellbeing initiatives, some organisations struggle to justify the spend.

He added: “Changing this mindset involves understanding that help can deliver workplace loyalty and productivity, alongside good health. Viewing services through the value curve lens is helpful. But businesses must do this sooner rather than later. The impact of failing to act can be huge, both commercially and emotionally.”

[Related reading: Health & Wellbeing At Work Benefits Boost Productivity, Help Retain Staff]

Employees more likely to doubt suitability of wellbeing initiatives than employers

The Unum research also found that employees were less likely than employers (54% vs. 64%) to think that current health and wellbeing measures were fit for purpose. This reveals a possible disconnect between how good employers think their employee wellbeing initiatives are Vs. how good their staff think they are.

Thompson concluded that navigating the various employee benefits that are in the marketplace can be challenging for organisations. But “understanding the commercial and emotional value of different kinds of help is a great place to start”.

What do your current employee wellbeing initiatives look like?

What employee wellbeing initiatives do you currently provide to your staff? Perhaps a more pertinent question is how did you decide on what employee wellbeing initiatives to offer? If you engaged and sought the opinions of your employees, then bravo. If you didn’t, can you be sure the benefits you’re providing are actually what staff really want?


Author: Alex Tate - Healthcare & Protection Adviser


[Related reading: How To Promote Wellness In The Workplace?]