23 February 2022 - Paul Connolly

What should employers include in their Employee Wellbeing strategy for 2022?

The increasing focus on employee wellbeing has been evident over the past few years, however now more than ever, reviews and improvements of wellbeing strategies have been seen, with 73% employers predicting long-term changes in the way they support their employees .

As found within a recent GRiD (the industry body for Group Risk benefits) survey, investment is being seen across multiple areas of wellbeing, including physical wellbeing (57%), social wellbeing (54%), financial wellbeing (52%) and improving the choice of benefits (49%).

We take each of these aspects and discuss below the areas to consider when reviewing your Employee Wellbeing strategy.

Physical wellbeing has arguably been the traditional aspect of wellbeing that employers focus on, with regulations such as the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) being in place for nearly 50 years and Private Medical Insurance being provided, especially for senior staff, for many years. However, the benefits provided in relation to physical wellbeing are seeing improvements, such as the enhancement of virtual and digital services. Alongside this, gender-specific programmes are being considered and are more likely to see bigger improvements in the employees’ wellbeing .

Just behind physical wellbeing, the focus on improving social wellbeing has been an increasing priority for HR professionals over the last decade. A survey carried out by BUPA in 2021 revealed that UK business leaders predicted to increase spend on employee mental wellbeing by 18% over the next year. Whilst investing in provisions to support employees’ mental health will always be advantageous, it is worth noting that many existing health benefits include value-added services including mental health support and employee assistance programmes. A review of your current benefits offering with your provider will help you to understand what support you could be offering to your employees straight away.

The inclusion of financial wellbeing within the GRiD survey is unsurprising, owing to the fact that defined pension contributions were hit hard as a consequence of the pandemic . Following the pandemic, financial wellbeing has become a priority to many employees, especially those that were planning to retire soon who may have changed these plans due to the impact to their pensions . As an employer, you will have a pension plan in place already for your employees, but you may not know what value-added services are already included; pension advice, workshops and calculators are often offered to employees by the pension provider. Alongside this, more attention is being given to ESG investing, with 51% employees with pensions prioritising investments into companies that are tackling climate change, according to a recent survey . Again, your pension provider should be able to discuss their ESG position to both you and your employees.

Finally, in relation to all types of wellbeing provisions, the focus on Equality and Diversity within your wellbeing strategy is going to keep seeing an incline. As diversity and inclusion becomes ever prominent, so do the wants and needs of a multi-generational and multi-cultural workforce. Ensuring your benefits can support the whole workforce and offer flexibility and adaptability dependent on differing demographics is key to increasing the use of such benefits, and therefore the improvement of employee wellbeing .

When rethinking your approach to new and innovative benefits and your employee benefits design, seek qualified advice and recommendation from a specialist which will save you time and ensure you get the most value from your employee wellbeing spend, including the knowledge of any value-added benefits.

Communication is key to ensuring that employees fully understand the benefits and services they have access to and is an area we support our clients with by being proactive, consultative, and understanding your needs.

Paul Connolly