Aon Employee Benefits, the UK health and benefits business of Aon plc (NYSE: AON), says that its 2017 Health Survey shows 96% of employers see a direct correlation between employee health and performance.
The survey of 200 UK organisations also shows that health and wellbeing is rising up the corporate agenda, with 96% of employers either agreeing or strongly agreeing that they are responsible for improving employee health behaviours. Indeed, 77% are looking to improve on their existing health and wellbeing programmes in the next 12 months.
Interestingly, although employee physical health is important to employers, they are also looking to strike a balance between what are becoming the four widely accepted core pillars of health and wellbeing – Emotional, Physical, Social and Financial.
Physical and Social Wellbeing programmes are the most commonly adopted strategies, although Aon believes this may be partly attributable to longer standing workplace initiatives such as health & safety, occupational health or community/charitable projects forming the backbone of a strategy. Aon’s survey suggests employers will continue to develop and refine these programmes in the year ahead.
The survey also showed that 43% of employers are looking to evolve their emotional health offering to support mental health issues further; this is showing high levels of considered activity and is no doubt fuelled by the widespread media coverage on this issue in the last couple of years. A significant 53% of employers are looking to improve the support available to employees through financial wellbeing initiatives, recognising the importance of this maturing theme in its own right but also perhaps acknowledging the established links between financial, emotional and physical wellbeing.
Mark Witte, head of healthcare & risk consulting at Aon Employee Benefits, said:
“Employers have never paid so much attention to employee health. This is understandable when the vast majority recognise its impact on company performance. But a combination of social and economic issues has made it even more relevant than it was before. Issues include escalating healthcare costs, a continued shift away from the state for the health and welfare burden, increased awareness of the impact of underlying poor health behaviours, increasingly diverse and multigenerational workforces, and escalating debt and emotional pressures.
“The concerns of employers are many, but – across the board – mental health is seen as the top current concern on their agenda (43%), while physical 33% and lifestyle 33% behaviours follow closely behind. Indeed, 95% of employers are concerned about the current and future issues of mental health. The number one future concern by a significant margin is an ageing workforce (43%) and it will clearly be an area of enormous focus in the coming years.”
In 2016, Aon conducted its first EMEA Health Survey encompassing the views of over 500 employers across the region. The EMEA survey will be conducted again in 2018 with the aim of alternating this with UK specific data in 2019. In the 2016 EMEA survey, 93% of employers saw a direct correlation between employee health and performance.