April 19, 2016
Although the vast majority of employers (89 percent) say that the wellbeing of employees is important to them, participation in corporate mandated health programmes remains ‘low’ with only 38 percent of employees worldwide participating in any wellbeing activity or health-related management programmes in the last year, according to research from insurers Willis Towers Watson. In addition, 41 percent of European employers say they lack the budget and resources to deliver an effective programme. The research claims that the top five health related issues of most concern in Europe are stress (74 percent), sedentary lifestyles (45 percent), presenteeism (33 percent), obesity (32 percent) and nutrition (31 percent). In response to these issues, organisations have initiated a range of programmes, the most common of which are onsite vaccinations (62 percent), diet and exercise (61 percent), health risk assessments (58 percent) and biometric screening (53 percent).
The study of nearly 1,700 employers worldwide who volunteered to participate, claims that a large majority (85 percent) of European employers expect their commitment to health and productivity programs to increase in the next three years, with 71 percent of those focusing primarily on strategies that build a culture of health and wellbeing in their workforce. This despite over half not yet having an articulated, health and productivity strategy (60 percent) or a measurement strategy that supports multi-year evaluation (69 percent).
Rebekah Haymes, Senior Consultant at Willis Towers Watson: “Lifestyle health risks, can have a profound and lasting negative effect on both individual and organisational performance. Employers who understand the risks of their own employee population are likely to have greater success forging a holistic health and productivity strategy, than employers who take a scattershot approach offering individual, disconnected programs.”