A survey released by Aon plc (NYSE: AON) in partnership with IPSOS, suggests there is a link between wellbeing and company performance.
Aon’s 2021 Global Wellbeing Survey claims that improvements to employee wellbeing performance within a company have an impact on customer satisfaction and retention, and that whilst wellbeing performance overall has a direct connection to a strong and focused wellbeing strategy, a series of standalone wellbeing initiatives will have less impact.
Although a high percentage of the companies surveyed said employee wellbeing and resilience is important and have initiatives in place, few have strategies in place, and even fewer have fully integrated wellbeing into their business and talent strategy.
Globally, 82 percent of companies surveyed said employee wellbeing is important, 87 percent have at least one initiative in place, but only 55 percent have a strategy in place and just 24 percent fully integrate wellbeing into their business and talent strategy.
In EMEA, although 82 percent of companies surveyed said employee wellbeing is important and 86 percent have at least one initiative in place, only 51 percent have a strategy in place and just 19 percent fully integrate wellbeing into their business and talent strategy.
In EMEA, Ireland, the Czech Republic and South Africa are most likely to have an initiative in place, whilst Portugal, South Africa and Switzerland are most likely to have a strategy. Companies in Portugal are most likely to have fully integrated wellbeing into their business and talent strategy (26 percent), with Poland, South Africa and Ireland all at 24 percent.
The survey highlights that overall, in EMEA, 25 percent of wellbeing programmes are performing exceptionally or above average, with Ireland (37 percent), South Africa and the UK (both 34 percent) leading the way.
In the UK, 91 percent of companies have wellbeing initiatives, while 53 percent have a strategy. Additionally, 42 percent said wellbeing is extremely important at their company and another 41 percent said it was important.
• Organisations that improve employee wellbeing performance by 3 percent see a 1 percent increase in customer satisfaction and retention.
• Organisations that improve employee wellbeing performance by 3.5 percent see a 1 percent increase in employee satisfaction and customer acquisition.
• Organisations that improve employee wellbeing performance by 4 percent see a 1 percent increase in company profit and a 1 percent decrease in employee turnover.
The survey also claims that company culture is the number one driver in developing a business case for wellbeing, but beyond financial resources and investment, one of the biggest challenges to starting or expanding wellbeing initiatives is employee engagement and interest (ranked as a challenge by 42 percent of survey participants globally).
Leadership can set the tone for culture and wellbeing; 89 percent of firms surveyed agreed that the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) is the biggest supporter of wellbeing initiatives, followed by the CEO (78 percent).
“Wellbeing is so much more than programmes and individual initiatives”
Dr. Avneet Kaur, EMEA Wellbeing Solutions Leader, Aon, said: “Wellbeing is so much more than programmes and individual initiatives; it is a long-term people and performance strategy, using resources to achieve resilience goals over a sustained period. Cultures are the seedbeds that determine whether employee wellbeing programmes flourish or die, so companies should assess if their organisational culture is helping or hindering them in their wellbeing and resilience efforts. Leadership support and buy-in are critical factors in creating a culture and a wellbeing strategy that can positively impact workforce resilience and overall company performance.”
Aon’s recent The Rising Resilient report claims that, despite health and wellbeing initiatives being well-established within employers, with 80 percent agreeing that they are beneficial for their organisations, the programmes do not result in creating resilient workforces. The research claims only 30 percent of employee respondents are resilient.
Resilience in a work environment means people can better adapt to adverse situations, manage stress and retain motivation, enabling organisations to better manage change.
The impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, social unrest and a changing economy has elevated the importance of wellbeing to individuals, organisations and communities in the past year, and the survey highlighted the top wellbeing risks impacting company performance globally are the emotional wellbeing issues of stress (67 percent), burnout (46 percent) and anxiety (37 percent).
Work-life balance was the top wellbeing issue in EMEA by some considerable length, chosen by 65 percent of respondents. This was followed by mental health and working environment/culture (both 40 percent) and physical health at 33 percent.
Dr. Avneet Kaur continued: “Companies need to ensure there is no disconnect between the focus and performance of their strategy, and the wellbeing issues that are currently the greatest risks for the company. The future of work needs to encompass multi-dimensional wellbeing, with an emphasis on workforce resilience interwoven throughout the people and business strategy. The survey found that the EMEA region has fewer initiatives and plans for emotional wellbeing support compared to the other regions, so this is an area that companies in EMEA would do well to look at more closely.”