Since the pandemic, more and more businesses feel responsible for their employees’ wellbeing – including their financial and physical welfare.
According to research* from GRiD, which is the industry body for the group risk protection sector, employers feel a greater responsibility for supporting staff across the four key areas.
“As is evident in the research, employees feel most vulnerable in terms of their mental wellbeing, and employers have rightly assessed this as being an area in which they can step up and take more responsibility,” said Katharine Moxham from GRiD, “However, employers should be wary of solely prioritising one area of wellbeing over another.”
Four key areas of employer responsibility
These are mental, physical, social, and financial wellbeing as employers feel a sense of social care for their people:
In research conducted from 14 – 26 January 2022 amongst 501 HR decision-makers, due to the pandemic:
- 59% of employers felt an increased responsibility for supporting the mental wellbeing of staff
- 57% felt the same increased responsibility for physical wellbeing
- 56% of employers felt an increased responsibility for supporting the social wellbeing of staff
- and 50% also felt the same increased responsibility for their employees’ financial wellbeing
In light of the pandemic, and this sentiment to take greater responsibility for employee wellbeing, two fifths (40%) of employers increased their communication about the support available to staff. Thirty-four percent encouraged engagement and utilisation of support, and just over a quarter (27%) said that they had made it easier for employees to access support and benefits remotely, such as via apps and online. A quarter extended support beyond the individual employee to include family members, and 22 percent invested in new employee benefits to provide extra support.
“Mental, physical, social and financial wellbeing are inextricably linked and so employers must address all four areas when providing post-pandemic support for staff,” according to Ms Moxham.
Employees report deterioration in wellness
Further research, conducted amongst 1,212 UK workers between 14-18 January 2022, highlights the fact that employers were correct to take steps to provide and communicate support and benefits to staff. Thirty-eight percent of employees stated that their mental health had deteriorated as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, 27 percent saw their physical health deteriorate and a further 27 percent had concerns about their financial health.
Forty-two percent of employees expect more support from their employers to help them cope. This employee presumption means employers need to assess whether their current employee benefits are up to the task of getting the wellbeing of staff back on track. Many staff are anticipating that their employers will provide on this front, and employers would do well to deliver, particularly in light of how employees feel their health has deteriorated .
Ms Moxham said: “As the UK adjusts to the new norms of working life, adopting a holistic approach to staff wellbeing will ensure that all employees are as well-looked after as possible, and this will have long-term benefits for the business too.”
*The research was undertaken by Opinium during January 2022 among 501 HR decision-makers and 1,212 employees at UK businesses.