Just under half (49%) of UK businesses believe that the health and wellbeing of their employees will be their biggest challenge over the next 18 months, according to new research commissioned by digital health solutions provider Reframe, and carried out by YouGov.
It comes as it found one in five (18%) employees admit that they would hide a health concern such as stress, fatigue or a diagnosis from their organisation.
Reframe surveyed 2,000 employees and HR decision makers in the UK to assess how businesses are currently investing in employee benefits. It also explores how far benefits are being utilised by employees during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The survey reveals that employees aged over 55 (62%) were the most fully engaged with benefits schemes. However, many employers are missing out on the full potential of employee benefits, with one in five employees in the UK currently finding their benefits scheme irrelevant. Moreover, the under-35s ranked the highest (68%) when asked if a benefit scheme was an important factor when choosing a new employer.
In addition, it found a “significant majority” of HR decision makers (80%) believe that their benefits scheme is highly relevant to their employees – but only 28% of employees strongly agree with this statement.
However, 47% of employees that are not utilising their benefits would do so more if they were more relevant for them. For SME businesses, the benefits they place the most focus on relate to financial wellbeing (30%). However, those with over 250 employees are focussing more on enhanced Employee Assistance Programmes (45%), which help employees deal with personal problems that could impact their work performance, health and wellbeing.
Reframe also found that 64% of businesses agree the pandemic has increased the demand for holistic health benefits.
Catherine McDermott, CEO at Reframe, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on businesses, changing perceptions of how we approach healthcare in the workplace. What our research highlights is the growing disconnect between decision makers and their employees, particularly in large organisations, and it is clear that many firms are playing catch up when it comes to supporting the needs of their workforce.
“Effective benefits schemes are personalised to employees and their individual requirements, giving them control and helping them take better care of their wellbeing. This can have a big impact on the bottom line – achieving better ROI, reducing payroll costs, and absence rates. Not only this, but in the long-term it can help attract and retain talent, whilst also keeping the workforce motivated and increase productivity.”