Are Employers Really Switched Onto Wellbeing?

5th August 2019
Paul Brooks

BCC and the Chamber Network have been working with Aviva to host a series of roundtable events aimed at answering a very big question – what do employers really think about wellbeing?

Hosted in Manchester, Liverpool, Warwick, Hampshire and Kent, the roundtables were attended by CEOs, MDs and HR professionals representing a wide range of industries and business sizes. All of them represented organisations which were either thinking about, or currently have some knowledge about, implementing a health & wellbeing initiative.

There was a broad understanding that wellbeing is good for business as well as individuals. 41 of the 54 delegates answered ‘yes’ to the question ‘Are you looking for new ways to manage employee wellbeing and absence?’.

Health, safety… and wellbeing?

Employers were quick to recognise the potential benefits of a wellbeing programme in terms of recruitment, retention and motivation. But there was also a sense that wellbeing might become a ‘must do’ rather than a ‘nice to have’. Delegates frequently expressed an expectation that, in future years, employers might have to comply with legislation on wellbeing that could be compared to the health and safety directives which they need to embrace today.

Prevention really is better than cure

There was also recognition that, to truly make the most of the opportunities which a sound wellbeing strategy offers, employers would have to stop ‘firefighting’ and move towards a ‘prevention is better than cure’ approach. While getting providing strong rehabilitation benefits and supporting employees during periods of illness is obviously a worthwhile goal, it’s even better to help them build the resilience they need to help prevent illness in the first place. This was thought to be true of mental health as well as physical – but delegates were realistic enough to know that our approach to mental health lags far behind physical, and that their managers possibly lacked the expertise to provide input on how to address this.

So, what were the most significant findings from the roundtables, and how can we embrace them? Aviva’s 6 key insights provide food for thought for any employer looking to make wellbeing really work for them. They’re well worth a look.

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