27% of employers unable to create wellbeing ROI case

Data from Unum’s Value of help report has found that despite wanting to do more around employee wellbeing, more than a quarter (27%) of organisations are unable to create a business case for providing these benefits.

The research revealed that difficulty proving return on investment (ROI) existed even though the fact that 68% of employers said spending money on health and wellbeing had grown in importance for them in the past two years.

According to the data, other barriers to implementing wellbeing initiatives included budgets (57%); issues with the business planning cycle (23%); getting board consent/consensus (23%); having to deal with other competing priorities (22%); and there being a general lack of understanding around benefits (21%).

Although there was better news – the fact that 72% of organisations questioned had introduced wellbeing measures, with 47% now offering preventative measures too – according to Glenn Thompson, chief distribution officer, Unum, more needs to be done by employers to ascertain proper ROI.

He said: “Our research reveals that of those businesses not investing in employee health and wellbeing, just 9% say there is nothing stopping them from doing so (and they intend to start). However, primary blockers are around budgets (57%), and a hard-to-prove business case (27%).”

Despite seeing the value of investing in health and wellbeing in the workplace, some companies struggle to justify the spend, according to Thompson.

He added: “Changing this mindset involves understanding that help can deliver workplace loyalty and productivity, alongside good health. Viewing services through the value curve lens is helpful. But businesses must do this sooner rather than later. The impact of failing to act can be huge, both commercially and emotionally.”

The research also found that employees were less likely than employers (54% versus 64%) to think that current health and wellbeing measures were fit for purpose.

Thompson concluded: “It can be challenging to navigate all the different types of employee benefits in order to build a strategy that is right for your organisation. But understanding the commercial and emotional value of different kinds of help is a great place to start.”

The research questioned 1,204 employees and 350 employers.