35% of employers implement financial support as a global wellbeing initiative

Matthew Gregson

More than a third (35%) of global employer respondents have implemented financial support, outside of pensions, as a global wellbeing initiative, according to research by Thomsons Online Benefits.

Its Global employee benefits watch 2017/2018, which surveyed 400 global HR and reward professionals and 2,000 employees in organisations of 4,000 employees or more across North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA), UK and Asia Pacific (APAC), also found that 32% of employer respondents have introduced a flexible wellness allowance as a global wellbeing initiative. Other global wellbeing initiatives that employer respondents have utilised include counselling services (30%), gym memberships (28%), fitness classes (21%), and sports teams (17%).

The research also found:

  • 34% of employer respondents have had a defined global benefits strategy for three or more years in 2017, compared to 25% of respondents who had a defined global benefits strategy in place for three or more years in 2016. In comparison, 11% have no plans to implement a defined global benefits strategy.
  • 33% of employer respondents state that their global benefits strategy is very much aligned to their people strategy, compared to 53% who cite that their global benefits strategy is somewhat aligned to their people strategy, and 9% who do not align their global benefits and people strategies.
  • 42% of employer respondents based in Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA) feature global wellbeing programmes within their global benefits strategy, compared to 43% of employers from the Americas and 43% who are based in Asia Pacific (APAC).
  • 33% of employer respondents are very effective or effective at meeting their global benefits objectives when they have HR shared services in place, compared to 5% who do not.
  • 40% of employer respondents have wellbeing as a priority initiative in their benefits strategy, although 27% of employee respondents state that their workplace has a very negative impact on their wellbeing.
  • 60% of employer respondents have or are implementing a financial education campaign, and 26% of employer respondents are considering implementing one.
  • 71% of employer respondents communicate to staff at life changes, such as marriage and childbirth, 77% communicate during recruitment and in new joined communications, and 67% communicate to employees using scheduled communications.
  • 71% of EMEA employer respondents measure the impact of their global benefits programme by measuring employee satisfaction with the benefits programme, 73% track benefits’ take-up levels, 48% measure the impact on business performance, 56% analyse the impact on employee wellbeing, 50% look at the impact on recruitment, 58% track the impact on employee retention and 67% look at the impact on employee engagement.

Matthew Gregson (pictured), senior vice president, data and analytics at Thomsons Online Benefits, said: “Global economies are becoming more fluid, and this evolution is driving fundamental shifts in the employer-employee relationship.

“Employees’ time horizons are shortening, both personally and professionally, meaning they are looking for an employer that will make their day-to-day lives better, which necessitates HR teams to spend more time on the experiential, which drives culture, engagement and wellbeing. They will only be able to do this consistently when they have the technology to make this happen.”