Almost six in 10 (58%) employers said cost was the biggest barrier to providing health and wellbeing support for employees, according to research by Towergate Health and Protection.
The survey of more than 500 HR decision-makers in businesses of all sizes across the UK found that within this, 37% cited high costs overall and 21% noted administration prices as a key challenge.
Almost a fifth (19%) said that administration time had an impact, with 18% reportedly having too few employees to make the support worthwhile or cost-effective, 17% seeing a lack of interest, 16% being unsure how to provide better support, and a further 16% facing difficulty in making support equally accessible to all employees.
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Meanwhile, 15% admitted they had difficulty in effectively communicating support to all of their staff, and 13% said they had too many employees to provide everyone with better support.
Only 12% of those surveyed said that they had experienced no barriers to providing health and wellbeing support to staff.
The research found that flexibility (53%) and affordability (49%) were the most important factors for employers in choosing to implement an external health and wellbeing programme. One-third (33%) cited comprehensiveness as being key, and 32% said the programme had to be engaging.
Debra Clark, head of specialist consulting at Towergate Health and Protection, said: “Employers perhaps need to look at value for money more than direct costs alone when it comes to health and wellbeing support. It’s also important to consider perceived costs, as not all support is expensive.
“Cost can of course present a barrier, but in practice what employers are often really looking for is return on investment. If employees are more engaged and more productive as a result of health and wellbeing support, then employers can see the value of their investment. The benefits of less absence, quicker returns to work and increased productivity all have a direct and positive impact on bottom line profit too.”