Employers embrace wellbeing benefits

Group risk industry body Grid has unveiled what it calls an “encouraging increase” in employer-provided wellbeing benefits provision in response to Covid-19 (Coronavirus).

In a poll of HR directors, it found 48% now felt they had greater responsibility for the mental health of their staff than they did before the pandemic. Meanwhile, 63% of employers said they had increased support for staff across one or more areas of mental, financial, physical and social wellbeing in light of the pandemic.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Grid, said: “Things could obviously be better, but when you consider that so many businesses are literally struggling to survive, this level of support is actually not bad at all.”

She added: “Our research found a quarter (25%), of employers questioned said they had specifically invested in new employee benefits to provide extra support.”

As well as spending more on benefits, the study revealed more employers were revisiting, and recommunicating the benefits they already had. More than a third (34%) said they were increasing engagement with what was already available.

Moxham commented: “It proves the point that dealing with employee wellness is not always about buying more. There are often so many more services group risk can provide and it was encouraging to find employers are seeking to understand more about what they have already bought.”

As well as revealing spend on wellness and engagement with existing benefits was rising, the research also found employers are making more time for staff. It showed 44% of employers said they increased the time they made available to help staff directly.

While praising the work of businesses, Moxham did urge employers to try and do more in one area. “The one worrying finding is the fact the research found employers hadn’t caught up with their efforts around social engagement,” she concluded. “With isolation a growing problem employers could be doing more to socially engage their remote teams.”