63% of employers say managing employee stress and mental health is top priority

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Nearly two-thirds (63%) of UK respondents say managing employee stress and mental health issues is their top priority, according to research by Aon Employee Benefits.

Its 2016 EMEA health survey, which surveyed 500 HR directors and risk managers across 22 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), also found that 93% of UK respondents say that they are responsible for influencing employee health and changing staff behaviours, which is an increase of more than 15% on 2015’s figures.

The research also found:

  • 37% of UK respondents understand the impact of their employee health issues.
  • 51% of UK respondents believe that physical health is their second highest health and wellbeing priority, after mental health.
  • However, 57% of UK respondents have a physical programme to support employee wellbeing, 55% have a social programme in place and just 41% have an emotional or psychological programme.
  • 30% of UK respondents are likely to have a defined health strategy, compared with 40% across the EMEA region.

Matthew Lawrence, chief broking officer, health and benefits UK and EMEA at Aon Employee Benefits, said: “Several influences are starting to drive home to employers the importance of addressing health and wellbeing.

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“Unfortunately, poorly thought-out strategies waste expenditure if they aren’t underpinned by data. Using data and analytics is imperative as this informs the employer about the overall health of their employee population. Using the data sets available to build a foundation level of risk profiling means informed and targeted decisions can be made around the future wellbeing strategy and how the provision of benefits and health-related services can be integrated effectively in the future.

“Once a programme is in place, other factors like communication and personalisation will also be key to effective delivery.”