Vielife research: Health and wellness issues absent from boardrooms

UK boardrooms lack strategic discussion about employee health and wellness, according to research by Vielife and London South Bank University.

The Workplace Wellness Study, conducted among senior HR and finance people, found that only 41% of organisations discuss employee health and wellbeing at board level, despite 68% of respondents stating that they consider employees to be their most important asset.

The research found that employee health has a significant impact on everything from sales (80%) and profitability (80%) to staff morale (96%) and customer satisfaction (72%).

While 69% of respondents believe that ensuring the health and wellness of their employees is part of their culture and 67% think that employee wellness should be a corporate performance management factor, one in four organisations do not see a need to offer staff an annual health check.

Over half (59%) think that health and wellness is likely to affect the future performance of the organisation, ranking it only behind factors such as quality of training and development (66%), recruiting top talent (64%), employee engagement (63%), and pay and rewards (62%).

Although 77% of employers claim to measure the impact of health and wellness on their business performance, 60% would like to be able to evaluate it more effectively. Only 25% of employers currently measure the costs relating to poor service linked to health and wellness, while 53% measure the cost of employee churn and 47% the cost of impaired presenteeism.

Professor Nicola Crichton from London South Bank University’s Institute of Primary Care and Public Health, said, “We are all aware of the impact that rising health issues among the population have on public health spending and the same applies within organisations too.

“Prevention is more effective than cure and every organisation has a responsibility to itself to ensure employee wellbeing is addressed effectively and at every level.”

Mike Beason, managing director at Vielife, added: “UK employers are aware of the positive impact that employee wellbeing can have on their current and future performance, and yet it is a subject where there seems to be too much talk and not enough action.

“Employers need to address the gap that exists between health strategy and real measured improvement if they are serious about reducing the proven impact of key health issues like stress and poor diet on organisational productivity, performance and profits.”

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