There is a significant gap between employer and employee perceptions of wellbeing and areas in need of greater support, according to recent research from Buck. The 2022 Wellbeing and Voluntary Benefits Survey found that employers rate the overall wellbeing of their workforce well above employee assessments, and employers are four times more likely than employees to view their organizations as having significantly increased their level of commitment to promoting employee wellbeing.
“Since the start of the pandemic, a majority of employers report they’ve boosted their wellbeing support after witnessing the struggles faced by employees,” said Tom Kelly, principal in Buck’s health practice. “It’s concerning, but maybe not surprising, that many employees still rate themselves as less than fully healthy when assessing their mental, social, physical, and financial health. And we found that 35 percent of employees are actively looking for a new job.”
The survey found the following:
- Perception gap. The majority (68 percent) of employers said that they have enhanced their wellbeing value proposition “as a result of the pandemic,” yet just 51 percent of employees said, “My employer is more focused on my total wellbeing.”
- Wellbeing gap. Employees rate their overall wellbeing lower than employers’ perceptions of their ratings in nearly all categories: financial (-23 percent), social (-23 percent), physical (-17 percent), and mental (-14 percent).
- Priorities gap. Both employers and employees cite mental wellbeing as a high priority, but employers consistently underrate financial wellbeing stressors, while employees’ rate this as a top concern. Overall, less than a third of employees view employer resources as helpful for meeting their top priorities.
According to the survey, employers are increasingly focused on mental health issues, prioritizing programs that address issues caused by stress, anxiety/depression, and burnout. Despite these efforts, 21 percent of employees indicate their mental health has worsened in the last year, and only 28 percent view existing employer mental health resources as “helpful.”
Looking ahead, employers plan to focus their investment in physical wellbeing initiatives (95 percent), but employees say what they need most are programs that support their financial wellbeing, Buck found. Only 43 percent of employees rated themselves as “financially healthy”, against 66 percent of employers who think their workers are financially sound. More than half of employees feel they live paycheck to paycheck, and a third are unsure of how well they’re managing their money.
“Benefits play a critical role in supporting workforce health and productivity and are increasingly becoming a deciding factor as employees consider alternate employment opportunities,” said Ruth Hunt, principal in Buck’s engagement practice. “We found that key drivers of employee retention include employees’ perceptions of their organization’s commitment to their overall wellbeing, diverse benefit options, and effective communications that raise awareness of their employer’s offerings. To continue to attract and retain top talent, it’s critical for employers to implement and promote programs that address whole-person wellbeing and substantively close the gap between management perceptions and employee realities.”
From WCI's HR Answers Now ©2022 CCH Incorporated and its affiliates. All rights reserved.
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