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The wellbeing disconnect: research uncovers a workplace disparity between employees and employers

Employee wellbeing has been a top agenda point for HR for some years but the results of the recent research by employee engagement specialists, Reward Gateway, shows that employees still aren’t getting what they need from their current wellbeing programmes.

  • Over half (52%) of employees agree that they would choose a company that cared about their wellbeing over a company that pays 10% more
  • Just under a third (31%) of workers said their company currently offered no wellbeing programmes
  • Over 22 million British workers, or 7 in 10 employees (71%), have felt stress or financial strain in the last five years

Employee wellbeing has been a top agenda point for HR for some years but the results of the recent research by employee engagement specialists, Reward Gateway, shows that employees still aren’t getting what they need from their current wellbeing programmes. This is demonstrated by the disparity of opinion between employee and employer. Over half (51%) of employers agree that their company shows they care about employees mental, physical and financial wellbeing, while only 14% of employees say that their company couldn’t do more to show they care about their mental, physical and financial wellbeing.

Employers are correct in caring as more than half (52%) of UK employees agree that they would choose a company that cared about their wellbeing over one that pays more.

These findings, which demonstrate the demand for wellbeing initiatives in the workplace, place an even higher urgency on closing the gap when you consider that:

  • 33% of respondents* said that their company currently offers no wellbeing programmes
  • Only 29% of respondents said that their company currently offers a physical wellbeing programme
  • Only 23% of respondents said that their company currently offers a financial wellbeing programme
  • Only 22% of respondents said that their company currently offers a mental wellbeing programme

The initiatives in place could also be sitting idle due to communication issues as another discord can be found in the fact that almost 1 in 2 (48%) employers think their company communicates the wellbeing solution they have well, but almost a third (29%) of employees don’t know what wellbeing programmes their company currently offers.  

Lucy Tallick, Head of Wellbeing at Reward Gateway said, “Employee wellbeing is not about crisis management and fixing problems. It’s about helping your people live better and feel better by facilitating sustainable lifestyle changes that really make a difference.

“Employers should take into consideration that everyone has unique desires and needs, and, in order to gain buy in, it's much better to give the employee solutions that provide choice and flexibility. By creating an inclusive programme, you’ll also hugely increase your engagement.”

Doug Butler, CEO at Reward Gateway said, “Wellbeing is a crucial part of employee engagement and, as the research shows, companies are struggling to implement the wellbeing initiatives that their staff need.

“We continue to innovate our wellbeing offering in order to help our clients on their engagement journey. The selection available is wide-ranging, inclusive, and designed to enable our clients to support their employees’ unique wellbeing needs. By offering a broad range of wellbeing solutions that include educational content on how to live a healthier lifestyle, impartial advice from money experts, an employee assistance programme (EAP), and industry leading discounts and payment plans on gyms and fitness equipment, our goal is to support what we believe to be the three key pillars of holistic wellbeing; Physical, Mental and Financial.”

To learn more about how to build a proactive, personal and inclusive wellbeing strategy, sign up to our free webinar here.  

  • Respondents’ refers to employees and employers together.