Nearly six in 10 (59 per cent) global employers cited increasing productivity as the top objective of their workplace well-being program, according to a new survey by Xerox HR Services, which also ranked improving employee engagement (56 per cent), attracting and retaining employees (54 per cent), and furthering organizational values (49 per cent) as top objectives.

The biannual survey, which collected data from 428 organizations across 33 countries on a range of global well-being issues, found that just 45 per cent of respondents cited reducing health-care and insurance costs as the top objective of their well-being program, while 34 per cent cited reducing employee absences.

“Increasingly, employers are realizing … it’s not just about trying to manage your claims, it’s about trying to get people to be present and focused and productive at work,” says Ruth Hunt, a principal at Xerox HR Services.

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“If you’re people can’t be at work, whether it’s absences or presenteeism, there are going to be issues with distraction that could affect efficiency, quality, even safety and other types of risks. Employers are really, really getting it. At the end of the day, it all rolls up to whether or not we’re going to have the productivity we need from our workforce.”

The report also found that 69 per cent of respondents have a global health strategy and 42 per cent have a global well-being strategy. And, while just 33 per cent reported a strong culture of well-being, 83 per cent said they aspire to it in the future.

Nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of respondents said they view their well-being program as an important element of their employee value proposition. “If three out of four employers see it as part of their value proposition, they’re going to have to walk the talk,” says Hunt.

“To be able to say to the people you’re trying to attract and retain that you care about their well-being, you’ve got to live it. That means they’re going to have to put their money where their mouth is, so to speak, invest in the programs and the resources that make it very real and tangible.”

Just over half (52 per cent) of respondents also cited strong support from leaders, up from 43 per cent in 2014. An overwhelming 92 per cent credited their local ambassadors’ efforts in supporting a culture of well-being.

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According to the survey, the top drivers of well-being programs differ across geographies. Workplace safety and environment rank in the top five drivers for all regions except Canada and the U.S. In Australia, New Zealand and Europe, stress and work-life balance issues are among the top concerns. In Latin America, Canada and the U.S., physical activity and exercise, nutrition and healthy eating, access to health-care services and obesity are among the top drivers.

In Xerox HR Services’ 2012 and 2014 surveys, stress was the number one global driver of well-being programs but it has dropped to third in the 2016 survey. Nonetheless, stress remains the top driver in Europe and third in Australia and New Zealand.

“Even if our survey didn’t say it was one of the top drivers, I suspect in the U.S. and Canada, regionally, we would still say it’s a huge issue,” says Hunt. “I don’t think there’s a big easing of stress. If anything, some of the surveys would suggest it’s still high.”

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Among respondents, 92 per cent said they offer retirement financial security and preparedness programs while 91 per cent offer financial literacy and skills programs. These latter programs are the fastest growing, with 24 per cent of respondents having them in place for just one year or less and another 39 per cent for just the past two to five years.

“The data is telling us that the fastest growing components of well-being truly are those areas of retirement programs and financial literacy,” says Hunt. “We can see it anecdotally as well, that employers are realizing, ‘I can’t get you to save more or pay more attention to the long-term unless I help you figure out how to make your ends meet in the short term.’”

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While just 36 per cent of respondents said they have measured specific outcomes from well-being programs globally, three out of four respondents said their well-being initiatives have produced a medium or high impact on improving employee engagement and morale, organizational image, overall employee well-being, ability to attract employees, and employee performance and productivity.

Canada and the U.S. continue to outpace other regions in offering incentives, with 77 per cent of respondents in those countries currently offering these and another 10 per cent planning to offer them in the future. In contrast, Europe and Latin America are least interested in incentives, with 52 per cent and 51 per cent, respectively, saying they have no plans to offer incentives.

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Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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Richard Earle:

Absolutely! And, I would add one word: “Culture of PRODUCTIVE Wellbeing”. Showing credible pre/post metrics linking ^^wellbeing to ^^on-the-job performance is essential to grow C-suite/CFO investment. E.G. With Telco CSRs [pre/post with matched control] gains in wellbeing [stress, fatigue, work satisfaction] linked directly to improvements in work cycle time; turnover; grievances; quality; customer service; disability days. Clear on-the-job productivity paybacks are, in Institute experience, essential to breaking the log jam paralyzing under-resourced wellness programs

Saturday, November 05 at 12:20 am | Reply

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