Employee engagement key driver behind workplace wellness, new research finds

Increasing employee engagement and improving organisational culture are the key drivers behind the introduction of workplace wellbeing strategies, according to new research.

“Increasing employee engagement” is the key aim for 37% of employers who run workplace wellness initiatives, while “improving organisational culture” is the main driver for 26%. 

These figures were revealed in the Employee Engagement & Benefits report, collated by the Hay Group and originally published by current affairs publication Raconteur.

Other motivating factors include “improving productivity”, cited as a factor by 11%, and “reducing long-term sickness absence,” quoted by 6%.

The report, which surveyed wellbeing, human resources and employee benefits specialists across the UK, found that the vast majority of employers that offer workplace wellness include benefits related to physical activity.

86% of employers offer this, the report found, while 85% provide measures focused around mental health and 82% offer measures centred on nutrition and healthy eating.

The same number, 82% address work-life balance in their wellbeing strategies, while 79% look at health and safety in the workplace.

However, only 21% of employers said: “employee wellbeing is on senior leaders’ agendas” and just 12% that: “employee wellbeing is taking into consideration in business decisions”.

The report also found that different generations have different workplace wellbeing priorities. The inclusion of physical activities in workplace wellness initiatives was the key priority for baby boomers, followed by emotional, intellectual and spiritual aspects.

Generation X employees had similar priorities. Millennials followed the previous two generations in physical and emotional aspects being their top two priorities.

However, millennials also prioritised social and occupational factors to a greater extent than their baby boomer and Generation X counterparts.

The report also found that the extent to which employers feel that the company they work for cares about their personal wellness has an effect on their overall wellbeing.

37% of employers said their company really cares about their personal wellness. Of those, 84% said: “their mental health is affected” and 75% that their “overall happiness is affected”.

63% of employers said their company doesn’t really care about their personal wellness. Of this number, 68% said their “physical health is affected” and 52% that “family life is affected”.