Improving the Physical and Mental Health of Employees
The life sciences industry is 10 percent behind other industries when it comes to providing advanced mental health support, based on our research.
Given this gap, life sciences companies should spend more time on refining their employee wellbeing programs. Our data finds a degree of mismatch between currently offered programs versus the programs that would meet the perceived needs of employees. Now that the dust has settled from the pandemic, companies are noticing that the programs they have implemented aren’t moving the needle as much as they’d hoped. That may well be because traditional programs are designed to address clinical issues like anxiety, depression and substance abuse, whereas the pandemic revealed the prevalence of conditions like burnout and languishing — which do not warrant immediate clinical attention, but still affect many employees.
Aon partnered with a leading pharmaceutical company to measure the ROI of their wellbeing programs. We found that moderate improvements in wellbeing resulted in a 5 percent productivity gain — more than offsetting the cost of wellbeing initiatives.
The right wellbeing program will target microstresses that occur in the workplace to prevent burnout. Furthermore, our 2022 Health Survey found 47 percent of employees in the United States live in areas with limited access to mental health services. With mental health an acute concern among life sciences firms, employers should focus on ensuring increased access within their healthcare plans.
Life sciences companies should also focus on ways to reduce healthcare cost pressures, particularly in the U.S., where cost and affordability of healthcare is a huge concern for both employees and employers. Value-led healthcare strategies allow employers to lower costs while improving affordability and quality of care. Even more, they don’t require major changes to healthcare plans. These can include advising employees on optimal providers as costs can differ, reducing cost uncertainty with predictive analytics and integrating support by bringing different vendors together.
Aon partnered with a global biopharmaceutical firm to measure and close the pay equity gap. Over three years, the company closed its pay gap completely in North America and has an action plan for closing the gaps in other locations.
Equipping Employees with Future-Leading Skills
Future skills readiness is on the agenda for many life sciences companies, with 71 percent saying they plan to increase this focus. This is especially true since many organizations still struggle to hire and retain employees in the ongoing competitive market for skilled talent. We see this in the industry’s continued high turnover. Median voluntary turnover among life sciences companies in the United States, for example, is above 10 percent in every region but the mid-Atlantic, according to Aon’s Salary Increase and Turnover Study from October 2023.
Preparing the workforce for future skills includes initiatives such as, employee training and development, upskilling and reskilling programs and preparing managers to lead their teams. This is necessary to drive the innovation and growth that characterizes the life sciences industry. Artificial intelligence in particular is reshaping the need for skills and highlighting the need for life sciences companies to understand the talent potential and gaps in their workforce.
There are two main actions life sciences companies should take to improve the future skills readiness of their organization:
- Boost employee mobility by establishing a sustainable skills framework — and then connect that framework to your job architecture and current HR processes.
- Increase productivity by using data to understand cost implications and benefits of different talent decisions (e.g., invest in reskilling versus new hiring).
How Aon Can Help
Ready to get started? Download our Measuring Workforce Resilience for Better Business Outcomes Guide or get in touch with one of our life sciences experts to discuss how to help your organization improve workforce resilience.