Aon survey reveals ‘work-life’ balance is the top wellbeing concern for Irish employers

Only 1 in 2 businesses have a comprehensive employee wellbeing strategy in place

New survey identifies link between employee wellbeing and improved business results

28 May 2021 – Aon has today released the findings of a new survey which reveals that work-life balance is the number one wellbeing issue Irish employers are concerned about followed closely by mental health and burnout.

The ‘2021 Global Wellbeing Survey’, carried out on behalf of Aon by leading global market research company IPSOS, highlighted the top wellbeing risks impacting company performance. It found that 70% of employers in Ireland identified work-life balance as the top wellbeing risk currently facing their employees. 66% identified mental health as a concern, 45% the current working environment and 39% employee burnout.

With wellbeing supports proving vital in helping employees to navigate the challenges posed by the pandemic and the rapid shift to remote working, the survey reveals that Irish companies are ahead of their international competitors in embracing employee wellbeing. 96% of businesses in Ireland have at least one employee wellbeing initiative in place compared to 86% of firms in Europe.

Despite the vast majority having an employee wellbeing initiative in place, only one in two firms have a comprehensive employee wellbeing strategy in place. The ‘Global Wellbeing Survey’ found that investment is the number one challenge for firms either looking to create an employee wellbeing strategy or expanding an existing programme.

This is compounded by the fact that 56% of businesses reported a lack of leadership focus as being the principal obstacle to prioritising wellbeing within their organisations. Leadership can set the tone for wellbeing; 87% of Irish companies surveyed agreed that the HR Director is the biggest supporter of wellbeing initiatives, followed by the CEO (76%).

The latest survey by Aon also finds that companies that improve employee wellbeing by 4% see a 1% increase in company profit and a 1% decrease in employee turnover. This comes as 47% of Irish businesses have identified attracting and retaining talent as the main factor negatively impacting their business compared to 31% who pointed towards adapting to changing customer needs due to COVID-19.

Ian Thornton, Managing Director - Health and Benefits, Aon in Ireland said: “The health and wellbeing of employees has been the number one priority of business leaders as they navigated the pandemic. With the fundamental shift in where, how and when work gets done in recent months and the prevalence of a multigenerational workforce, employee wellbeing is more important than ever before. It is therefore not surprising that our latest survey finds more than 9 in 10 businesses have rolled out a wellbeing initiative.

“But wellbeing is so much more than an individual programme. It requires leadership support and buy-in to create a wellbeing strategy and business culture that can positively impact employees and company performance.

“Over the coming months, business leaders will need to ensure there is no disconnect between the requirements of employees and the wellbeing supports available to them. As hybrid working becomes a way of life for many, companies will need to support the rapidly changing needs of employees – not just physical wellbeing, but increasingly, emotional wellbeing including addressing work-life balance and burnout challenges, as well as financial wellbeing.

“Our work with leading Irish employers has shown to us the link between employee wellbeing and business results. The latest Global Wellbeing Survey confirms this connection. At Aon, we’re supporting hundreds of organisations as they evolve their health and wellbeing offerings. Gaining leadership buy-in and developing a comprehensive wellbeing strategy are critical in building a culture of resilience as organisations navigate the path forward to a ‘new better’.

“In light of the survey, we would encourage employers to review how they integrate employee health and wellbeing within their business strategy and make wellbeing a leadership priority. In doing so, Ireland’s workforce can play a key role in helping businesses to rebuild and recover.”

Aon’s recent Rising Resilient report found that, despite health and wellbeing initiatives being well-established amongst employers, with 80% agreeing that they are beneficial for their organisations, the programmes do not result in creating resilient workforces. The research found that only 30% of employee respondents described themselves as resilient. Resilience in a work environment is critical to helping people adapt to adverse situations, manage stress and retain motivation, enabling organisations and their workforces to better manage change.

The full ‘2021 Global Wellbeing Survey’ can be accessed online via:

Media Contacts:

Paul Nallon, Q4PR – Tel: 086-8694041 / Email: [email protected]

Suzanne Sullivan, Q4PR – Tel: 086-4619680 / Email: [email protected]

About Aon

Aon plc (NYSE:AON) is a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions. Our 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries empower results for clients by using proprietary data and analytics to deliver insights that reduce volatility and improve performance.

About the Aon 2021 Global Wellbeing Survey

The 2021 Global Wellbeing Survey was developed, designed and conducted by Aon in partnership with IPSOS, a leading global market research company. The purpose of the employer survey was to understand how employers around the world are addressing wellbeing and the impact having a wellbeing program has on their overall company performance. 1,648 companies across 41 countries participated in the global survey which took place last year with 81 companies located in Ireland taking part. Industries represented included financial services, technology, manufacturing, professional services and healthcare.