United Kingdom

Employers with wellbeing strategies in place doubles in three years

August 2019


  • The number of UK firms with a wellbeing strategy has increased by 130% over the past three years
  • The biggest barrier to having a strategy in place was funding and in-house expertise
  • It follows an Aon whitepaper which explored how data-driven intervention and technology could help transform employee wellbeing


Happy man in shirt

Almost seven in ten UK employers now have strategies in place for monitoring employee wellbeing - up 130% from three years ago - according to new research.

The Employee Wellbeing Research 2019 report, published by the Reward & Employee Benefits Association (REBA) in association with AXA PPP healthcare, found that the number of employers with wellbeing strategies in the UK was 68.4%, up from 29.8% in 2016.

The report surveyed 250 wellbeing, HR and employee benefits specialists across a range of industry sectors. It found that of the employers who do not have a strategy in place yet, over half of those plan to introduce one in 2019.

Almost half of employers without a wellbeing strategy said the key barriers to implementing this were lack of funding (46.8%) and lack of in-house expertise (46.8%).

It follows Aon’s whitepaper called ‘Prevention is better than cure’, which found that 95% of employers see a correlation between health and employee performance.

The whitepaper, published in May, looked at how mobile health could help transform employee wellbeing. It also called for better wellbeing initiatives within the workplace, as many schemes are ‘poorly targeted’.

The new REBA research also found that:

  • Where employers have a plan in place, median spend per employee is £26 to £50.
  • Employee assistance programmes were the most frequently offered initiative (93.6%), followed by occupational sick pay schemes (87.5%).
  • Nearly half of employers (45.9%) have a dedicated strategy in place for managing employee mental health - up from 15.8% in 2018.


The report said: “While commitment to wellbeing strategies is clearly gathering steam, financial barriers are still a concern.

“Only 25.3% cite lack of senior management support as a barrier, so for most respondents there is a commitment within the organisation to implementing a wellbeing programme.

“However, the combination of lack of skills and budget may mean employers find it difficult to turn the commitment into positive action.”

It added: “Wellbeing strategies are at their most effective when employees contribute to the programme’s development and into the associated cultural change. While board support is still fundamentally important, this shows that wellbeing has got to draw interest from all layers of an organisation.”

Nick Boyton, Senior Health & Risk Consultant at Aon comments; “employee wellbeing is clearly a growing concern and taking greater precedence on the corporate agenda. Whilst it’s reassuring that such a high proportion of companies are tracking and reviewing their employees’ wellbeing, wellbeing strategies will be limited by insufficient funding. There are a number of low-cost quick wins which companies can implement, such as ensuring their strategies are aligned to their employees’ needs, and utilising appropriate communication channels to promote their offerings.”


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