Although employers are facing a difficult economic climate, nine in 10 said it will not lead to them reducing their investment in wellbeing programs for their employees, according to a new survey. Another three in 10 employers plan to increase their investment into wellbeing programs.
The survey was published Wednesday by Fidelity Investments and Business Group on Health. It was conducted between December 2022 and January 2023 and received responses from 184 employers. Most of the employers have a global presence.
Despite employers looking to maintain their wellbeing investments in the next three to five years, some areas of wellbeing will be emphasized more than others, the survey found. About 74% of respondents said they will expand mental health, 53% said they will expand financial wellness, 52% said they will expand work/life balance and 50% said they will expand physical health.
Mental health, physical health and financial health are all common parts of wellbeing strategies. However, employers are looking to expand beyond these areas as well, the survey showed. About 82% of respondents said they will focus on “social connectedness” in 2023, versus 70% in 2022. Another 79% said they will focus on “community,” versus 67% last year.
The report also found that several wellbeing initiatives that took a hit during the pandemic are coming back. About 61% of employers plan to offer onsite yoga or meditation classes this year, compared to 22% in 2022; 60% plan to provide onsite fitness classes, compared to 25% last year; 62% will offer onsite health fairs, versus 6% in 2022; and 35% will provide onsite counseling or therapy, up from 18% last year.
“Employees today are looking to employers for support as they navigate work and life in a post-pandemic world,” said Robert Kennedy, health and welfare practice leader at Fidelity Workplace Consulting, in a news release.
Respondents with global operations are also striving for consistency in their wellbeing offerings: 80% said they have a global consistency approach or are developing one. However, being consistent is a difficult task, as 63% of respondents said employee needs differ by country and 38% said there is a shortage of providers that have global solutions.
Financial incentives to encourage participation in wellbeing programs are becoming more common, the survey also found. About 73% of respondents said they would provide financial incentives in 2023, compared to 68% last year. These incentives typically come in the form of gift cards or Health Savings Account funding. Employers provided an average incentive of $716 per employee this year, a 13% decrease from last year.
About 43% of employers said they plan to expand their incentives over the next three to five years, while 35% will maintain their incentives.
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