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The Macquarie dictionary defines well-being as “good or satisfactory condition of existence; welfare.” But in today’s fast paced world, public and corporate attitudes towards employee wellbeing are changing. Shifting age demographics and generational expectations mean that workers are demanding more and more from their employers in terms of overall support [1].

Aon’s definition of wellbeing goes a great deal further than the traditional dictionary definition.

Aon’s 2019 Asia Pacific Employee Wellbeing Study states that “Well-being is a state of balance that consists of having the appropriate resources, opportunities and commitment needed to achieve optimal health and performance for the individual and the organisation.”

Australian organisations spend an estimated $600 billion on providing reward programs for employees [1]. However, Aon estimates that less than six in ten Australian employees are actively engaged at work [1]. While many organisations have begun investing and implementing strategies to improve the wellbeing of their people – whether looking at programs that promote mental health, diet or exercise –executives often find themselves at a loss when it comes to identifying and implementing the interventions that will really make a difference.

The case for wellbeing goes much further than ensuring employees are happy. It can have a direct and long-lasting impact on an organisation’s bottom line.

In August, senior human resources (HR) and human capital management (HCM) practitioners from across Australia gathered at Aon’s Sydney HQ to understand how to build a business case for wellbeing practices in the workplace.

Amanda Mercep, Aon’s head of Wellbeing Solutions, explained how presenting a business case has the power to target the exact needs of the employee population, solicit critical support and engagement from senior leadership, and secure optimal resources to help execute a vision.

Wellbeing chart

Aon’s approach to wellbeing looks at four key pillars; emotional, physical, social and financial.

Emotional

7.3 million (45 per cent) of Australians will experience a common mental health disorder (such as depression, anxiety or a substance use disorder) in their lifetime. Employers have a crucial role in supporting their employees’ mental health and leaders play a crucial role in setting the culture.

In fact, employees with higher levels of emotional wellbeing are 43 per cent less likely to be newly diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

Physical

Workplaces are ideally positioned to act as frontline promoters of healthy lifestyles. The costs associated with lost productivity from sick days have a huge impact on an organisation’s balance sheet. Physical wellbeing should be one of the most straightforward issues to address given the availability of quality healthcare. Prevention, after all, is better than cure, and often a lot cheaper.

Aon’s research reveals that employers with physical wellbeing programs report 41 per cent less work missed as the result of poor health. Further to this, 39 per cent are less likely to be diagnosed with a new disease in the next 12 months [1].

Social

Through wellbeing practices, employers can create purpose and a sense of belonging that will promote and nurture productivity in their organisation. Strategies are far ranging and easily scalable, from volunteering days, teams and clubs, to family leave entitlements.

Work-life balance means different things to different people; it is important to listen to what your workforce wants, needs and expects. Employees that have access to social wellbeing initiatives score half a point higher on performance reviews by supervisors [1], which has a real impact on productivity levels and business results.

Financial

Money troubles can be a big driver of stress for individuals, no matter what their position in the business. By supporting employees to effectively manage their finances, they will be more likely to plan for their future, with 89 per cent contributing to a retirement plan and 65 per cent saving for health care [1]. By confidently managing every day and future finances, employees can be better prepared for the unexpected, ultimately reduces finance related stress.

Explaining the business case for wellbeing

Aon’s 2019 Asia Pacific Employee Wellbeing Study revealed that the top challenges identified by c-suite executives in implementing wellbeing programs are having an adequate budget, employee engagement with the program, identifying success metrics and senior management buy in.

Mercep said, “One of the most common questions I am asked by HCM professionals is, “How can I convince my CEO or CFO in five minutes the value of investment in wellbeing program? The answer is simple. Speak in a language they understand. The fact is that employees with strong overall wellbeing are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and 32 per cent more likely to stay with the company [1]. Organisations spend so much time, energy and resources attracting the best talent, it makes practical and financial sense to keep them committed to do great work and to stay with the organisation.”

Organisations with high engagement enjoy 21 per cent higher productivity, 22 per cent higher probability and 10 per cent higher customer ratings [1].”

Health insurance

While wellbeing does not necessarily require a significant investment, with current satisfaction rates with existing wellbeing initiatives at only 50 per cent [1], organisations must look carefully at what their workforce needs in order to ensure that they are meeting the mark.

Mercep believes getting started is the hardest step for any organisation. “My advice for any organisation looking to introduce a wellbeing program is to first conduct an inventory of what your organisation is doing already and solicit feedback from employees at all levels. Most organisations find that this exercise reveals some key insights they hadn’t considered before. Once you have taken a deep dive internally, you can then look to the market. Talk to your peers in the industry to see what they are doing, which allows you to benchmark and assess whether you are competitive.”

Aon’s Wellbeing Solutions practice provides insights and tools to our clients and their employees through its advisory, partner network and access to technology.

We help clients to understand the essential of wellbeing, their unique needs and how they align to the given market. By having an appreciation of your teams’ and your own capabilities, we can help you to engage your employees with healthy living activities that reduce overall risk and create real business value.

Find out more about how to build a wellbeing program in your organisations with the help of Aon here

 

Sources

[1]Aon’s 2019 Asia Pacific Employee Wellbeing Study – https://aoninsights.com.au/2019-asia-pacific-employee-wellbeing-study/

Build a wellbeing program in your organisation with the help of Aon

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Stuart Whitbread

Stuart Whitbread  

Director, Health and Benefits, Aon
Contact Stuart