September 23, 2019

Employees’ Overall View of Wellbeing Wanes, but Employer Support Makes a Positive Impact, According to Alight and National Business Group on Health

Employees are taking positive steps when it comes to their health and wellbeing, but despite their best efforts, most don’t view the state of their physical, mental/emotional, financial, social or career wellbeing favorably, according to new data from Alight Solutions, a leader in technology-enabled health, wealth, human capital management and financial solutions; the National Business Group on Health and Kantar. However, most employees (4-out-of-5) rate their employers’ wellbeing programs as valuable and believe that these tools and employer support will help them make progress.

According to the 2019 Health and Financial Wellbeing Mindset study, most people (61 percent) say they are doing everything they can to promote and maintain their health, up nine percentage points since 2014. However, 62 percent of employees have a less-than-positive perception of the current state of their wellbeing (averaged across all five dimensions of wellbeing). In addition, the percentage of employees who feel personally in control of various aspects of their wellbeing is also declining. Just over half (55 percent) of employees feel in control of their health, which is down seven percentage points from 2018; and only 40 percent feel in control of their financial future, down six points from 2017. Further, more than one third (36 percent) believe that a truly healthy life requires more time, attention and/or money than they are willing to spend, up 15 percentage points from 2014.

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“Employees have incredible access to health and wellbeing information—from websites and apps, to wearable technology, to social media, there is no shortage of data, advice and opinions,” said Ray Baumruk, vice president of consumer experience research and insights at Alight. “But more may not be better. Employees appear to be feeling overwhelmed by information and that, despite their efforts, they are not progressing quickly enough to the wellbeing outcome they desire. Fortunately, as a trusted resource, there is a huge opportunity for employers to break through the clutter and support their workforce with information and experiences that are simpler, more personalized and more integrated into their employees’ lives.”

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“There’s been a shift from telling employees what they should do to manage their health risks to meeting employees where they are and offering what they need most to improve their wellbeing,” said Brian Marcotte, president and CEO of the National Business Group on Health.

While perceptions of personal wellbeing may be waning, data from the report indicate employees do in fact, value the wellbeing programs that employers offer more than ever. More than three-quarters (78 percent) of employees feel that their employer’s wellbeing programs make the company more attractive for potential employees and 70 percent say it is one of the reasons they stay at their jobs. Additionally, employees rate these wellbeing programs favorably. Paid time off exchanges, onsite medical clinics and personalized support for navigating healthcare are rated as the top three services offered.

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