The 2018 EMEA Health Survey by Aon found that while the majority of employers recognise the importance of having a well-defined, well-communicated health and wellbeing programme, most are not employing strategies that best enable these outcomes. Over 900 employers in 25 industries completed the survey to identify the key health issues employers face as they develop their people risk strategies.

Employers know that there is a correlation between employee health and their performance and 100% of South African firms agree that they have a role to play in positively influencing good employee health. Most employers also have a solid understanding of the types of health and wellbeing issues they need to focus on, such as lifestyle risks, and financial, physical and/or emotional wellbeing, and 72% of South African respondents said that mental health issues and stress were their primary concern.

This knowledge, however, isn’t translating to implemented health and wellbeing strategies. The prevalence of health programmes of all types within companies is also lower than two years ago. Here are some of the statistics from the report:
• Only 22% of employers use data to support their health and wellbeing strategy, and just 17% of South African employers measure ongoing success of their health programmes.
• Less than 40% of employers rate their health and benefits communication to employees as good.
• Attracting and retaining talent is the top HR issue in 2018, overtaking increasing productivity and employee performance, which has dropped to the number three concern since the last survey in 2016. Improving engagement and morale is the second highest ranked concern.
• Only 40% of employers say they have a defined health strategy in place, the same as 2016, and even fewer (36%) have a clear view of the impact (including cost) of the health issues in their organisation.
• The key barriers to running or implementing successful wellbeing programmes include having no budget or a budget that is not deemed enough, having limited resources, or not being able to measure the effectiveness of initiatives.

Matthew Lawrence, Chief Broking Officer, Health & Benefits, EMEA at Aon said that although more organisations now have a defined health budget, for many employers this does not appear to stretch far enough in order for them to achieve their desired health and wellbeing outcomes. It is vital that employers think about how best to utilise this spend, what role other stakeholders in the process could play in supporting funding initiatives and, where appropriate, how best to make use of what they are already paying for, for example, insurer value-add services.

“More importantly, focusing health initiatives where they are most needed and deliver most value is key, both from a value for investment and a return on investment perspective. For example, taking data and providing insightful analysis should lead to targeted action and measurable outcomes that potentially would have a positive impact on both the individual employee and the employer. Nearly 80% of respondents to this survey are missing out on this opportunity. The 85% who reported in the last survey that they intended to start measuring their success have not done so. It will therefore be interesting to see how many of the 88% who say the same this year will have put measurement programmes in place by 2020,” comments Matthew.

For more information, visit www.aon.com, to which full thanks and acknowledgement are given.

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