Towergate Health & Protection: Employers are not aligning provision of support with employee requirements

According to the latest research conducted by Towergate Health & Protection, employers are not providing the health and wellbeing support that they think employees need, with 56% of employers offering support for social wellbeing despite only 33% ranking this as the most important support for employees.

Related topics:  Towergate,  group risk
Protection Reporter
27th June 2023
stack of dice with faces showing different emotions
"It is important to have a good balance in supporting all four pillars of wellbeing. With so many solutions available, at different levels, costs, and returns, asking for expert guidance is always a good place to start."
- Debra Clark, head of wellbeing at Towergate Health & Protection

This research was directed at employers in the UK and asked what health and wellbeing support they thought was most important to their staff, and what they actually provide. Across the four pillars (physical, mental, financial and social), Towergate found that most employers offer support for social wellbeing (56%) followed by mental health (54%), financial health (42%) and physical health (41%).

However, this support doesn’t coincide with what employers believe employers want with 60% of employers acknowledging that their employees want support with mental health (60%) followed by financial health (56%), physical health (51%) and social wellbeing (33%).

When discussing reasons for why employers are not aligning the provision of support with employee requirements, Towergate speculated that it may have been caused by employer’s perception of what is easier and cheaper to provide, basing provision on assumptions rather than data, lack of awareness of what is available, or potentially being overwhelmed by the possibilities. 

In light of this research, Towergate believes more employers should re-explore the group risk market to better tailor support for their employees. This could include lighter-touch employee assistance programmes (EAPs), in-patient psychiatric support, financial education, group life assurance, critical illness or income protection. But, there is nothing wrong with taking smaller steps; offering resilience training and mindfulness apps can help to combat issues early on.

Commenting on this research, Debra Clark, head of wellbeing at Towergate Health & Protection, has said:

“There is an anomaly here with the provision of support not tallying with what employers believe is most wanted by their staff. What is particularly interesting to note is that this is a mismatch between what employers think staff want and what those same employers are offering. It is important to consider why this might be.

“Support for social health and wellbeing is the most common provision. Covering things like encouraging a sense of community, building healthy relationships, and organising social events, it may be seen by employers as an easy option. It is important, however, that support is offered based on where it is most needed, and not just so that the wellbeing box can be ticked.”

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