Just 5% of UK businesses have 'extensive' wellbeing programmes

There's more to be done around wellbeing initiatives but UK offerings stand above the global average

Just 5% of organisations in the UK have ‘extensive’ wellbeing programmes that are actively tracked to measure their impact on workplace productivity and efficiency, according to new research from Deloitte.

The 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey found that, while employee health and wellbeing is a priority for organisations, the majority (59%) only provide limited or basic wellbeing programmes with traditional interventions, such as adjusted working patterns and additional exceptional leave. The remaining 36% offer programmes ‘beyond the traditional' including mindfulness, life balance and financial fitness.

However, while the research points to organisations still having some way to go to effectively embed wellbeing programmes into the business, the UK was found to be more progressive than the global average.

Thirty-six per cent of UK businesses have mental health counselling programmes, compared with a global average of 21%. Meanwhile 88% of business and HR leaders in the UK are working towards improving employee wellbeing, compared with an 82% global average.

Anne-Marie Malley, UK human capital leader at Deloitte, said: “It’s positive to see that many UK businesses are taking steps to champion mental health in the workplace, but it’s clear that more still needs to be done. Offering mental health support to employees not only helps British workers to thrive but also makes good business sense and supports the wider economy.”

The report also found that employee wellbeing initiatives are no longer seen as a ‘nice to have’ but as an 'essential differentiator' for UK businesses. A number of benefits were cited, including a positive impact on employee retention (68%), employee productivity and improving results (64%), and supporting employee recruitment and employment branding (56%).

“Organisations in the UK are no longer measured solely on their financial performance and the quality of their products and services. They are also judged on the way they treat and engage with their staff and customers, the support they give to the communities in which they operate, and their impact on society as a whole. This is increasingly important for attracting and retaining staff, building a strong reputation and cultivating loyalty among customers,” added Malley.

The research also found that flexible working is the most well-established type of wellbeing programme, with 59% of organisations offering this. This was followed by 50% providing an employee assistance programme.