EMEA Health Survey

In the first quarter of 2016. Aon carried out its Health Benefits Survey. They survey aims to identify health trends within EMEA, and highlight where practices differ across countries, regions and EMEA as a whole.

The findings paint a fascinating picture of current health practice across the region, pinpointing areas for improvement and making recommendations that will increase health benefit take-up, improve measurement of the impact of health – and any initiatives – and maximise the return on any investment firms make in their employees' health.

Identifying employers' current challenges and priorities

Current HR challenges

Increasing productivity and employee performance52%
Attracting and retaining talent51%
Improving employee engagement and morale49%
Reducing or managing cost44%

Organisational health and wellness issues today and in the future

Entire survey
Stress and mental health issues65%
Employees' physical health53%
Unhealthy employee lifestyles49%

Examining current approaches to health

Shaping health strategies

EMEA employers:

  • See a correlation between health and employee performance (93%)
  • Connect their insurable employee benefits with their health strategy in just over half of cases (56%)
  • Have a defined health strategy in 40% of firms across the entire survey – with 21% of those without a strategy planning to define one within the next two years
  • Are likely to focus their health strategies on both developing employee health programmes and communicating the current strategy – 53% plan to do this
  • Do not make enough use of data analytics – only 26% use the data at their disposal to inform their approach to health
  • Only have a clear view of the current impact of health issues within their organisation in 40% of cases – although 65% without this insight plan to address this

Current employee health programmes

EMEA organisations:

  • Recognise the employer's role in health – 94% agree that employers are responsible for influencing employee health and changing behaviours
  • Are most likely to have programmes addressing physical health or the work environment – 47% have these. 43% have social programmes, 32% have emotional/psychological ones and 26% have financial programmes
  • Will see the biggest predicted growth in financial health programmes: 23% plan to introduce these in future
  • Are more likely to manage health initiatives locally (55%) than globally (28%) or regionally (17%)
  • Are fairly satisfied with their communications around health and benefits – 75% believe their health and benefits communications are good or fair, while 4% think they are excellent. 17% believe they are insufficient or inefficient
  • See limited budget as their biggest challenge when it comes to implementing health-related programmes: 69% cite this. 60% believe a lack of resources is most likely to hold them back

Funding and measuring ROI of employee health programmes

  • 89% of respondents expect health programmes to be paid for, now and in future, by the employer
  • For 46%, current and expected future provision is partially paid for by employees
  • Just 13% measure the outcomes of their investment in employee health programmes
  • 85% of those who do not would like to measure these outcomes
  • 43% have a specific budget for health initiatives; 14% of those that don't intend to have one within two years

Aon view

Attracting and retaining the best employees, and ensuring they are productive and engaged, are big themes for all EMEA employers. This is set against a backdrop of continuing financial pressures: reducing or managing cost is among the top HR challenges cited by the survey's respondents.

With stress and mental health issues prevalent and the biggest recognised health issue for employers, it is disappointing to see that less than a third are addressing this with emotional or psychological health programmes. Helping to support the mental wellbeing of employees is crucial if they are to remain happy, present and productive. Financial health is a growing topic of conversation, and predicted to be the largest growth area in terms of employer-provided health programmes.

Using the data at their disposal to identify health priorities and measure the impact of strategies to address them is essential – and yet only a quarter of EMEA employers currently use the data they have and only a tenth measure the outcomes of current health programmes. There is clearly an appetite to do more here; the vast majority say it is an area they want to address.

Taking a more data-driven approach to health strategy will pay huge dividends in terms of ROI and success, and we would urge all firms to look at this as a matter of urgency. Absence and other data can be used to great effect to pinpoint and target health issues, and to tailor your responses to them.

With a few simple steps, EMEA employers could make significant improvements to the way they tackle their health and wellness challenges, and would reap the rewards of a more focused approach.

Click here to download the report

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