As the global pandemic and resulting financial crisis continue to impact how and where employees work, 95% of employers around the globe now include emotional and mental health programs in their corporate well-being platforms, according to the 11th annual Health and Well-Being Survey from Fidelity Investments® and Business Group on Health.
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The study is designed to provide a snapshot of the current well-being landscape and a glimpse of what companies have planned for the future. The survey was fielded last fall and prior to the pandemic, and some employers may be adjusting their well-being strategies going forward - but many of the results are even more applicable to the current workplace environment.
The survey's findings suggest that emotional and mental health programs can be particularly valuable to employees who may be adjusting to working from home or may have had changes to their workspace due to health safety. Examples of commonly offered mental/emotional help programs included teletherapy, which will be offered by 69% of employers this year, along with stress management (50%) and resiliency programs (49%). Another 33% of employers will offer programs to help improve sleep, up from 25% in 2019.
Employers are also increasing their emphasis on helping employees improve their work/life balance, with 78% of employers including these types of benefits in their well-being platforms. Popular work/life balance benefits include caregiver support (46%), programs and tools for new parents (36%) and child care support (35%).
"Employers are facing a completely different set of well-being challenges this year as they and their employees try to adapt to changes to their physical work environment or their job status," said Shams Talib, head of Fidelity Workplace Consulting, a division of Workplace Investing, which helps multinational organizations design and manage leading employee benefit strategies and supporting programs. "The study results are consistent with the thousands of calls we've been having with plan sponsors since the pandemic began. The expanded focus on mental and emotional well-being comes at a time when a growing number of employees may be facing increased anxiety and stress based on the evolving social and economic landscape."
"Now more than ever, employers are highly focused on employee mental health and well-being as they adjust to the pandemic, economic disruption, and heightened focus on the impact of racial and societal issues," said Ellen Kelsay, President and CEO, Business Group on Health.
Multinational employers are also focused on well-being strategies with 67% offering programs to their global workforces and 51% tailoring their well-being program to the needs of their regional workforce. Similar to well-being strategies in the U.S., almost a third (32%) of multinational employers include emotional and mental health programs in their well-being prorams in other countries.
Average Budget for Well-being Programs Increases 36%, Approaches $5 Million
As well-being platforms evolve and expand, the average well-being budget continues to increase, along with the number of employees dedicated to managing these programs. The average budget for well-being programs increased to $4.9 million in 2020, up 36% over 2019. Among large employers (20,000+ employees) the average budget earmarked for well-being programs jumps to $10.4 million. Furthermore, 31% of employers indicated they will have two or more full-time staff members dedicated to the company's well-being program, while 13% will have more than five full-time employees dedicated to managing these programs.
Financial incentives continue to play an important role in encouraging employees to partake in well-being offerings. While the percentage of employers offering a financial incentive dipped slightly to 78%, from 82% in 2019, 13% of employers surveyed indicated that they plan to increase the maximum incentive amount in 2020. The average maximum amount that can be earned per employee stayed fairly steady, dropping to $757 in 2020 from $762 in 2019.
Most incentives are tied to physical health initiatives, but 15% of incentives are tied to initiatives designed to address non-physical programs that address mental, financial and emotional health. And while only 12% of multinational employers currently offer financial incentives to employees outside of the U.S., 17% indicated they will consider offering in 2021.
It's worth noting that this year's well-being survey was conducted prior to the global pandemic and associated financial crisis. Employers anticipate that these emerging conditions may cause them to rethink their HR budgets broadly and their investment in well-being.
On-site Well-being Programs Continue, But Expect Increased Support for Teleworkers
According to the survey, employers are planning to increase their on-site well-being programs and services in 2020, which will benefit employees who may soon move back to a more traditional work environment. However, since the survey was conducted prior to the pandemic, many employers may have evolved their workforce management strategies and will continue to have a significant percentage of their employees in a work from home environment. As a result, employers are likely to consider allocating additional resources and well-being support for the increasing number of employees who continue to work from home on a regular basis.
About the Survey
The 11th annual survey on corporate Health & Well-being from Fidelity Investments® and Business Group on Health® includes responses from 152 jumbo, large and mid-sized organizations. The online survey was fielded during October 2019 and January 2020 among Business Group on Health members and clients of Fidelity Investments.
About Business Group on Health
Business Group on Health is the only non-profit organization devoted exclusively to representing large employers' perspective on health policy issues and optimizing workforce strategy through innovative health, benefits and well-being solutions. Business Group keeps its membership on the leading edge of innovation, thinking and action to address health care cost and the delivery, financing, affordability and experience with the health care system. Business Group members, many of whom have operations globally, include 74 Fortune 100 companies, and provide health coverage for more than 60 million workers, retirees and their families in over 200 countries. For more information, visit www.businessgrouphealth.org.
About Fidelity Investments
Fidelity's mission is to inspire better futures and deliver better outcomes for the customers and businesses we serve. With assets under administration of $7.9 trillion, including discretionary assets of $3.1 trillion as of April 30, 2020, we focus on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers: helping more than 32 million people invest their own life savings, 22,000 businesses manage employee benefit programs, as well as providing more than 13,500 financial advisory firms with investment and technology solutions to invest their own clients' money. Privately held for more than 70 years, Fidelity employs more than 40,000 associates who are focused on the long-term success of our customers. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit https://www.fidelity.com/about-fidelity/our-company.
Fidelity Investments and Business Group on Health are independent entities and are not legally affiliated.
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