The vast majority of employers have stepped up their efforts to support employee mental health as a result of the pandemic, research shows.
Over 90% of businesses surveyed for Aon said they are now focusing on the issue much more than in the past.
A similar number also said they are prioritising “communication’ with employees as a result of the ongoing crisis.
According to Aon’s UK Benefits & Trends Survey, 86% of employers said they prioritised employee communications as a result of the pandemic. In addition, 71% of employers said they now conduct research among their employees to understand their needs, an increase of 9 percentage points on last year. However, this still shows a concerning number of employers who are not tapping into employee opinion.
The poll also shows that 66% of firms now offer digital GP services to employees, while the use of value-added services such as employee assistance programmes as a key part of an employer’s strategy jumped 14 percentage points.
More than two-fifths (41%) employers expect to re-evaluate their Employer Value proposition (EVP) in light of Covid-19.
Colin Barnes, director, proposition and development, Aon, said, the events of 2020 “created a catalyst for long-lasting change in the workplace”.
He said: “The pandemic has accelerated new approaches needed for businesses to survive or thrive. Surrounded by these challenges, employees needed clarity and confidence in the messages they received from their employers. Where communication had long been a priority, last year it become even more important.
“Indeed, wellbeing has been an increasingly relevant boardroom topic as employers connected productivity and profitability to engagement, resilience and the underlying health of their workforce. It is overwhelmingly positive to see the number of employers recognising and responding to this need.”
The research also shows that 87% of companies are focusing on wellbeing for homeworking, 83% on general wellbeing and 68% on emotional support. Over half (56%) have targeted their wellbeing initiatives to improve employee resilience.
When it comes to physical health, 66% of employers now provide a digital GP service, either available to staff on a voluntary or flexible basis (12%), fully company-funded to all staff (40%) or fully-funded to some staff (14%). Less than half (48%) provided this benefit in 2020.
Aon surveyed 332 HR, employee benefit and reward specialists across a range of industry sectors for the report.
The report is available here.