Health and wellness benefits insights for 2020. Where employee benefits are missing the mark and how employers can reduce work-related stress.

Aetna’s Business of Health 2020 report looks at some of the greatest challenges employers face maintaining a healthy workforce and improving business performance. 

Their first key finding is that health and wellness benefits are missing the mark. 

Seventy percent of employers believe they provide good health and wellness benefits, but less than 25 percent of their workers agree. 

Health and Wellness Benefits Disconnect

A part of the health and wellness benefits disconnect between employers and employees could be explained by uncertainty. Nearly 40 percent of employers are unsure about what employees want from their benefits package and over 40 percent are concerned about the cost implications of employee health and wellness. 

Communicating directly with employees to find out what health and wellness benefits they need most can help employers and employees get on the same page about benefits goals. This could be achieved through company-wide surveys, focus groups or direct benefits conversations with workers. Setting a firm budget for health and wellness benefits can ease employer concerns about program costs. 

Health and Wellness Benefits Insights for 2020

Employee stress is a huge threat to the well-being of employees, so much so that employers agree it’s the most challenging occupational health issue facing corporations worldwide, second only to viral illnesses like the flu. 

Nearly 50 percent of the global workforce feels stressed because of work and 80 percent of employees rated their company’s support for stress as adequate or poor. Of the almost 60 percent of employees who don’t get enough sleep, close to 35 percent blame job stress for keeping them up at night.

Reducing Work-Related Employee Stress

Only 25 percent of the HR Directors that Aetna interviewed believed that they offer good support for those who are stressed at work.

What can employers do to reduce work-related employee stress? Encouraging the use of sick days and having flexible working hours could help. More than 70 percent of employers don’t think employees take enough sick days. Less than 15 percent of HR Directors believe that flexible working policies have a positive impact on employee retention, but flexible working hours are the most popular workforce policies requested by employees. 

Employers have another opportunity to reduce work-related employee stress by supporting mental health in the workplace. More than 80 percent of employees are concerned that a mental health issue could one day affect their ability to work. Over 40 percent of employers say their company offers good support for mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, but only 25 percent of workers agree. 

Mental health is becoming an important factor for recruitment as well. Nearly 70 percent of employees said they wouldn’t join a business that did not have a clear policy on supporting those with mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. 

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