Data analysis: the weak link in wellbeing strategies

Nearly all employers – a huge 96% – are putting in the effort to evaluate the effectiveness of their wellbeing strategies.

Data analysis: the weak link in wellbeing strategies

However, significant challenges remain for businesses in how they make sense of the data they have, or in knowing which assessment methods are most relevant and useful. This is limiting employers’ understanding of the effectiveness of their wellbeing initiatives and which programmes are value for money, warns the Employee Wellbeing Research 2021 report, published by REBA in association with AXA Health.

The report highlighted that the three most popular methods used by employers to assess wellbeing schemes are staff surveys (72%), tracking employee engagement levels (63%) and monitoring wellbeing programme participation rates (62%).

Around a quarter are delving deeper and monitoring physical health assessments or the cost of insurance risk, for example. Meanwhile, only around one in seven (15%) calculate the return on investment (ROI) by considering the full cost of their investments in wellbeing against various key HR metrics, such as absence, retention and recruitment.

Stalling employers’ attempts to meaningfully evaluate wellbeing are longstanding barriers around resourcing, availability and analysis of data, the research shows.

More than a third (38%) of employers report that they do not have enough time available to devote to the data analysis required, or that they have limited data available internally (37%). A further third say the available data being incomplete or of poor quality (33%) is a problem, and similar percentages say they lack a platform to collect or analyse data.

Comparing these with last year’s findings, it seems “there’s little meaningful progress being made when it comes to organisations investing in data processing and analysis for uncovering key trends and insights, and making informed decisions that shape their wellbeing strategies,” warns the report.

To drive wellbeing strategies in an evidenced, data-based way and fully realise their potential, employers need to invest in data analytics expertise, either internally or through an external provider, adds the report.

Download a copy of the 72-page Employee Wellbeing Research 2021 (free to REBA Professional Members and all those working for REBA Associate Members).

The author is Rima Evans, freelance contributor. 

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