Global wellbeing SOS: why it’s time for a new kind of teamwork

Global employee wellbeing has reached a tipping point where only much improved trust, transparency and teamwork between employers, intermediaries and providers will ensure fit for purpose, future-proof, wellbeing programmes.

Global wellbeing SOS: why it’s time for a new kind of teamwork

Employers need to feel ready, willing and able to share and use essential data. Intermediaries need to do less broking, more consulting. And providers need to consistently deliver what they promise.

These represent the overriding takeaway messages from a major new study carried out by Generali UK and HR Grapevine, which focused squarely on multinationals across a wide variety of industry sectors and headquartered in the UK or Ireland.

Nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of the 415 respondents were from mid to large companies with 10,000+ employees: more than a quarter (28 per cent) with 50,000+ employees. Overall, seven in 10 respondents say their employees are spread across more than 10 countries.

Simon Thomas, Director – UK Employee Benefits at Generali, comments: “These represent exactly the size and shape of companies that would benefit greatly from partnership support in terms of ensuring global coordination, local compliance and realising cost efficiencies. In line with all this, comes the need to proactively manage absence, promote wellbeing and use early intervention services.”

Why a stronger tripartite is needed: employer, intermediary, provider

The majority of respondents (60 per cent) say their wellbeing strategy – where they have one – is “local, but reflects global”. Yet only a quarter have a multinational pooling arrangement in place: the kind of framework from which mid to large companies could derive numerous advantages in terms of a more strategic and cost-effective approach to global benefits.

Here are a just a few additional key findings that demonstrate the need for a new kind of partnership working between employers, intermediaries and providers:

  • Two-fifths expect recruitment and retention to get worse if they continue doing what they are doing with benefits.
  • Although 44 per cent are able to respond to wellbeing issues/hotspots, the remaining 56 per cent either don't have the time, resources, budget or strategy to do so.
  • In trying to identify and establish employee needs, 46 per cent say that intermediaries have an influence. The majority (53 per cent) rely on employee mood surveys. 39 per cent regularly review summary absence data, yet only 19 per cent involve their group income protection provider.

The benefits of a new team formation

Corporate wellbeing cannot continue in its current guise. Employers may well have a whole host of benefits and services in place but, as the research results will attest, they’re all too often siloed, reactive and immeasurable. A symphony without a score.

As everyone in the wellbeing business knows, it’s not enough to simply tick a duty of care box and then only revisit benefits at next renewal.

But, at the same time, budgets are tight. Companies don’t necessarily need more benefits and services. Instead, they require help to make much better use of what they have.

Existing benefits and services need assessing, utilising, targeting and measuring.

It’s exactly for this reason that one particular employee benefit (EB) consultant has decided to do things differently. Alan Fergusson is Managing Director of Beneficia, a new EB consultancy about to launch that will focus entirely on consulting as opposed to broking.

He comments: “I believe that the disruption in the market as a whole around EB caused by technology, regulation and product innovation is resulting in employees not even seeing many of the tools available to them, as broking just doesn’t incentivise advisers to promote them. Employers are not aware of this.”

Generali’s Multinational Employee Benefits, Wellbeing & Total Reward report offers greater insight into this issue, as well as top health and wellbeing problem areas for multinationals; which benefits are provided; to what percentage of the workforce; and which ones are managed from head office; plus how they are communicated.

This article was provided by Generali.

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