Asia Pacific employers are committed to employee health and wellbeing but that’s not reflected in their actions, which are often undermined by a lack of strategy and a disconnect with employees, according to Willis Towers Watson’s new 2015/2016 Global Staying@Work survey, released today.
Willis Towers Watson’s findings show that only one in three (33%) of Asia Pacific organisations have an articulated health and productivity (H&P) strategy.
By 2018, more than three-quarters of companies (83%) plan to have a strategy, with a substantial portion (35%) that plan to differentiate their health and wellbeing programmes for critical segments of the workforce.
“Our research shows that employers in Asia have big aspirations,” said Dr. Rajeshree Parekh, Director of Health and Corporate Wellness for Asia and Australasia at Willis Towers Watson.
“The journey to health and wellness is a long one. Building a health and productivity strategy takes considerable effort and organisational resolve. Setting objectives that resonate with employees, and then delivering on the strategy’s promises is a journey, not a race.”
Barriers to success include inadequate budget and/or staff (41%), and insufficient evidence to build a case for the required investment (37%). Lack of actionable d data and employee engagement were often cited as barriers too.
The building blocks for an effective H&P strategy
“To increase a strategy’s chance of success, it is important to view it holistically and offer interconnected programmes, rather than offering individual programmes that don’t have the same overall goal,” said Dr. Parekh.
“Implementing health and productivity programmes without having an overarching strategy will have limited success in changing employee behaviour in the long run.”
What are the Underlying Causes?
Lifestyle health risks include stress, lack of physical exercise, obesity, poor nutrition and tobacco use. Sedentary lifestyle is the top concern in Asia Pacific, with stress, insufficient physical activity, and lack of sleep ranking high in almost every market.
“It’s important for employers to recognise that many of these issues are inter-related. For example, research shows that insufficient physical activity, poor nutrition and inadequate sleep are strongly linked with obesity and stress,” said Dr. Parekh.
“This linkage is another reason why employers’ efforts to address issues on an individual basis could fail to improve employees’ health and wellbeing.”
Source: Asia Insurance Post
Date: 30th March, 2016.