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Wellness
Culture of care

Research from People Management Insights found only 10 per cent of employers believe their corporate wellbeing programme is up to scratch, as Miranda Markham reports


The pandemic has seen many employers re-examining the wellbeing support they provide employees and making changes as a result. This presents huge opportunities for health and fitness operators looking to get a larger slice of the corporate market.

Since people with office jobs sit for up to 80 per cent of their working day, health officials have long stated that companies should actively encourage their workforce to exercise during their lunch breaks – whether it’s a yoga class, a swim, a walk or hitting the gym.

Yet, despite increased interest and investment in wellbeing programmes, many employees who stand to benefit are not participating in them, according to a new study by Gympass and People Management Insight – a research partner of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), which revealed that fewer than 20 per cent of employees are enrolled in physical wellbeing offerings organised by their employers and 74 per cent of staff are not engaged with these programmes either.

Wellbeing programmes that offer access to physical activity can help employees manage stress, depression, anxiety and work-life balance – key issues responsible for burnout and staff turnover, yet the research – which surveyed UK HR leaders – found that despite the widespread acceptance of the benefits of employee wellbeing programmes, 90 per cent of employers say their wellbeing culture needs improvement and that they’re trapped in a ‘workplace first’ mentality, although only 25 per cent say they’re challenged to find budget for wellbeing programmes.

Predict and prevent culture
The research, completed in June 2022, revealed that employers are being more reactive than proactive when it comes to corporate wellbeing. The top two strategies being enacted were providing policies in response to ‘life events’ such as pregnancy and moving house (77.6 per cent) and offering counselling and mental health services (61.8 per cent). In addition, 56 per cent of employers have adjusted workplace arrangements and 34.2 per cent offer flexible working hours.

“Traditionally organisations have taken a reactive approach to wellbeing, through a ‘find-and-fix’ mentality – as we can see by these figures” – says workplace wellbeing specialist, Karl Simons. “However, we mustn’t underestimate the fact that employers that create a culture of care will see happier employees, which in turn leads to more engaged and productive teams.

“The hope is that these research figures will lead to more companies understanding the benefits of adopting a proactive approach and moving towards a ‘predict-and-prevent’ culture.”

Turning investment into action
Luke Bullen, head of UK and Ireland at Gympass, said the key is to give a level of flexibility that enables employees to choose options that best suit their circumstances, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach and offering options that are not attractive to many employees.

“When businesses first come to us, one of their main concerns is that they have wellbeing benefits available, but many of their employees don’t know about them or utilise them,” he explains. “We work with businesses to give employees access to branded offerings because our market research shows this is what they value and are more likely to use.

“With the current cost-of-living crisis, employers have an opportunity to add value to their employees’ day-to-day lives, outside the workplace,” Bullen adds. “Creating workplace wellbeing packages that support them, even when they’re not working, enables employees to cut back on their own personal expenditure on things such as gym memberships, fitness classes and counselling. In the current climate, that’s a great employee benefit to have.”

Struggles with implementation
The research found that employers are aware of the value of corporate wellness plans but are sometimes unable to implement them in a way that engages employees. One solution identified is to offer a more personalised approach.

User data from Gympass indicates that personalising workouts results in significantly higher engagement by employees. This data comes from the Trainiac by Gympass app, which connects users to personal trainers to support and guide them to their fitness goals. After activating the programme, gym check-ins increased by 22 per cent in the ensuing 90 days and employees who were previously inactive completed an average of 36 workouts in the following 90 days when paired with a trainer.

“We know the introduction of health and wellbeing initiatives can increase employee engagement,” says Simons. “This in turn has an impact when it comes to breaking down barriers between teams.

“If businesses turn the current ‘work-first’ approach on its head and introduce ‘people-first’ physical and mental wellbeing services, I believe they’ll see better engagement and overall improvement in the uptake of their corporate wellbeing policy and satisfaction with it. After all, good health is good for business,” he adds.

Nearly all businesses involved in the survey had a clear understanding of the benefits that wellbeing initiatives can bring and, encouragingly, People Management Insights found that over 50 per cent of employers have increased their wellbeing spend in the last two years.

In addition, nearly half of employers have appointed mental health champions in the workplace to support, lead or implement wellness programmes and help create a healthier and more engaged work environment.

This indicates that businesses are becoming far more adept at offering mental health support.

When asked to prioritise their preferred wellbeing interventions, employers rated mental health interventions second only to the popular Cycle to Work scheme, which is offered by 61.9 per cent of employers.

A wellbeing wakeup call
Offering holistic wellbeing programmes is a great start in terms of workplace wellbeing, but it’s not enough. It’s clear that employers must proactively address the challenges preventing participation in wellbeing programmes to realise the investments they’ve made, otherwise, we’re no further ahead than we were before the pandemic.

Increasing employee understanding of wellbeing options and reducing apathy towards things such as the provision of mental health champions are great options, but sometimes having an impact comes down to simple things such as reducing the effort needed to participate in the options on offer.

Fast facts: employee wellbeing

• 50% of employers have increased wellbeing spend in the last two years

• Fewer than 20% of employees use corporate wellbeing programmes

• Nearly 50% of employers have appointed mental health champions

• 90% of employers say their wellbeing culture needs improvement

• Working with a personal trainer increased gym visits by 22% in the ensuing 90 days

• Employers are aware of the value of corporate wellness but struggle to engage employees

• Previously inactive employees completed 36 workouts in 90 days when working with a personal trainer

• The Cycle to Work scheme is offered by 61.9% of UK employers

• Employers report that they’re trapped in a ‘workplace first’ mentality

Companies are encouraged to arrange lunchtime exercise sessions, such as yoga Credit: Photo: Shutterstock/GingerKitten
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Jobs    News   Products   Magazine
Wellness
Culture of care

Research from People Management Insights found only 10 per cent of employers believe their corporate wellbeing programme is up to scratch, as Miranda Markham reports


The pandemic has seen many employers re-examining the wellbeing support they provide employees and making changes as a result. This presents huge opportunities for health and fitness operators looking to get a larger slice of the corporate market.

Since people with office jobs sit for up to 80 per cent of their working day, health officials have long stated that companies should actively encourage their workforce to exercise during their lunch breaks – whether it’s a yoga class, a swim, a walk or hitting the gym.

Yet, despite increased interest and investment in wellbeing programmes, many employees who stand to benefit are not participating in them, according to a new study by Gympass and People Management Insight – a research partner of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), which revealed that fewer than 20 per cent of employees are enrolled in physical wellbeing offerings organised by their employers and 74 per cent of staff are not engaged with these programmes either.

Wellbeing programmes that offer access to physical activity can help employees manage stress, depression, anxiety and work-life balance – key issues responsible for burnout and staff turnover, yet the research – which surveyed UK HR leaders – found that despite the widespread acceptance of the benefits of employee wellbeing programmes, 90 per cent of employers say their wellbeing culture needs improvement and that they’re trapped in a ‘workplace first’ mentality, although only 25 per cent say they’re challenged to find budget for wellbeing programmes.

Predict and prevent culture
The research, completed in June 2022, revealed that employers are being more reactive than proactive when it comes to corporate wellbeing. The top two strategies being enacted were providing policies in response to ‘life events’ such as pregnancy and moving house (77.6 per cent) and offering counselling and mental health services (61.8 per cent). In addition, 56 per cent of employers have adjusted workplace arrangements and 34.2 per cent offer flexible working hours.

“Traditionally organisations have taken a reactive approach to wellbeing, through a ‘find-and-fix’ mentality – as we can see by these figures” – says workplace wellbeing specialist, Karl Simons. “However, we mustn’t underestimate the fact that employers that create a culture of care will see happier employees, which in turn leads to more engaged and productive teams.

“The hope is that these research figures will lead to more companies understanding the benefits of adopting a proactive approach and moving towards a ‘predict-and-prevent’ culture.”

Turning investment into action
Luke Bullen, head of UK and Ireland at Gympass, said the key is to give a level of flexibility that enables employees to choose options that best suit their circumstances, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach and offering options that are not attractive to many employees.

“When businesses first come to us, one of their main concerns is that they have wellbeing benefits available, but many of their employees don’t know about them or utilise them,” he explains. “We work with businesses to give employees access to branded offerings because our market research shows this is what they value and are more likely to use.

“With the current cost-of-living crisis, employers have an opportunity to add value to their employees’ day-to-day lives, outside the workplace,” Bullen adds. “Creating workplace wellbeing packages that support them, even when they’re not working, enables employees to cut back on their own personal expenditure on things such as gym memberships, fitness classes and counselling. In the current climate, that’s a great employee benefit to have.”

Struggles with implementation
The research found that employers are aware of the value of corporate wellness plans but are sometimes unable to implement them in a way that engages employees. One solution identified is to offer a more personalised approach.

User data from Gympass indicates that personalising workouts results in significantly higher engagement by employees. This data comes from the Trainiac by Gympass app, which connects users to personal trainers to support and guide them to their fitness goals. After activating the programme, gym check-ins increased by 22 per cent in the ensuing 90 days and employees who were previously inactive completed an average of 36 workouts in the following 90 days when paired with a trainer.

“We know the introduction of health and wellbeing initiatives can increase employee engagement,” says Simons. “This in turn has an impact when it comes to breaking down barriers between teams.

“If businesses turn the current ‘work-first’ approach on its head and introduce ‘people-first’ physical and mental wellbeing services, I believe they’ll see better engagement and overall improvement in the uptake of their corporate wellbeing policy and satisfaction with it. After all, good health is good for business,” he adds.

Nearly all businesses involved in the survey had a clear understanding of the benefits that wellbeing initiatives can bring and, encouragingly, People Management Insights found that over 50 per cent of employers have increased their wellbeing spend in the last two years.

In addition, nearly half of employers have appointed mental health champions in the workplace to support, lead or implement wellness programmes and help create a healthier and more engaged work environment.

This indicates that businesses are becoming far more adept at offering mental health support.

When asked to prioritise their preferred wellbeing interventions, employers rated mental health interventions second only to the popular Cycle to Work scheme, which is offered by 61.9 per cent of employers.

A wellbeing wakeup call
Offering holistic wellbeing programmes is a great start in terms of workplace wellbeing, but it’s not enough. It’s clear that employers must proactively address the challenges preventing participation in wellbeing programmes to realise the investments they’ve made, otherwise, we’re no further ahead than we were before the pandemic.

Increasing employee understanding of wellbeing options and reducing apathy towards things such as the provision of mental health champions are great options, but sometimes having an impact comes down to simple things such as reducing the effort needed to participate in the options on offer.

Fast facts: employee wellbeing

• 50% of employers have increased wellbeing spend in the last two years

• Fewer than 20% of employees use corporate wellbeing programmes

• Nearly 50% of employers have appointed mental health champions

• 90% of employers say their wellbeing culture needs improvement

• Working with a personal trainer increased gym visits by 22% in the ensuing 90 days

• Employers are aware of the value of corporate wellness but struggle to engage employees

• Previously inactive employees completed 36 workouts in 90 days when working with a personal trainer

• The Cycle to Work scheme is offered by 61.9% of UK employers

• Employers report that they’re trapped in a ‘workplace first’ mentality

Companies are encouraged to arrange lunchtime exercise sessions, such as yoga Credit: Photo: Shutterstock/GingerKitten
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Losing weight, building strength, ageing in good health: whatever takes you to the fitness club, it needs to be addressed specifically. One size doesn’t simply fit all. Up until today. Find out more...
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DIARY

 

26-28 Sep 2022

SpaFest 2022

Gwel an Mor, United Kingdom
27-29 Sep 2022

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Ourense, Ourense, Spain
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

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Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2022

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
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