Aon Employee Benefits, the UK health and benefits business of Aon plc (NYSE: AON), has found in its annual Benefits and Trends survey that nearly 40 percent of employers do not use any data to drive corporate health and wellbeing strategies or target costs. The survey also showed, however, that increasing numbers of employers want to understand health risks affecting their employee population.
Although Aon’s survey showed that 38 percent of businesses do not use analytics to inform health and wellbeing decisions, 59 percent of those who do not manage known health risks would like a better understanding of their impact. Indeed, awareness is increasing: 42% of employers have considered managing a known health risk, such as cancer or muscular-skeletal issues, compared to 25% in 2014.
Matthew Lawrence, head of broking, health and risk proposition at Aon Employee Benefits, said:
“Organisations often invest a significant amount of money into the health and wellbeing of their employees so it makes sense to have a clear view of their people risk challenges.
“We advise all employers to gain clarity by interrogating their data to identify their specific employee ill-health trends. Armed with this, informed and targeted decisions can be made around the provision of benefits and will ensure that any spend on prevention, intervention and support related health services will be as targeted as possible.”
The survey showed:
- Data and analytics are under-utilised
- Over a third do not use any analytics to drive health and wellbeing strategy
- Only 29% use medical, income protection or critical illness data to drive decisions
- Only 8% work with providers on health and wellness to analyse the data they can provide
- There is an appetite for more proactivity
- The number managing known health risks, eg cancer, muscular-skeletal issues has almost doubled since last years survey…
…but is still only 42%
- 59% of those not managing known health risks would like to.
Absence Management Adrian Lewis of Activ Absence commented:
“This survey confirms our experience, that wellness initiatives are more effective when they are targeted and form part of an overall absence management plan. A good absence management system will help managers view patterns of absence, both at an individual, departmental and company-wide level and you can use the information to mould your wellness strategy accordingly.
Using absence management data to drive wellness initiatives means you can identify and respond to health challenges you would otherwise miss. Examples include:
- Extra training where one department has a high rate of industrial injuries,
- Presenteeism creating a problem (one member had a bug and the following week twenty people were off with the same illness).
Anti-stress initiatives are a good example of how untargeted initiatives fail to reach the right people. Sufferers of workplace stress are often disengaged, so its a challenge to get them to engage in wellbeing initiatives or counselling. Recent research from CV-Library, revealed a massive 63.5% of sufferers wouldn’t be honest about taking time off for stress or depression. Trigger points and a gentle return to work interview process can enable these employees to be identified and offered appropriate support at an early stage – that happens best when companies develop a workplace culture that does not stigmatise mental illness – and presenteeism can be tackled with home working.
Wellness initiatives are not just about tackling sickness, so much as managing all your resources, tackling cultural issues and responding to known challenges using every tool available.”
The full Aon Employee Benefits and Trends Survey can be downloaded here: http://insight.aon.com/UK_2015ARSFORM_BenefitsandTrendsSurvey2015