SMEs cite cost as 'main barrier' to wellbeing

people in office.jpg


For intermediaries only. 

Employers lack understanding of what wellbeing support is available, according to Health Shield.

Almost half (48%) of small-to-medium-sized employers (SMEs) say cost is the main barrier to them implementing broader health and wellbeing support, research by Health Shield has suggested.

This follows a recent survey by Aon that found that engaging employees with benefits is a top priority for 99% of companies, yet only 43% have a wellbeing strategy in place.

"There is a duty of care to provide such support. Moreover, business recovery post lockdown rests on having happy, healthy and engaged employees in place," said Jennie Doyle, head of marketing at Health Shield."And when you consider the amount SMEs spend on ad hoc rewards, it might be simply that support structured as a more tailored, sustainable and outcomes-focused programme is required."

According to GRiD, medium-sized companies (50-249 employees) spend £1,078.40 per employee per year on one-off rewards, such as celebrations and vouchers.

"It's concerning that there seems a lack of understanding by employers of what their wellbeing support could and should look like," added Doyle, as she suggested that a wellbeing proposition can cost from as little as £5.50 per employee a year to companies with just 50 employees.

Health Shield's Breeze proposition, for example, offers 24/7 access from any digital device direct self-care wellbeing services, such as a virtual GP, on-demand physio, health assessments, a mental health app (Thrive), counselling, alongside perks and rewards, she said.


The firm's recent research, which surveyed 1,033 employees and 515 employers, also found discrepancies between employer and employee views of existing wellbeing support, with 78% of employers thinking they are ‘effective' in ensuring employees know where to go to get support, while only 58% of employees agreed.

Also, almost 20% more employers (51%) than employees (33%) would give their support a top three rating (i.e. 8-10).

Doyle added:"The research results help show what happens when employers don't listen to their employees. They end up with a benefit programme that they think is totally fit for purpose but, in truth, they have no idea whether it really meets their employees' wants and needs. Consequently, employees don't value what's available to them."


This article was written by Adam Saville from Cover Magazine and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to