A Powerful Way to Improve Engagement Hidden Within Your Culture

A culture of holistic wellbeing is a boon for business.
By: | December 12, 2018 • 2 min read

Forty percent of global employers feel they’ve achieved a culture of wellbeing, according to a recent survey from HR and benefits consulting, administration and technology services provider Buck. A majority aspire to achieve a culture of wellbeing (81 percent) and only 10 percent said they don’t see any value in investing in wellbeing.

The annual survey, now in it’s 12th year, explores trends in employer-sponsored wellbeing programs, which initially focused on physical health. In the 2016 survey, Buck included financial wellness as a scope of employee wellbeing. The 252 respondents from this year’s study represented 5.22 million employees across 56 countries.


“Our survey results confirm that supporting employee wellbeing holistically is much more than a ‘nice to do’–it’s a core, competitive business need,” said Ruth Hunt, a principal in Buck’s engagement practice. “Our findings demonstrate that a failure to creatively invest in employee wellbeing can result in many adverse consequences for the success and sustainability of a business.”

The top three objectives for 2018 wellbeing strategies were improving employee engagement (84 percent), improving performance and productivity (83 percent) and attracting and retaining employees (75 percent). To reach these goals, there has been a concerted effort to improve physical, emotional and financial health. Globally, the top six areas targeted for improvement were: stress (95 percent), physical activity/exercise (95 percent), nutrition/healthy eating (94 percent), work/life issues (94 percent), obesity/weight management (93 percent) and depression/anxiety (93 percent).

For more than 10 years, physical health has received the most attention in global wellbeing strategies and it continues to be a source of focus. The top six current health offerings include EAPs (86 percent), biometric health screenings (74 percent) flexible-work policies (71 percent) on-site immunizations (69 percent) health-risk appraisals (69 percent) and tobacco-free workplaces (69 percent). The top five future health offerings include workplace health challenges or competitions (62 percent), stress-management or resilience-building programs (60 percent), workplace environment improvements (58 percent), online courses and training for healthy lifestyles (57 percent) and web or mobile decision-support tools (52 percent).

Financial priorities have also become an employer focus, the top three for 2018 were financial instability/inadequate financial protection (84 percent), financial distress (83 percent) and inability to retire (72 percent). As part of their ongoing wellbeing strategies, employers plan to expand their focus beyond physical health to include financial literacy and skills (22 percent), retirement and financial security preparedness (21 percent) and social connectedness (19 percent).