HRE’s number of the day: Focus on employee health

78: Percentage of human resources and benefits professionals who report that helping employees maintain their health and wellbeing was a significantly higher priority in 2020

Significantly more HR and benefits professionals are focusing on employee health and wellbeing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey of 300 benefits leaders at companies with 5,000 or more employees by Artemis Health, a data analytics company.

What it means to HR leaders

Health and wellbeing has always been a priority for HR leaders, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, it became more important than ever. Employers and HR leaders, often viewed as the gatekeepers of employee health, put in place new strategies and benefits to help keep employees healthy and safe in the midst of the pandemic. Scores of employers revamped their wellbeing programs, added new benefits and put a focus on employees’ mental health, which has significantly worsened due to the many COVID-associated challenges.

Related: Mayer: 7 benefit trends to watch in 2021

The Artemis survey also found that the number of benefits leaders who identified improving employee health as a top goal doubled from 2019 to 2020: 61% said their top employee benefit goal in 2020 was improving employee health and wellbeing, up from 36% in 2019. Other benefit priorities for the next 12 months include improving employee satisfaction and engagement (55%), increasing employee productivity (49%), and strengthening benefits cost management/containment (43%).

“Employers increasingly recognize the role they play in an employee’s physical and mental wellbeing,” says Grant Gordon, CEO and co-founder of Artemis Health, noting that many benefit leaders have focused on measuring the health impacts of the pandemic, such as stress, delayed care and increased telemedicine usage.

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.