Employers prioritised employee mental health and communications as a result of COVID-19

According to Aon’s UK Benefits & Trends Survey, 86% of employers said they prioritised employee communications as a result of the pandemic. In addition, 71% of employers said they now conduct research among their employees to understand their needs, an increase of 9% on last year.

A majority of employers (92%) indicated a focus on mental health. Since the impact of COVID-19, 87% of respondents said they are focusing on wellbeing for homeworking, 83% on general wellbeing and 68% on emotional support. Over half (56%) have targeted their wellbeing initiatives to improve employee resilience.

When it comes to physical health, 66% of employers now provide a digital GP service, either available to staff on a voluntary or flexible basis (12%), fully company funded to all staff (40%) or fully funded to some staff (14%). Less than half (48%) provided this benefit in 2020.

The number of respondents who said that value-added services such as Employee Assistance Programmes, rehabilitation support and educational content are now very important to them and a key part of their strategy has increased 14%, from 31% in 2020 to 45% in 2021.

The pandemic also impacted employers’ views on their Employee Value Propositions (EVP), with 41% stating they are being re-evaluated. Additionally, 28% said they have a clear EVP, up from 23% last year, while 43% planned to develop one this year. There has also been positive movement in the number of organisations that explain their EVP to employees; two years ago, approximately one third of respondents did not communicate their EVP, but now this figure has fallen to just 14%. According to respondents, the benefits of having an EVP are increasingly clear: 87% said it has a positive impact on recruitment, 85% reported a positive impact on employee engagement and78% said it improved retention.

Download the Aon UK Benefits and Trend Survey 2021 here.