Poor data and skills hampering ability of employers to evaluate wellbeing

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Employers are being hampered in their ability to assess the effectiveness of wellbeing initiatives by a lack of good quality data and data analytics expertise, despite almost all organisations now using some form of management information to evaluate their programmes.

This is according to the Reward and Benefits Association (REBA), which found that 92% of organisation are using management information to assess the effectiveness of their employee wellbeing initiatives, up from 74% in 2019.

However, the limited availability of (49%) and poor quality of data (43%) were hindering employers’ ability to assess their effectiveness properly. Thirty-six per cent also lacked a suitable data collection method, 31% did not have the necessarily analytics platforms and 25% lacked data analytics expertise.

REBA director Debi O’Donovan said: “The Covid-19 crisis has reinforced the message that to be sustainable, an organisation needs to be innovative and resilient. That can only happen with a good culture and positive employee experience. Wellbeing is at the core of achieving this.

“Given the vital role wellbeing plays in reshaping work and jobs, it is not a surprise that measuring effectiveness is receiving greater focus. However, most employers are still using proxy figures, such as employee engagement, rather than attempting to see shifts at a strategic business level.

“It’s also important to measure and re-visit risks, such as business finances or workforce planning, alongside population data such as measures of employees’ mental health.”

REBA’s Employee wellbeing research 2020, found 76% of organisations reported on wellbeing metrics, up from 67% in 2019. However, the majority kept this data in-house and did not make it available in their annual reports.

Mental health remained a top priority for firms, with 89% stating that it was their boardrooms’ first (67%) or second (22%) employee wellbeing concern. Seventy-eight per cent intended to introduce mental health/resilience workshops in 2020 or beyond.

Physical wellbeing was in the top two concerns for 69% of employers, while 25% said the same for financial wellbeing.

Half (51%) of organisations had a wellbeing programme that covered all staff, up from 25% of firms in 2019.

Soraya Chamberlain, director, corporate at AXA PPP Healthcare, which supported the report, said: “The direction of workplace wellbeing travel is good. It’s heartening that the vast majority of employers are attempting to measure the effectiveness of their initiatives. Likewise their commitment to integrating their organisations’ wellbeing and health insurance benefits.

“But, to better evidence progress, we need to address some significant issues around data availability, quality and analytics. Thankfully, they’re not insurmountable and with the right resources, insight and determination, more effective wellbeing strategies are within reach.”

The research involved 309 wellbeing, HR and employee benefits specialists working at organisations of various sizes (86% of which had 250+ employees).

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