During the COVID-19 pandemic, one topic has been front and center in the minds of many employers — the mental health and wellbeing of their employees. As a result, the future of work is going to be flexible as employers continue to focus on the building of a resilient workforce.

In a recent episode of the On Aon podcast, Stephanie Pronk, Senior Vice President for Health Solutions at Aon, discussed lessons learned about employee wellbeing, and the links to business performance and how the findings from the 2021 Global Wellbeing Survey can help organizations build their own wellbeing strategies.

Q: How does employee wellbeing affect company performance?

We wanted to answer this question specifically with our 2021 Global Wellbeing Survey. We asked more than 1,600 organizations across 41 countries about their wellbeing successes and opportunities. We asked companies to identify what metrics they used for all business success, how they measured their wellbeing programs and how they performed relative to expectations. We took all of those survey responses, and we ran it through predictive analytics with our survey partner, Ipsos, a global research firm.

Through this process, we were able to show that organizations that had achieved their wellbeing measures of success were more likely to achieve success in the areas of customer satisfaction and retention, employee satisfaction and profit as well as decreases in turnover. Plus, we found that with leadership support, and a strategy in place, there was high wellbeing performance that led to business outcomes.

Q: What kind of strategy should companies put in place to ensure employee wellbeing?

Wellbeing is more than a program. It’s a people and performance strategy, and organizations are starting to think about that differently. To ensure that’s happening, we have to start with data. That data and information need to come from a variety of different sources. It needs to come from qualitative and quantitative data. We need to hear from employees. We need to hear from leadership. When we have all that information, then we can move on to developing a strategy.

I think many times today, because of the wellbeing environment that we have, organizations and individuals think, “If we just put in a wellbeing vendor, then we have everything taken care of.” What we found in the survey results is that you really need to have that wellbeing strategy that’s connected to leadership, that’s connected to performance, and ultimately, outcomes.

Q: How do you see the pandemic affecting wellbeing at work?

Employers were really starting to look at the impact of emotional wellbeing and mental health on the workforce prior to last year. The pandemic has exacerbated the whole issue. Because every single one of us, at some point during the pandemic, really needed emotional or mental health support. So, with that, the industry really stepped up. We saw counselling being done by video, which had never been done before in the U.S. We saw all sorts of vendors coming up to support resilience, supporting different ways of being able to deal with everyday situations that, all of a sudden, were becoming major issues for people, because they were isolated at home, or because they couldn’t go about their normal routines.

Additionally, through the last year of remote work, we learned that we don’t have to get on an airplane all the time to go visit with clients. We also learned that we miss live, one-on-one interaction. We’ve found that we can be flexible, and we can be resilient in different situations. I think that’s going to be something that’s going to be incredibly important to remember.

For more on wellbeing strategies, listen to the full On Aon Podcast with Stephanie Pronk and read the 2021 Global Wellbeing Survey.

Stephanie Pronk
Senior Vice President for Health Solutions at Aon