- A new Aon Hewitt survey shows that 54% of employees report higher stress levels, up five points from last year, as reported by Employee Benefit News.
- The 2017 National Business Group on Health/Aon Hewitt Consumer Health Mindset Survey also shows that understanding and being able to afford healthcare is a major stressor for employees.
- Speaking in Washington, D.C., at the National Business Group on Health’s annual meeting, Joann Hall Swenson, an Aon Hewitt partner, said employers must assess their work environments to address stressors affecting workers. Swenson also advised training managers to identify subtle signs of trouble.
This survey is a wake-up call for employers who aren’t aware of workers’ abnormally high stress levels as of late. Employees often experience stress in silence while at work, but the outcomes, which could include chronic absenteeism, lateness and/or a lack of productivity, spill over into the workplace.
The high cost of healthcare as a major stressor is no surprise. One survey showed that nearly half (48%) of employee respondents said making health insurance decisions is "always stressful" for them.
A combination of that psychological toll with a lack of affordability in healthcare explains why some workers elect to have bare-bones coverage that bypasses essentials like dental and eye care, or forgo healthcare insurance entirely.
In another survey, 95% of employees said they preferred to select their own health plans rather than have their employer make the selection. But employers should be available to help with plan selection when needed. HR has an obvious incentive to make employees advocates for their healthcare through proper education and wellness coaching, among other strategies.