- In a series of recent surveys, workers emphasized their desire for a variety of wellness benefits. Eighty percent of respondents to a survey by research agency Opinium said they would feel more supported if their employer were to sponsor wellness, according to findings the firm sent to HR Dive. Generation Z and millennials showed the most interest.
- Respondents showed the most interest in sponsored gym memberships, with 65% stating they would use the benefit. Fifty-six percent said they would use a monthly wellness stipend, 46% said they would participate in mindfulness sessions and 36% said they’d consider using a yoga membership. Parents showed a particular interest in programs centered around mindfulness, meditation and mental well-being.
- The findings from Opinium are reflected in surveys recently conducted by two companies that focus on wellness, Gympass and Calm. Gympass’ survey of almost 9,000 workers found that well-being benefits may be a retention strategy, with 85% of respondents reporting they’d be more likely to stay in their role if their company focused more on well-being. And Calm, according to results sent to HR Dive, found that the need for well-being benefits is especially acute among families and LGBTQ, Hispanic and neurodivergent employees.
Employee well-being has been a top focus for benefits professionals since shortly after the pandemic began. Not only has it been a strategy for retention, as Gympass found, but it has also been used to attract new talent — especially in the wake of the Great Resignation. Last summer, 80% of employees responding to an American Psychological Association survey said an employer’s approach to mental health would be “an important consideration” when job hunting, showing they were on the lookout for a thoughtful strategy.
Executing on effective wellness benefits has been more complicated. Roughly a year ago, about half of employers responding to a WTW survey told the agency they didn’t have a formally articulated well-being strategy, responding instead to different issues — such as behavioral health and financial well-being — at different paces. A WTW spokesperson at the time highlighted the common strategy of using financial rewards to encourage certain behaviors, noting that this often fails to move the needle.
Yet another survey from the month prior backed that statement up; 42% of workers with access to mental health benefits said they had not used them, with those who were nonetheless interested saying they didn’t know how to access them, or that they were worried about confidentiality or cost.
Workers may want wellness benefits — and employers may provide them — but part of the equation, experts have emphasized, is designing workplace culture and the workday to provide employees the breathing room to appropriately deal with demands like caregiving. This means remaining (or becoming) committed to flexible work arrangements and allowing remote or hybrid work.
When it comes to concrete wellness benefits, options like wellness stipends and subsidized or free gym memberships or class passes — those that have few barriers to use and can be used in a discreet manner — appear to be popular, as Opinium’s survey demonstrates. Some employers have also explored creative, specialized options like connecting employees with special needs’ children to subsidized caregiving solutions or committing to a companywide week off annually.