While companies in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region are increasingly adopting a strategic approach to employee wellbeing, a recent survey suggests that there is still work to be done in terms of emotional wellbeing.
According to 2022-2023 Global Wellbeing Survey by global professional services firm Aon, 85 per cent of organisations in APAC now have a wellbeing strategy, and 77 per cent have integrated it into their overall business and talent strategy. However, when compared to other regions, the APAC region rated second lowest in terms of the percentage of employers incorporating emotional wellbeing into their company’s strategy (52 per cent).
The majority of participants also said that they have connected or integrated their wellbeing strategy with other parts of the company including health and safety (90 per cent); diversity, equity and inclusion (90 per cent); environmental, social and governance (87 per cent); and total rewards (83 per cent).
Furthermore, while 88 per cent of companies in APAC have at least one wellbeing initiative in place, there is a mismatch between what is offered and the issues that need to be addressed, indicating there is much work to be done.
Alan Oates, head of advisory and specialty for Health Solutions, APAC at Aon, said organisations must avoid implementing one-off individual wellbeing initiatives with no connection to a larger business plan. “Using data and analytics to identify employee needs and aligning interventions with those needs will ensure organisations make better decisions to improve wellbeing and overall workforce resilience.”
Mental health is top wellbeing issue
Mental health and burnout/languishing are the top two employee wellbeing issues in APAC. Burnout is defined as job-related stress that has not been managed, while languishing refers to a sense of being stuck and not making progress.
Although burnout is the second-most cited employee wellbeing issue, only 18 percent of companies incorporate this topic in their emotional wellbeing initiatives and only 24 percent train their managers on managing burnout.
Employee wellbeing crucial for enhancing company performance
There is a relationship between wellbeing and a sustainable working life, which can impact company performance. The higher an employer’s ratings for overall employee wellbeing and the higher the performance of wellbeing initiatives, the better their scores are in the areas that form a sustainable working life.
Improving employee wellbeing factors can enhance company performance by at least 11 per cent and up to 55 per cent, according to the survey.
Employee wellbeing gains importance and investment
Overall employee wellbeing ranked the highest in Asia Pacific (APAC) compared to other regions, with 49 per cent of companies describing it as excellent or very good, slightly higher than the global average (46 per cent).
This could be attributed to the growing importance of employee wellbeing for APAC organisations. Employee wellbeing ranked among the top three priorities for APAC businesses’ human capital strategy, with 67 per cent of employers in APAC saying wellbeing is more important to their company and 48 percent say it has increased in priority, compared to 2020.
Furthermore, 49 per cent of companies in APAC reported that they have increased their investment in wellbeing initiatives compared to 43 per cent globally. With 50 percent of organisations allocating 4 per cent or more of their overall benefits budget to wellbeing initiatives, funding allocation was the largest compared to other regions globally.
“An increasingly volatile business environment combined with evolving employee expectations exacerbated by COVID-19 requires that organisations change the way they think about building a resilient workforce. Understanding and addressing the diverse needs of employees through a well-designed wellbeing strategy will ensure businesses make better decisions that create a more flexible, engaged and resilient workforce,” said Tim Dwyer, chief executive officer for Health Solutions, APAC at Aon.
Aon conducted the survey of human resources and benefits leaders from more than 263 companies across 14 countries and sovereignties in Asia Pacific across multiple industries in collaboration with IPSOS, a global market research company, through August and November of 2022.