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Results of the 2021 Wellbeing Diagnostic survey Switzerland

Ambitious plans need great enablers

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By Indra Diederichs | June 24, 2021

Health, safety and wellbeing of employees has become a major focus area for many companies.

The COVID-19 pandemic caught the world off-guard and served as a wakeup call on various levels. Now, more than ever, the health, safety and wellbeing of employees has become a major focus area for many companies. Fragmented programs that are provided without an articulated wellbeing strategy, and that act as band aids for short-term concerns are no longer enough to address the changing needs and demographics of today’s employees. A proactive and holistic approach to wellbeing is required to produce a positive business outcome.

To better understand organisations’ approaches to Wellbeing in the workplace, Willis Towers Watson fielded the Wellbeing Diagnostic Survey in Europe between March and April 2021. A total of 206 employers shared their views representing the opinion of 1.3 M employees globally at responding organisations.

In Switzerland 51 employers from a diverse range of industries took part, representing the opinion of 431k global employees, with 90% of the participating employers operating in multiple countries (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Industries represented in the Swiss Employer Wellbeing Diagnostic Survey
Figure 1: Industries represented in the Swiss Employer Wellbeing Diagnostic Survey

Swiss employers seem to recognize the need for action. Whereas more than half of the participating organisations are saying that they offer various wellbeing programmes, they do not have a formally articulated strategy in place. This picture is expected to change dramatically, with an ambitious two third of the employers are planning on not only having a strategy in place, but to also use it to cater for the diverse needs of employees and as a differentiator to compete for talent in the next three years. When it comes to effectively executing a wellbeing programme, lack of internal resources, rising costs, and financial support are a challenge for companies to overcome.

Looking at current workforce problems, employers are citing stress and mental health issues as growing problems. Although previously recognized, both even seem to have increased in these unprecedented times.

Swiss employers continue to expand their offerings towards a holistic approach to address physical, emotional, financial and social aspects of wellbeing. Reacting to the top cited workforce problems, they put an increased emphasis on emotional wellbeing (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Priorities over the next three years

Note: Percentages indicate “Important” or “Very important”.

Source: 2021 Wellbeing Diagnostic Survey, Switzerland.

Figure 2: Priorities over the next three years

Developing an employee experience that is engaging and connects employees with diverse needs seems to be as important. Ideally, the employee should be served like a customer. Accordingly, a consumer-centric communication, and an enhanced physical and technological environment, will help to boost employee engagement in any wellbeing offering with an impact on an individual’s health.

Use of data and analytics continues to expand with a priority towards employee listening strategies to better understand employee needs. This seems to be very important to reveal any potential disconnect between the employers’ and employees’ view. The use of a variety of financial and non-financial measures remains low with opportunities to expand.

A demonstrated positive business impact, which has been reported by high wellbeing effectiveness respondents in the survey in terms of more productive employees, can help to secure leadership buy-in.

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, consulting practice showed that Switzerland clearly has some catching up to do in terms of wellbeing and employee health management. However, the results of the study are promising that this will change in the near future with the topic of wellbeing being on top of the employers’ mind.

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