Covid has accelerated business focus on workplace wellbeing

June 24, 2021

In advance of Ibec’s KeepWell Virtual Summit today, the group that represents Irish business has published the results of a major survey of business which shows that Covid has catalysed the focus on workplace wellbeing. The survey findings also demonstrate that such initiatives are being embedded into the overall business strategies of organisations.  

Of the 242 HR professionals who responded, there was a very high level of support for wellbeing at senior leadership level in their organisations (81%). The findings of the survey also show that 44% of organisations have explicitly called out wellbeing in their overall business strategy in 2021, compared to 26% last year.  

Commenting on the findings, Sharon Higgins, Ibec Director of Director of Membership and Sectors, said: “In the new world of work that is emerging in the post-Covid landscape, attraction and retention of talent has never been so important. Mental and physical wellbeing initiatives will increasingly become a major factor in individuals’ decision on where they work. 

“It is encouraging to note from the survey findings that there is notable commitment from over three quarters (76%) of organisations to increase workplace wellbeing initiatives available to employees over the next 2 to 3 years. This highlights that, not only has Covid catalysed the focus of wellbeing in the business community, but that it is becoming an integral pillar within organisational culture. As our ways of working continue to evolve and businesses look towards their return to office strategies, line managers are key to promoting a workplace culture conducive to employee’s mental health and overall wellbeing. This is reflected in the fact that 74% of those surveyed expect an increased focus on management skills in managing employee mental health over the next 2 to 3 years.  

“While these findings reflect positive developments, more still needs to be done. Ibec’s survey found that only 40% of those companies engaging in wellbeing initiatives had formal evaluation systems in place to assess the impact of such programmes.”  

Findings of the survey include: 
65% of organisations had a dedicated team or individual responsible for wellbeing, versus 44% in 2020; 
65% of respondents had a wellbeing communications plan for employees, versus 44% in 2020; 
64% of respondents reported on wellbeing initiatives to senior management; 
46% had a specific budget for wellbeing initiatives, versus 27% in 2020; 
41% had a defined wellbeing strategy, versus 31% in 2020. 

Some of the initiatives least likely to be in place in respondent companies included: contributing to the cost of fertility treatment for employees (85%); providing supports for surrogacy (73%); providing for fertility leave for employees (69%); menopause information and support (55%); mental health apps (50%); mental health first aider training (49%); domestic abuse supports (45%); and, supports towards smoking cessation (42%).

Ibec Corporate Wellbeing Barometer 2021 pdf | 1766.9 kb