Seven out of 10 employees say they are not ‘resilient’ in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, according to new research.
This Aon survey, which covers employers across Europe, also found that four out of 10 employees say they do not currently feel they have job security.
Aon says employee resilience is based on three key measures: the employees’ sense of security, sense of belonging and ability to reach their potential. It adds that resilience in a work environment means people can better adapt to adverse situations, manage stress and retain motivation, enabling organisations to better manage change.
However, the report shows that targeted health and wellbeing initiatives can help create more resilient workforces. It found that while just 30 per cent of employees described themselves as resilient this figure tripled when employers adopt a well-rounded programme of support, which addresses physical, social, emotional, financial and professional needs.
Aon’s research found 15 per cent of employees are resilient within organisations that don’t offer health and wellbeing initiatives, 29 per cent are resilient if a partial health and wellbeing initiative is offered and 45 per cent of employees are resilient if they work for an employer that offers a broad health and wellbeing programme.
The report also showed that 40 per cent of UK employees say they are less likely to receive a broad wellbeing programme covering four to five elements of wellbeing, compared to 45 per cent of mainland Europe employees.
Adopting effective health and wellbeing strategies can help with employee retention. Aon said employees with poor resilience have 55 per cent lower engagement at work and are 42 per cent less likely to want to stay with their employer.
In the UK, 29 per cent of employees are resilient, and those with poor resilience have 59 per cent lower engagement and are 43 per cent less likely to want to stay with their employer.
Data for this report, The Rising Resilient was collected during March 2020 amidst the backdrop of the global coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, from survey participants in France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Aon said employers who do more for the health and wellbeing of their staff were more likely to take greater, and quicker actions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their workforce during the early weeks of Covid-19.
While most employers did something, those with pre-existing broad approaches to wellbeing did far more. At the most basic level, 34 per cent of organisations with no health and wellbeing programme encouraged their staff to work from home, compared to 48 per cent of organisations with some health and wellbeing initiatives, and 63 per cent for organisations with a broad programme.
Aon Health Solutions senior vice president and actuary Geoffrey Kuhn says: “While health and wellbeing have been discussed for a long time, the connection with workforce resilience was not front of mind. The Covid-19 pandemic has shone an intense spotlight on workforce resilience in a way we have never seen before; leaders are far more aware of the fragility and dependence on a healthy and financially well workforce.
“The research showed that despite health and wellbeing programmes being well-established with employers and being positively correlated with employee resilience, wellbeing programmes as they are implemented today often fail to lead to workforce resilience. Smart, strategic investment is more than good housekeeping; it is part of what makes a business thrive.”
Andrew Cunningham, chief commercial officer EMEA, Health Solutions, Aon, adds:
“While organisations might feel more exposed now, the reality is that workforces carry this risk all the time. People who do not prioritise their health and wellbeing may be more vulnerable to long-term illnesses (cancers, diabetes, heart disease), and in the case of Covid-19, greater impact of a new disease.
“Mental health illnesses like depression – which alone is estimated to cost the global economy north of $1 trillion1 have more recently been recognised but again, the pandemic has brought this into sharper focus. It almost seems implausible to think that convincing leaders to consider wellbeing as more than an exercise in compliance was ever a struggle. But it was; and for some, it still is.
“There were already many challenges facing business leaders. From potential damage to brand and reputation, to the ongoing complexity of talent acquisition, retention and development at a time of accelerated change – though many of these pale into insignificance compared to meeting the challenge of the global economic slowdown caused by Covid-19.”