Wellbeing in times of uncertainty 

More than ever, employees report finding themselves facing personal and professional challenges that affect their wellbeing. What can responsible employers do to help?

Does employee wellbeing even matter? Absolutely! Here’s why wellbeing has become a critical aspect of HR people strategy agenda:
  1. The concerns of risk managers
    As shown in the Mercer People Risk report, nine out of ten risk managers consider employee health a serious risk to their business.
  2. The positive ROI
    More than one in three executives felt the pandemic served as a catalyst to realise the positive ROI in employee wellbeing, motivating them to continue investing in it. Total wellbeing ranks second (only to reskilling) in terms of delivering ROI.
  3. Executive accountability
    The increased number of executives who place employee health metrics on personal scorecards highlights a growing trend. This shift indicates executives are taking ownership of employee wellbeing. 
  4. Thriving employees
    Thriving employees, who experience a fulfilled sense of wellbeing, are seven times more likely to seek employment with companies that prioritise it. The evidence is clear that creating a supportive and healthy work environment will attract and retain top talent. 

The rise of total wellbeing in Employee Value Proposition.

Total wellbeing comprises emotional, physical, social, career and financial elements of the workplace experience. Although it is encouraging that companies have plans to promote long-term employee total wellbeing, the Global Talent Trends report shows that only 36% are specifically addressing the mental and emotional aspects. This highlights the importance of understanding employees’ comprehensive needs and underscores the growing significance of holistic employee wellbeing in the face of continuous existential challenges.

Mercer’s Inside Employees Minds Study reveals that employee priorities are changing. Employees are placing greater emphasis on securing their financial, physical and emotional health. By fostering a workplace culture that prioritises these needs, employers can create an environment where employees can thrive. A supportive and inclusive workplace culture leads to better performance — for both employees and the company.

A representation of a total wellbeing strategy

A visual representation of a total wellbeing strategy, which consists of five main areas - Physical, Career, Social, Emotional, and Financial factors. 

The power of listening culture

To gauge the support employees are receiving, it is crucial to foster a listening culture. Surveys, focus groups and conjoint analysis are good places to start. Benchmarks can also be valuable in this process. 

Norms data like Mercer’s can serve as a reliable resource for comparison. These data unveil valuable insights into employee perceptions and emotions concerning key challenges, including wellbeing.

World-leading benchmarks to compare against client competitors

Our normative external benchmark database includes benchmarks 275+ items and can be split by geography, year, employee demographics & organisation characteristics. 
This chart is unable to display due to Privacy Settings.
The chart could not be loaded because the Privacy Settings are disabled. Under the "Manage Cookies" option in the footer, accept the “Functional cookies” and refresh the page to allow the chart to display.

Our Global database includes clients from various sectors..

8 million

 data points





Wellbeing and organisational impact

UK employee perceptions show that organisations can do far more to encourage a healthy, rewarding and desirable working environment. Employees are also looking for support during moments that matter. UK (and European) employees in particular feel less energised and enthusiastic at work.1 These observations convey a message to organisations: If you want to enhance efficiency and productivity, prioritising support for your workforce, especially during these challenging times, is critical. 

Insights into excessive workloads reveal an impact not only on employees but also on managers, leading to burnout and work-life balance issues. Addressing these concerns is crucial if you want to reduce attrition, mitigate job insecurity, encourage citizenship behaviours and retain skilled talent.

Taking care of employee well-being to avoid burnout

This chart is unable to display due to Privacy Settings.
The chart could not be loaded because the Privacy Settings are disabled. Under the "Manage Cookies" option in the footer, accept the “Functional cookies” and refresh the page to allow the chart to display.
A bar graph representation of employee responses about their organisations approach to wellbeing to avoid burnout.

Driving engagement through wellbeing

Key driver analysis helps identify attributes that best predict employee engagement and allows leaders to target the right actions for improvement. 

Mercer’s research demonstrates that organisations displaying a genuine interest in employee wellbeing have a positive influence on one key employee engagement driver — employees’ perceptions of reaching their full potential within the company. These findings highlight the value of prioritising wellbeing initiatives.  

How can organisations deliver on total wellbeing?

To start with, ensure that your total wellbeing strategy covers physical, mental, career, social and financial aspects. The five steps below can help elevate and improve wellbeing within your organisation:
  1. Tune in with listening techniques
    Understanding what employees need can’t be achieved without listening to them. Methods such as surveys, digital focus groups, in-person interviews and manager training can capture valuable data.
  2. Know where you are on the wellbeing metrics
    Measure how your employees use benefits and health and wellbeing programs. Then assess absenteeism, office usage, claims ratios, etc.
  3. Use nudge techniques to maximise take-up
    Nudge techniques can be used to encourage auto-enrolment, promote team activities, manage default settings, and prompt AI to report on behaviour. Nudges can work well when tied to a timely moment; for example, highlighting employee wellbeing benefits during Mental Health Awareness Week or benefits fairs. 
  4. Know what metrics you need
    Metrics such as recruitment success, retention, engagement, absenteeism, exit interviews, fair financial outcomes for all and productivity will help you to assess your progress with total wellbeing at work accurately. 
  5. Communicate outcomes with all stakeholders
    Apart from newsletters, intranets, social media and corporate leadership messages, promoting success based on what can be measured and proved for various demographic groups will reinforce what is working. It will also help to ensure fair and equitable benefits offerings for employees. 

By including employee wellbeing in the HR people strategy, organisations not only acknowledge the value of their employees’ presence but also help them regain their stability and thrive. In addition, a focus on wellbeing creates an environment in which individuals can flourish and contribute to the success of the organisation. It’s time to build a workplace that prioritises and nurtures the wellbeing of your most valuable asset — your employees.

If you would like to understand what drives engagement for your employees and how they view their wellbeing, get in touch to explore further. 


1 Mercer’s UK engagement survey norms, covering more than 240,000 employees from over 230 separate survey projects, across multiple sectors.
2 Mercer's Total Wellbeing diagnostic survey

Marta Sikorska
Related solutions
Related insights
Related Case Studies
Related products for purchase