Buck Bond Group

HR survey finds significant disconnect between employer and employee perceptions of wellbeing

Buck releases 2022 Wellbeing and Voluntary Benefits Report

NEW  YORK, January 17, 2022 – Buck, an integrated HR, pensions, and benefits consulting, technology, and administration services firm, today released findings from its 2022 Wellbeing and Voluntary Benefits Survey. This third biennial edition of the survey explores employee wellbeing and how U.S. employers rate the mental and emotional, financial, social, and physical health of their workforce. This edition’s research was supplemented with employee feedback.

The findings show a significant gap between employer and employee perceptions of wellbeing and areas in need of greater support. Employers rate the overall wellbeing of their workforce well above employee assessments, and employers are four times more likely than employees to view their organizations as having significantly increased their level of commitment to promoting employee wellbeing.

“Since the start of the pandemic, a majority of employers report they’ve boosted their wellbeing support after witnessing the struggles faced by employees,” said Tom Kelly, a Principal in Buck’s Health practice and co-author of the report. “It’s concerning, but maybe not surprising, that many employees still rate themselves as less than fully healthy when assessing their mental, social, physical, and financial health. And we found that 35% of employees are actively looking for a new job.”

Key survey findings:

  • Perception gap: 68% of employers say they have enhanced their wellbeing value proposition “as a result of the pandemic,” yet barely half (51%) of employees say, “My employer is more focused on my total wellbeing.”
  • Wellbeing gap: Employees rate their overall wellbeing lower than employers’ perceptions of their ratings in nearly all categories: Financial (-23%), social (-23%), physical (-17%), and mental (-14%).
  • Priorities gap: Both employers and employees cite mental wellbeing as a high priority, but employers consistently underrate financial wellbeing stressors, while employees’ rate this as a top concern. Overall, less than a third of employees view employer resources as helpful for meeting their top priorities.

According to the survey, employers are increasingly focused on mental health issues, prioritizing programs that address issues caused by stress, anxiety/depression, and burnout. Despite these efforts, 21% of employees indicate their mental health has worsened in the last year, and only 28% view existing employer mental health resources as “helpful.”

Looking ahead, employers plan to focus their investment in physical wellbeing initiatives (95%), but employees say what they need most are programs that support their financial wellbeing. Only 43% of employees rated themselves as “financially healthy”, against 66% of employers who think their workers are financially sound. More than half of employees feel they live paycheck to paycheck, and a third are unsure of how well they’re managing their money.

 “Benefits play a critical role in supporting workforce health and productivity and are increasingly becoming a deciding factor as employees consider alternate employment opportunities,” said Ruth Hunt, a Principal in Buck’s Engagement practice and co-author of the report. “We found that key drivers of employee retention include employees’ perceptions of their organization’s commitment to their overall wellbeing, diverse benefit options, and effective communications that raise awareness of their employer’s offerings. To continue to attract and retain top talent, it’s critical for employers to implement and promote programs that address whole-person wellbeing and substantively close the gap between management perceptions and employee realities.”

To download a copy of the Executive Summary, visit: https://content.buck.com/wvbsurveyreport

Survey methodology
Survey responses were collected from 218 employer participants and 683 employees in November 2021. Both the employer and employee samples are representative of large U.S. employers. The employer sample is representative of Bureau of Labor Statistics data in terms of number of employees, industry, annual revenue, entity type, global location, and regions of the U.S. The employee sample is representative in terms of gender, race, age, presence of children, marital status, role, and household income.

About Buck
Buck is an integrated HR, pensions, and employee benefits consulting, technology, and administration services firm. Founded more than 100 years ago as an actuarial consultancy, we’ve evolved to serve organizations and trustees across the health, wealth, and career spectrum.

With the ultimate goal of securing the futures of our clients’ employees and members, we develop tech-enabled programs that engage individuals and drive organizational performance. Our award-winning engagement solutions and people-first approach empower the world’s most forward-thinking organizations to protect the physical and financial wellbeing of their employees and members and improve how their people work and live. For more information, visit www.buck.com.

Media contact:
Lumina Communications for Buck
Michael Gallo