Under-resourced wellbeing strategies likely to fail, says Deloitte report

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Bikes, bananas and one-off events don’t cut it anymore when it comes to wellbeing, states a new report from Deloitte which says that wellbeing needs investment and a strategy.

While only three per cent of directors and risk practitioners said they haven’t considered employee wellbeing in their organisation, 15 per cent of practitioners and over 10 per cent of directors said there is no dedicated resource for wellbeing.

Further, as many as two in five businesses have either cut wellbeing budgets or left them unchanged despite growing pressures on their people at work and at home.

Findings were based on a survey sent by Institute of Directors and IIRSM to their members comprising more than 30,000 directors and risk management practitioners. The analysis was carried out by Deloitte and published in November in the report titled the Future of Wellbeing.

When wellbeing falls onto the shoulders of line managers, it can cause additional stress to those individuals, found Deloitte. Photograph: iStock

When wellbeing is not properly resourced it is “more likely to fall by the wayside”, write authors at Deloitte.

“On the surface, it’s reassuring to see a top-down approach to wellbeing within organisations, where leadership pushes the agenda forward, and then successively delivered by line managers and heads of function.

“However, this overlooks additional evidence that sometimes there is no dedicated resource (indicated by 15.3 per cent of practitioners and 10.97 per cent of directors) and responsibility is subsumed into the existing roles of individuals (i.e., line managers and heads of function), on top of their day jobs. As a result, wellbeing is more likely to fall by the wayside and to cause additional stress to the individuals who are responsible for the stress of others.”

For example, safety professionals may focus on safety management and HR on recruitment, which could be in complete isolation to each other. “If organisations are serious about creating a workplace in which people can thrive, wellbeing cannot be an afterthought,” write James Lewis, Ryan Hopkins, Lauren Drabwell and Liam Standfield at the People Risk Practice at Deloitte.

The report was titled The Future of Wellbeing 2022: insights from risk managers at the frontline. It set out to ask: how well is wellbeing both understood and delivered in the workplace? How do we measure it and where does it belong?

It found that wellbeing approaches are “very reactive”. “Interventions need to address root causes like poor job design and lack of autonomy and be proactive, rather than providing ‘bikes and bananas’ (cycle to work schemes and fresh fruit in the kitchen),” it says. “These have a place but are not preventative measures.”

The Future of Wellbeing report here


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