• Jane Fordham

Employee Wellbeing - 2018 Top 10 Trends

One thing's for certain: in 2018, employee wellbeing programmes will continue to evolve and extend around the world. But what comes in 2019 and beyond? What can enlightened, future-thinking organisations set in motion now to help their staff, and ultimately themselves? I tuned into a Virgin Pulse Science Advisory Board webinar in the New Year to find out.

This group of leading global researchers and scholars, work alongside industry analysts and thought leaders to advance the fields of occupational health, wellbeing, and behaviour change. The predictions that follow are not my words however I am largely supportive of their sentiment and they certainly provide food for thought for those of us keen to make meaningful, positive change in this area. Enjoy!

1.      ‘Wellbeing’ will become the pre-eminent umbrella term as employers seek to better address the physical, financial and emotional needs of employees. This also covers career development, workplace design, recognition, L&D and retention. There has been a surge in investment in ‘wellbeing’ which looks set to continue this year.

2.      (Susan David) Workplaces will become more aware of the relationship between emotional health and important organisational metrics like employee engagement, culture, productivity and talent retention. £6.5 billion is the annual UK cost of absence related to poor mental health. Sir Richard Branson says, ‘Look after your employees and they will look after your business.’

3.      (Wolf Kirsten) Employers globally will place greater emphasis on emotional wellbeing and the happiness of their employees and focus on creating positive and enabling work environments. The World Health Organisation says, ‘mental (ill) health is the epidemic of our time.’

4.      (Shawn Achor) There will be a dramatic shift away from decades of attempting to pursue happiness & health individually and conceiving of success as zero sum to instead pursuing happiness with others, creating interconnected success and wellbeing whereby we all shine brighter together. Happiness is contagious! Happiness and success are collective.

5.      (Ron Goetzel) Data, evidence and statistics delivered by credible sources will assume a greater importance, moving away from the echo chamber and fake news of mass social media.

6.      (Steve Boese) For employee wellbeing and HR technology in general, AI will power programmes that offer greater insights, personalisation, rapid response to employees and increased value to organisations.

7.      (Sophie Wade) Career development & wellbeing will become more closely intertwined. 57% of millennials say wellbeing is important to them, 87% say career development is important to them at work. Successful organisations should combine the two.

8.      (Dr David Batman) Businesses will focus on health and talent development for both senior management and, millennials, the generation that is taking all aspects of their health most seriously. Millennials will be pivotal in fostering healthy changes in business culture. They are ‘living the wellbeing dream’, they will challenge employers and make choices based on their wellbeing philosophy.

9.      (Dr David Batman) The global spotlight on sexual harassment and gender disparities in the workplace and the need for diversity, will inspire a massive (and overdue) focus on how HR can better meet the needs of women in the workplace. HBR study found that 43% of college educated working women in the US left the workplace ‘voluntarily’ after starting a family.

10.  (Dr David Batman) Talent teams implementing employee wellbeing programmes will need to take care to work with vendors that fully understand GDPR and its implications. 


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Jane Fordham Consulting

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GU24 8JE​

Tel: 07500 725102


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