The proportion of organisations now focusing on employee wellbeing as a means of tackling sickness absence has soared over the past year, according to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
The CIPD annual absence management survey of more than 800 organisations revealed that 42% of organisations had implemented a wellbeing strategy, compared to just 26% the previous year.
The strategy has been prompted by an increase in the average annual level of absence, which climbed to 8.4 days per employee a year, from eight days the previous year.
The survey findings indicate that 60% of organisations in the public sector now have a wellbeing strategy, compared to 42% last year. The private sector has also seen a rise – up to 37% from 22% the previous year.
On average, organisations spend 5.4% of their paybill on employee wellbeing benefits, and 42% of organisations indicated this will increase further during 2008.
Ben Willmott, CIPD employee relations adviser, said: “The report shows employers are increasingly recognising the benefits that that can be gained by supporting employee wellbeing.
“It is becoming more and more evident that organisations are starting to manage employee health rather than sickness, not as a standalone wellbeing strategy but as an integral part of an overall wellbeing programme.”
Wellbeing initiatives included counselling services, employee assistance programmes and ‘stop smoking’ support.