Asset management firms will prioritise employee wellbeing in 2022 says Howden

Asset management firms will place greater focus on employee wellbeing in 2022, in response to the pandemic, says Robbie Weston, Executive Director, Asset Management and Legal at Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing.

Robbie says, “Covid-19 has prompted asset management firms to review their employee benefits to check they are still fit for purpose in light of the challenges health and mental wellbeing challenges some employees have faced. We will see firms putting rich programmes and benefits in place focussed on wellbeing.

“Firms are increasingly identifying areas of concern and looking at new solutions to support wellbeing. The sector already spends more than other sectors on benefits and reward, but we expect these will become more tailored to address different aspects of wellbeing, such as mental health.”

Howden’s 2021 benchmarking survey[i] amongst 160 asset management firms highlighted a major disconnect between the high value insurance products provided to employees in the sector and the fact most firms do not have a formal wellbeing strategy in place.

The research found that asset management firms typically offer a rich range of employee benefits with highly valued benefits such as Private Medical Insurance (PMI) included in most packages.

The top three benefits were PMI – offered by 99% of firms, life Insurance (88%) and income protection (73%). Other popular benefits were Cycle to Work schemes (59%), dental insurance (43%) and critical illness cover (36%).

However, Howden reports that 88% have no formal wellbeing strategy in place, with over a third (35%) saying they plan to address this and create a wellbeing strategy in the next twelve months. Employee mental health and building resilience were identified as the key priorities.

Robbie says, “Firms recognise the impact the pandemic has had on their employees’ mental health, and many plan to take a more preventative approach to support mental health. Whilst some firms do offer mental health support through Employee Assistance Programmes these services are typically underutilised, but we believe this will change.”

“Technology will play a big role in benefits delivery in 2022. A growing number of asset management firms are already looking at how technology can better deliver and communicate the benefits they offer.”

“As the market for wellbeing has grown up, we will see companies centralise their wellbeing initiatives into more mature and technology-enabled strategies. And, with so many wellbeing services and initiatives provided by most employers nowadays, rationalising them into one approach will be key to driving engagement and ensuring employees use what’s available to them.”

Robbie concludes, “There is now a huge opportunity for asset management firms to do something different and put employee wellbeing firmly on their corporate agenda. The industry clearly invests a lot on benefits, but it’s time to shift priorities in recognition of the greater need for wellbeing support after the upheaval of the past two years.’’

“Economic uncertainty and labour shortages have meant recruitment and retention pressures are at their highest for a long time. Having a dedicated wellbeing strategy that matches the needs of the workforce is no longer a nice to have, it’s essential.”

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