Next year employers will invest more than ever in health and wellbeing for the people in their organisations.

Our 2014 health and wellbeing survey which we this month found that around two thirds of employers (65%) plan to increase the amount they spend in 2015 while 84% of the HR decision makers we surveyed said the organisation took the issue seriously.

This third edition of our research finds a substantial shift in how seriously organisations are taking the issue of employee health from 2012 when only 33% of organisations said they had a health and wellbeing strategy in their business.

Despite the progress there are still areas which are cause for concern.

The first of these is our finding that only just over a third of organisations (37%) say health and wellbeing is core to their people strategy. With mounting and compelling evidence from the likes of PWC showing the hard financial cost of absence and ill-health – valued at around £29bn per year in the UK as a whole – it is hard to understand why any employer would not see having fit and healthy people as a core HR objective.

It is perhaps this lack of strategic emphasis on wellbeing which is still stopping the issue being taken seriously by more employers and leads us to the second area of concern flagged up by the research. Here we found that progress on health and wellbeing is being blocked by indifference from senior managers and cultural indifference.

What this tells me is there is still a better job which can be done when it comes to framing the business case for health and wellbeing to those outside of HR.

A third area of concern is the extent to which organisations know how to tackle health and wellbeing effectively.

Our research found stress to be the top wellbeing issue for organisations to tackle. Despite this the majority of employers say they don’t target some of the leading causes of stress such as presenteeism (65%) and a similar number say they don’t give employees the tools to cope (64%) with the impact of pressure at work.

If the increased investment in health and wellbeing is to pay a dividend in the year ahead, there are two clear areas for action.

For the 38% of organisations who say their approach to wellbeing is either reactive or non-existent, focusing on a more proactive stance to employee health which identifies and addresses the common issues faced by their people is an absolute priority.

More broadly there is a need for all organisations to factor in the extent to which education and communication are critical success factors in creating a culture which values health and wellbeing – something which is vital for organisations to succeed in this area.

I am sales and marketing director at Edenred – you can read more of my blogs at  or follow me @andy_philpott