SOME 76% of Philippine employers plan to adjust their benefit programs in response to workplace changes caused by the pandemic, balancing the need for wellness programs to support workers against their cost containment imperatives.

“Employers are under increasing pressure to manage their benefit costs while at the same time finding new ways to support their employees’ overall wellbeing,” Head of Health and Benefits at Willis Towers Watson (WTW) Philippines Susan La Chica said in a statement Thursday.

Of the 154 employers surveyed, 50% said their benefit packages address the individual needs of the workforce, 32% offered flexibility and choice in benefits, and 60% believe that their current benefits are competitive.

However, 80% of the employers said they see the need to integrate employee wellbeing into their benefit packages over the next two years. Specifically, 86% said they will prioritize emotional wellbeing, followed by physical wellbeing with 76%, and social wellbeing 73%. 

“Employees’ stress, burnout and mental health issues exacerbated by the pandemic continue to be the main workforce concern of employers,” Medical Director and Head of Business Development at WTW Philippines Demosthenes Villarin, Jr. said.

“Fostering employee wellbeing and resilience, therefore remains a top employer priority for the foreseeable future,” he added.

Another wellbeing study conducted by WTW also indicates that organizations are starting to focus on wellbeing as a key management issue.

In that study, 47% said they plan to promote physical wellbeing by using virtual care applications, 61% will focus on emotional wellbeing by assessing employee stress levels, 45% plan to help employees in financial difficulty, and 36% plan to develop inclusion and diversity policies to enhance social wellbeing.

The WTW survey on employee benefits was conducted in May and June 2021 involving employers with 646,000 employees. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago