19 December 2023

High costs greatest barrier to offering health and wellbeing support for one-third of companies

As companies are putting in place their health and wellbeing programmes for 2024, Towergate Health & Protection has today released research which will assist with the planning process. It shows that one-third (33%) of companies agree that high costs are the greatest barrier to offering better health and wellbeing support.

Debra Clark, head of wellbeing at Towergate Health & Protection, says: “Looking after employees must be a priority for 2024 and it is short-sighted to minimise health and wellbeing support to save costs. While costs were the main obstacle stated by companies, offering health and wellbeing support does not need to be expensive, there are many low-cost and value-for-money options now available.”

A problem of size

The next main barrier to offering better health and wellbeing support was having too few employees to make it worthwhile or cost effective, stated by one-fifth (20%) of companies. However, arguably, it is even more important for smaller companies to have robust support as absences can have an even bigger impact, with fewer colleagues to cover the workload. It is also worth noting that health and wellbeing options are available to support every size of company.

Administration issues

Time spent administrating health and wellbeing support is stated as a barrier by 19% of companies, but this is possibly more down to a lack of knowledge of the options available as there are now online benefits platforms that make the process quick and straightforward. These can pull together the different offerings from a number of providers, a process that would otherwise be time-consuming and complex. They can even deliver automated communications adapted to the specific needs of the workforce demographic.

The rewards outweighing the issues

Asked about the main advantages in offering health and wellbeing support to employees, the most popular answer, stated by 37% of companies, was that it increases staff loyalty. Increasing staff retention was the main reason given by 35% of employers, and 34% stated it boosts productivity. Nearly a third, 30% said health and wellbeing support increases engagement, while a quarter (25%) said it reduces absenteeism and one-fifth (20%) said it supports recruitment.

These, along with the 34% who simply think ‘it is the right thing to do’ and 26% who said it aligns with their culture and values, all give a very powerful argument for the positives of health and wellbeing support far outweighing any time and cost concerns.

Benefits in context

“While there are of course cost and time implications involved in offering the best possible, and most appropriate, health and wellbeing support programme, it is important that these are seen in context with the huge advantages to be gained,” says Debra Clark.


Research carried out on behalf of Towergate Health & Protection by Opinium among 500 HR decision makers, between 9 and 13 January 2023.