The biggest issue for SA companies: keeping employees productive

Insurance company Aon has released its Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Health Survey for 2018, covering more than 900 employers across the region, including 25 industries and 2.7 million employees.

The aim of the survey is to identify the key health issues employers are facing as they develop their people risk strategies, including the opportunities and challenges.

The overall survey results (which included respondents from the middle-east, Russia, and several African countries) found that attracting and retaining talent is the top HR issue across the region, overtaking increasing productivity and employee performance, which has dropped to the number three concern since the last survey in 2016.

Improving engagement and morale was the second highest ranked concern, while 65% of companies named stress and mental health issues as the biggest wellness issue they face.

“This survey demonstrates that attracting and retaining talent is the top HR issue at the moment and it is positive that so many employers say they recognise the link between good employee health, performance and engagement,”said Andrew Cunningham, commercial leader EMEA at Aon.

“However, the data also suggests that in reality employers really need to challenge themselves around whether they are doing enough to protect the health and wellbeing of their top assets. It is time to shift from positive intentions to measured investment, changing communication strategies to better support employees.”

South Africa

South Africa was a stand-out in some categories. Notably, increasing productivity and employee performance was the biggest HR challenge for local companies in 2018 – with over 69% of companies naming it as the department’s number one priority.

This was followed by improving employee engagement and morale (59%), and attracting talent and retaining talent (50%).

When it comes to organisational health and wellness issues today, South African companies said that stress and mental health issues were still the biggest concern (72%), followed by financial health (60%), and unhealthy employee lifestyles (50%).


Other major findings of the survey include:

  • 100% of South African employers recognise the employer’s role in health  at least to an extent that employers are responsible for influencing employee health and changing behaviours.
  • 81%  of South African employers say that budget is by far the biggest barrier to health programme implementation
  • 63% of South African employers now have a specific budget for health initiatives a huge leap from 26% in 2016.
  • 17% of South African employers have emotional/psychological programmes
  • 23% of South African employers have programmes relating to the physical or work environment
  • 26% of South African employers have social programmes
  • 26% of South African employers have financial programmes

Read: Four questions to ask to impress at your next job interview

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The biggest issue for SA companies: keeping employees productive