Newly released research from corporate wellbeing specialists HCML shows that organisations do not understand the different gender drivers affecting wellbeing in the workplace and this is having a profound impact on the health of their businesses.

The research shows that 41% of women want to feel supported and cared for as an individual by their employer, while 40% of men want support from their employer to help improve their productivity at work. Observing the different gender drivers for health and wellbeing in the workplace will support employees according to need and boost productivity.

Looking at the different gender drivers in conjunction with age data when considering workplace health and wellbeing initiatives, has a greater worth to the business as well as the workforce. Gender psychology and challenges differ within the workplace and if employees do not feel understood, supported and cared for by their employers, they are less likely to stay in their roles and with the company. Therefore, not addressing gender drivers in relation to mental well-being is costing businesses disproportionately when it comes to staff satisfaction, productivity and turnover.

The figures showed that 52% of employees felt they needed more support from their employer to improve their health and wellbeing. However, the gender split was clear when the participants were asked to define how they felt their employer could support their health and wellbeing in particular.

Pamela Gellatly, Strategic Development Director, HCML says: ”The data showed us that women want better support and care from their employers, while men want to feel more productive. Our independent research, alongside our existing HCML corporate healthcare data, shows us that gender drivers must be understood in conjunction with age and in relation to workplace absence if benefits are to be utilised and effective.

“Interestingly our research also showed that female employees are more likely to be proactive in improving their health through the use of company benefits than men. We know that the utilisation of employee assistance programmes is low, but by offering the right type of support, and encouraging employees to use them, it can improve overall staff wellbeing and result in less days off sick.

When asked, 41.30% of female employees say they want benefits that make them feel supported and cared for as an individual. Nearly 44% (43.91%) say it would enable them to feel more proactive about improving their health and that they would be more likely to stay in a job that offers these kinds of benefits. Over a third (35.65%) said it would help them improve their productivity at work.  Interestingly, 32% of 18-24-year-olds said they would also welcome menopause benefits. This signals that many women are thinking ahead when it comes to their health and wellbeing and suggests that employers who offer this type of support may see better retention with younger female employees.

In contrast, nearly 40% (39.8%) of male employees want benefits and support that allow them to feel more productive at work and 36.32% want to feel supported and cared for as an individual. When asked, 32.34% of male employees said they would be more likely to stay in a job that offers these kinds of health and wellbeing benefits. Over a third of male employees said workplace pressures would ease with the right health and wellbeing benefits as fewer colleagues would be off sick.

The data showed other stark differences between genders when it came to wellbeing and productivity. 35% of females want help and support with weight issues as opposed to just 26% of men. Gender differences were also clear for sleep, with 40% of women wanting support with sleep from their employer compared to 31% of men. Only 35% of women said that better wellbeing support would help them with productivity, compared to 40% of men. This shows a clear disparity between workplace productivity drivers in terms of gender.

 Gellatly continues: “There is no one size fits all approach to wellbeing and off-the-shelf products are costing organisations a  lot of money while having a minimal impact on the wellbeing of the workforce. An effective solution needs to consider the workforce demographic and look at underlying causation of absence and other lifestyle risk factors if it is going to be effective.”