A massive 85% of South Africans grapple with stress at their jobs – but that only 39% of employees find their wellbeing programmes “fairly effective”.

This is according to a new survey by insuretech YuLife and IPSOS, which shares that another 32% of respondents found their wellbeing programmes ineffective.

The study’s research forms part of an enlightening new ebook from YuLife titled, ‘How to build a winning South African workforce’’.

Jaco Oosthuizen, co-founder and MD of YuLife South Africa, says: “Unfortunately, South African employees have some of the worst mental health in the world and are desperately looking for ways to improve that.

“Employers and HR leaders are trying their best to support their employees but don’t have a lot of concrete data at hand, so we gathered the research to assist, inform and enable employers with understanding what employees in South Africa value at work.

“One of the starkest findings was that only 28% of respondents reported feeling cared for by their employer. These findings suggest that there are opportunities that employers can take to improve their workplace wellbeing offerings and align them with what employees really need.”



It is not all about money

According to the survey, more workplace benefits like better healthcare or improved pension plans would be enough for 51% of employees to remain with their employer.

While it is often believed that money is many employees’ only motivation, the survey shows that most people want to be able to manage their wellbeing better and are likely to choose organisations who help them do that.

The survey comes during Mental Health Awareness Month and during a time where holistic wellbeing, particularly mental health support have become a key focus for employers. It also helps shed light on the challenges faced by South Africans grappling with their mental health in the workplace.


How to keep employees happy

The YuLife and IPSOS study clearly highlights the fact that company culture, flexible working conditions, and training opportunities were among the most eye-catching factors for individuals looking for an employer. The ebook goes even further covering trends, how to use wellbeing data to build winning teams, how to get the best out of hybrid workforces and more.

The study found that 36% of employees considering leaving their employer would be persuaded to stay if they got a greater allowance for leave days or more training opportunities; additionally, 179 out of 500 respondents said a lack of recognition would lead them to consider leaving.

“Companies need to rethink how to engage employees’ wellbeing and get meaningful buy-in from their staff which in turn will drive productivity,” says Oosthuizen.

However, it is not all doom and gloom. Roughly 56% of employees say their employers collect feedback on employee satisfaction while just over half of employers collect information about their workforce’s physical and mental wellbeing.

Encouragingly, 72% of employees believe that their feedback regarding improvements to employee wellbeing programmes would likely be taken into consideration. That shows how employers who care are already trying to bridge the gap between themselves and their employees’ expectations. This can be extremely beneficial to businesses and the economy.

Given the current economic climate, and the cost of ignoring it, ensuring that employees’ wellbeing is looked after may be one of the few steps that every organisation can take to help contribute to the country’s bottom line.