Recent research reveals disparities of opinion between employers and employees, including line managers, regarding workplace wellbeing priorities.

While Legal & General Group Protection’s Wellbeing at Work Barometer1 revealed broad agreement that stress/anxiety should represent a top priority, a significantly higher percentage of employees than employers stated this (51% versus 33% respectively).

Even more pronounced though was the disparity of opinion on second and third-place priorities, which completely differed; employees stating ‘depression’ (40%) and ‘burnout’ (35%), while employers said ‘men’s health‘ (31%) and ‘women’s health’ (30%).

Legal & General says these findings suggest employers might not always be involving employees in the design of wellbeing programmes; something that might be needed to ensure relevance and value to both people and business.


Looking at the employee responses by age, significantly more 18- to 34- year-olds than their older peers want to see stress/anxiety, depression and burnout prioritised. Also, a slightly higher percentage of line managers, in comparison to employees overall, want to see these areas prioritised.

These findings come against the backdrop of Business in the Community (BITC) recently calling on business leaders across the UK to make people a boardroom priority. BITC research reveals that the UK economic value of improved employee wellbeing could be between £4,000 – £12,000 per employee.2

Legal & General considers mental wellbeing to represent the foundation for all pillars of wellbeing along with – physical, financial and social. It’s this ‘whole person’ view of wellbeing that led to the development of its Be Well. Get Better. Be Supported. framework. This considers wellbeing in an integrated way and is predicated on getting people back to – or staying in – ‘good work’ as a key health goal, whether a claim is involved or not.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) states in its guidelines to help employers improve mental wellbeing at work, that an organisational-level approach (culture, purpose, employee experience) must be prioritised, otherwise individual level approaches (good line manager conversations, benefits, services, workplace adjustments) are less likely to be effective.3

Vanessa Sallows, Claims & Governance Director, Legal & General Group Protection, commented on the findings of workplace wellbeing priorities:

It’s becoming increasingly understood that wellbeing must focus on fixing work and the work culture, as opposed to only focusing on fixing the individual. This is about considering all aspects of wellbeing, including mental wellbeing support, in a way that joins the dots between: culture and purpose; good work and management practices; employees feeling listened to and valued; support from providers in the shape of a vast array of prevention, early intervention and vocational rehabilitation services.

Vanessa Sallows, Claims & Governance Director, Legal & General Group Protection