Why Corporate Wellness is Important for Talent Retention in Asia

2022 saw employees all over the world struggling to retain employees, which involved mass quitting with driving factors including dissatisfaction with work conditions and a desire for a better work-life balance. As stated in PwC’s 2023 Hopes and Fears Global Workforce Survey, ‘The Great Resignation’ is far from over in Asia Pacific. About 30% of respondents say they are likely to switch jobs in the next 12 months (a number up 10% from 2022). The survey also found that, in Asia Pacific, 40% are extremely likely to ask for a pay raise or a promotion, while about 30% of employees are most likely to change employers in the next 12 months (June 2023 – June 2024.). This draws the focus of corporate wellness towards retaining talent.

The shift shows a change in employee expectations. Unless employers revamp their approach towards employee experience prioritising corporate wellness, attracting new talent and talent retention of existing valued employees in the current environment will continue to be an upward battle.

Solution to labour shortage in APAC –Employee Assistance Programmes

There has been a rise in Asia towards adopting employee assistance programmes to promote corporate wellness. It was reported by Inkwood Research that the Asia-Pacific workplace wellness market is evaluated to register a CAGR of 7.05% in terms of revenue between 2023-2032.

Leading businesses now have a better appreciation for corporate wellness programmes. Namely, they see employee wellness programmes as a strategic approach to appeal to top talent in the market. Employees at Google have access to mental health apps, educational reimbursements, support groups, access to fitness centres and massages, on-site meals and snacks and at-home cooking and workout classes.

What are the benefits of corporate wellness programmes?

Employees now place a higher value on workplace wellness and other non-financial factors such as flexible working hours or the freedom to work from home. Leading employers also see greater importance on corporate wellness programmes and prioritising employee’s mental health, expanding the scope of wellbeing beyond physical safety to include emotional, social, financial, communal and employee engagement factors.

Corporate wellness programmes, when properly implemented, help promote employee engagement, talent retention, attract top talent, organisational culture, boost morale and cut the cost of employee health care.

What’s at stake for corporations in Hong Kong?

Presenteeism is the act of employees working while sick or diagnosed with a medical condition. According to a survey by Bupa Hong Kong, out of the 90% of the respondents who were sick in within the year, 68% still went in to work. Bupa Hong Kong reported that employees spent approximately a quarter of total working days whilst sick, causing a productivity loss worth over HK$30.6 billion

Read also: Improve Your Organisational Culture and Boost Employee Retention

What is corporate wellness?

As of now, there is no set requirement as to what corporate wellness looks like across different corporations. They are programs intended to improve and promote the health and fitness of employees at the workplace.

Thanks to this freedom, there are many possibilities to how corporations can implement corporate wellness in the workplace, from relatively low-cost initiatives such as implementing flexible schedules to more extensive benefits such as cash rewards and gym membership deals. There is a lot that businesses can do to make the workplace more appealing to talent. Aside from in-house corporate wellness initiatives, there are also many ready-made plans in the market for businesses.

Popular corporate wellness programmes include:

  • Flexible working schedules
  • Remote working arrangements
  • Health screenings and preventative care
  • Mental health and stress management
  • Better office environment/desk setups
  • Financial wellness programs
  • On-site health clinics
  • Ergonomics and workplace safety
  • Cash rewards for participation in fitness building activities
  • Providing discounted or free gym memberships
  • Nutrition and diet initiatives
  • Access to smoking cessation
  • Increased/unlimited paid time off

Measuring the ROI of corporate wellness programmes

While the idea of wellness programmes can be very enticing, the results may vary. All this boils down to how well the wellness programme is implemented to address the concerns. It is also important to communicate the results back to employees. ROI’s can be calculated by

  • Setting clear objectives and goals
  • Determining baseline metrics
  • Calculating program costs
  • Tracking participation
  • Collecting data on health outcomes
  • Sending out an employee satisfaction survey
  • Assessing absenteeism and productivity
  • Evaluating employee retention
  • Benchmarking

For example, a 2019 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the average return of investment for a corporate wellness program was $3.27 for every dollar spent.

Read also: Strategic Reshaping in Asia: The Surge of Outplacement Services for Corporate Restructuring

Best Practices to Implementing Corporate Wellness Programmes

To secure returns, businesses are advised to dedicate more resources to planning a more comprehensive and strategic approach towards their corporate wellness programme.

General best practices include:

  • Determining the main objective of the wellness programme,
  • Leveraging existing resources,
  • Starting small, and attuning the programme to the needs of the company,
  • Considering the ROI and value of investment,
  • Engaging with employees to learn about their needs about concerns.

As the Asia Pacific competition for the top talent becomes more difficult, businesses will most likely be coming out with more elaborate corporate wellness programmes to attract and retain talent. For HR professionals, the time is now. Start thinking about their long-term workforce strategy as corporate wellness becomes a norm across the market. Start early, and plan for the future.

Not sure where to start? Get in touch with Links to learn more about our Employee Assistance Programme. Links Employee Assistance Programme provides professional counselling services for your employees. Help provide emotional support to employees coping with personal and workplace issues. Our Asia focused services are tailored to the local market, supporting your people where they need.


Links International is an industry leader in innovative HR outsourcing with services such as payroll outsourcingvisa applicationEmployer of Record (EOR), recruitment and more! Contact us for more information on how we can help leverage your HR function.

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