42% of companies plan to offer wellness to new hires
42% of companies plan to offer wellness to new hires

NEW YORK, March 22, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — HR leaders in Corporate America continue to be more optimistic than pessimistic about the state of the workforce.

The Conference Board CHRO Confidence Index ticked up to 54 in Q1, from 53 last quarter. (A score above 50 reflects more positive than negative responses.) While retention and engagement expectations improved from last quarter, the survey found they were down from this time last year, signaling continued concerns about shortages of labor. Hiring expectations remain stable.

The survey also reveals that business is stepping up as mental health issues continue to impact workers across the country: 42 percent of companies surveyed plan to offer new wellness benefits this year.

Indeed, 36% say companies are responsible for the well-being of their employees, and another 62% say they are somewhat responsible. As a result, they are increasing their focus on employee well-being: in addition to those offering new well-being benefits, a quarter plan to increase spending on well-being initiatives.

“Taking a holistic view of worker well-being can not only improve employee engagement and productivity, but also retain your talent – ​​a key focus for both CEOs and Chief People Officers this year,” said Diana Scotthead of the Conference Board of the US Center for Human Capital.

The index, conducted quarterly, launched in the first quarter of 2023 and consists of three components – hiring, retention and engagement – ​​as well as special questions included in each survey. Nearly 150 CHROs participated in the Q1 survey, which included additional questions about employee well-being. Key findings include:

The CHRO Confidence Index: Hiring the component remained the same both last quarter and year-over-year at 55.

CHROs’ workforce expansion plans remained flat in Q1, with fewer CHROs expected to increase or reduction in hiring over the next six months:

  • 36% of CHROs expect to increase their hiring in the next six months – down from 44% in Q4.
  • 13% expect to reduce their hiring in the next six months – down from 19% in Q4.

The CHRO Confidence Index: Hold component rose to 53 in Q1 2024 from 51 in Q4 2023. But retention expectations declined year-on-year from 57 in Q1 2023.

CHRO expectations regarding employee retention rose slightly in Q1:

  • 29% of CHROs expect their employee retention rates to improve over the next six months – up slightly from 28% in Q4.
  • 19% of CHROs expect employee retention to decrease over the next six months, down from 22% in Q4.

The CHRO Trust Index: Engagement component rose to 54 in Q1 2024 from 52 in Q4 2023. But engagement expectations declined year-on-year from 58 in Q1 2023.

Fewer CHROs expected a decline in employee engagement in Q1:

  • 35% expect engagement levels to increase – down slightly from 37% in Q4.
  • 20% expect engagement levels to decline – a significant drop from 31% in Q4.

Special questions for Q4: Employee well-being
For the first quarter of 2024, the Index also surveyed CHROs on employee well-being.

Chief HR leaders agree that organizations share responsibility for the well-being of their employees.

  • 62% say organizations are somewhat responsible.
  • 36% say organizations are responsible.
  • Only 2% say organizations are not responsible for employee well-being.

A quarter of CHROs increased spending on employee wellness in 2024.

  • 26% said their welfare budget had increased for the 2024 financial year.
  • 69% said it remained the same.
  • Only 5% reduce welfare spending.

Nearly half of CHROs plan to offer new wellness benefits, although most continue to spend the same.

  • 42% plan to offer new benefits this year.
  • 39% do not plan to offer new benefits.
  • 19% discuss offering new benefits.

Mental and physical health are top priorities for new wellbeing initiatives.

  • Among the new benefits offered:
    • 20% offer mental health initiatives.
    • 15% offer physical health and fitness initiatives.
    • 12% offer financial wellness initiatives.
    • 10% offer work-life balance initiatives.

About The Conference Board
The Conference Board is a member-driven think tank that provides trusted insights into what’s ahead. Founded in 1916, we are a non-partisan, non-profit organization holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. www.conference-board.org

SOURCE The Conference Board

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