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Rhetoric vs Reality: Tackling Polarised Perceptions of Corporate Health and Wellness 2022

Welcome to the 3rd edition of our ‘Tackling polarised perceptions’ study – the Aetna International annual report examining how employers and employees view corporate health and well-being benefits. This year’s report highlights the key benefits, opportunities and challenges facing organisations in key regions around the world during the 2021-2022 period.

Please view our 2019-2020, 2020-2021 reports.

This year, we surveyed 3,520 employees from four countries – Singapore, UAE, UK and US – to investigate the experiences of employees regarding health and well-being support.

  • To what extent do employees feel their company delivers on their promises in terms of taking responsibility for the health and well-being of their workforce?
  • Are companies well-intentioned but failing to implement, embed or communicate their position, policies and benefits in a meaningful way?
  • What changes would improve the perceptions and well-being of employees – to turn rhetoric into reality?
  • Are employers getting better at prioritising health and well-being?

Aetna International will provide expert insights and commentary in a full report, including key actions for employers and health insurance brokers. We are also set to publish the full data set in due course, including regional variations to help global and local organisations meet the needs of their people.

For now, read a snapshot of our key findings below and follow Aetna International on LinkedIn to be the first to know when our full report is published.

  • The gap between employee expectations and employer provision is closing. With intense disruption and uncertainty still taking a significant toll on organisations and individuals alike, this year’s study finds that employers are committed to supporting their employees’ health and well-being. Overall, their provision of a variety of quality health and well-being benefits to support employees’ holistic health is continuing to improve. 40% of employees said that the support provided by their employer is better than it was a year ago.
  • More work has to be done as physical and mental health parity has yet to be achieved. After our 2020-2021 study found a positive uplift in the early pandemic, the provision of mental health support seems to have worsened as 2021 progressed. Today, communications and actions related to mental health and well-being are generally rated less positively than those related to physical health and well-being. 1 in 3 people say their employer has promised increased physical or mental health support or training, but that this hasn’t materialised.  It’s clear that employees want a personalised approach to health care benefits as 49% said that their employer does not consider the needs of different demographics in their approach to health and well-being.
  • Employees need more consistent and more directive communications. Employees are still calling for clearer and more focused communications around health and well-being benefits access with 45% asking for  better communication about the support available to them. Almost half (45%) of global employees say they would be more likely to use their benefits if they were properly introduced to them. A similar number (44%) say they would benefit from proper training on how to access and use the benefits available.
  • Stigma still needs to be stamped out and confidentiality reinforced. Employees also need more confidence in the confidential nature of benefits with 30% saying they’re worried their career progression could be impacted if HR find out they’re struggling. Employees are worried about their HR colleagues finding out about their physical health (19%) and mental health (26%). 44% said that their overall well-being would be improved if their manager was trained to better help with health and well-being issues. 41% said that their internal culture does not reflect their company’s positive approach to health and well-being.


Most employees recognise the work that companies have put in since the onset of the pandemic to refocus time and money into health and well-being support for their staff. However, there is still work to be done to:

  • improve communications around accessing benefits
  • achieve mental health and physical health parity
  • deliver a more personalised approach to health and well-being support
  • grow the awareness and skills of senior managers.

Learn more about Aetna International

Aetna International is an award-winning global health and well-being benefits partner. We are committed to helping create a healthier, happier workforces across the world by focusing on preventative, personalised, holistic well-care as well as looking after people when they need us most. We offer large employers, health care systems and government entities customised technological and health management solutions to help improve health, enhance quality of care and contain costs.

Are you an employer or health care broker looking to partner with an insurer? Get in touch with one of Aetna International's expert sales consultants in your region.

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