Pre-pandemic, in 2019, three quarters (75%) of organisations offered counselling services as part of their reward strategy.

This compares to nine in ten (90%) in 2022, according to a new survey by XpertHR.

A counselling service or EAP is now the number one benefit provided by UK organisations for three years in a row, highlighting the shift of attention amongst employers towards employee wellbeing following the start of the pandemic.


Mental health

In a 2021 report published by Mind, two thirds (65%) of adults said their mental health had worsened since the first national lockdown.

Also, a quarter (25%) of adults said they experienced mental distress for the first time during the pandemic.

The response from HR departments across the country has been clear – pre-pandemic, in 2019, three quarters (75%) of organisations offered counselling or an EAP, but in the three surveys since the coronavirus outbreak, this figure has been at, or close to, nine in 10.

Alongside counselling and EAPs, other leading benefits include life assurance, which is provided by four-fifths (82%) of businesses, and payment of employees’ professional membership fees, which 70 percent of organisations offer.


What are the most common benefits offered in 2022?

Counselling service or employee assistance programmes are offered by 90 percent of organisations, and life assurance/death-in-service benefits by 82 percent.

Payment of employees’ professional membership fees are offered by 70 percent of organisations and private medical insurance is offered by 65 percent.

Also, free car parking is offered by 65 percent, and childcare vouchers by 64 percent. 

It was also found that mental health support and cycle-to-work schemes were both offered by 62 percent of organisations.

Also, long-service awards are offered by 61 percent of organisations, and car allowance is offered by 51 percent.

In essence, XpertHR’s 2021 benefits and allowances survey, cycle-to-work schemes ranked among the top three benefits offered by organisations, provided by 70 percent of businesses. However, cycle-to-work schemes almost fell out of the top 10 most common benefits, dropping by 8 percent in the 2022 survey – likely a result of growing popularity in  home-working and falling demand for  transport to the office.

Meanwhile,  the percentage of employers offering private medical insurance has jumped by 8 percent since the previous survey, from 57 percent to 65 percent, making it the fourth most provided benefit in 2022.

Sarah Byrne, HR Practice Editor at XpertHR, comments: “The coronavirus pandemic led many employers to focus on the mental and physical health and wellbeing of their employees, and once again we see this reflected in the benefits packages offered by UK organisations. 

“This is a trend that we expect to continue as employees re-evaluate their working lives after the pandemic. In today’s fiercely competitive labour market, a compelling benefits package can give an organisation the edge over rivals, helping it  to recruit and retain talent. As inflation continues to outstrip pay awards, benefits that help employees to save money or improve their wellbeing have never been more important.”






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.