Tag: Employee Wellbeing

Workers’ health and wellbeing were last year’s biggest challenge
According to analysis conducted by HIVE360, a specialist in outsourced PAYE payroll, employee benefits and engagement, two thirds of UK workers actively sought help and support with their mental and physical health last year.

HIVE360 analysed 2021 data usage of its mobile employee pay and benefits app called Engage and it was revealed that 60% of requests for support via the app’s services were health related. User requests focussed on access to employee assistance services, counselling services, health and fitness advice, GP and doctor support services, and carer support and guidance for those workers also looking after an ill or elderly relative or friend at home.

David McCormack, CEO of HIVE360 commented: “Obviously, 2021 presented its own unique challenges thanks to the pandemic and the restrictions on people as a result of it. Analysis of the Engage user data confirms this, and that one of the knock-on effects on workers was a profound, negative impact on their mental and physical wellbeing throughout the last 12 months.

David continued: “Providing the tools and benefits that support employees’ happiness and wellbeing must be at the heart of a company’s culture, and not considered a token gesture,” says David. “The key is creating an employee benefits programme and portfolio that is in-tune with what they want, when they want it.”

 

Share this article on social media

Is the four-day week the way to solve attrition?

MRL Consulting Group, a UK recruitment firm, has seen an incredible 95% retention rate and productivity levels increasing by 25% since introducing a four-day work week. Improvements in employee wellness also reportedly improved.

Almost 90% of employees in the company reported improvement in their mental health and a marked reduction in workplace stress while a further 95% reported that they feel more rested after having a three-day weekend. Short-term absence was reported to have reduced by almost 40%.

The six-month trial implemented for all employees is now a permanent fixture within the company due to the huge success.

David Stone, Chief Executive Officer at MRL, commented: “We are driven by results, rather than the amount of time people spend at their desks. I trusted my staff to have enough self-motivation and discipline to be able to manage their time in order to fit five days of work into four. The results generated during the six-month trial have led us to implement a four-day week working model on a permanent basis.”

Kelly Robertson, Operations Director at MRL also weighed in: “During the trial, and since implementing the four-day working week, everyone has really ramped up their activity, and people feel a lot more prepared for the week ahead after having three days to rest at the weekend.  Now, the team has more time to spend on themselves, on their mental and physical health and with their families and you can really see the difference in the mood in the office.

“I can’t think of any reason why other businesses wouldn’t want to invest in its employees’ wellbeing, as there are so many positive outcomes. If you’re an output-based organisation and you are realistic about what you want your team to achieve in the given timeframe, there’s no reason you can’t have a four-day week.”

Share this article on social media

Businesses admit resignations due to mental health concerns

Research from FutureLearn has highlighted the importance of mental health first aiders in the workplace. A new survey of 1,000 key decision makers in business has revealed that over one in five (21%) business leaders state they are willing to re-evaluate their mental health policies, offering reassurance that steps are being taken to support their staff’s wellbeing in the wake of the pandemic and to curb the apparent “great resignation”.

Currently, there are no legal requirements for allocated psychological first aiders compared to the requirement for physical first aiders or fire marshals – despite being a business essential. However, with the employee experience now in sharp focus, businesses are proactively improving mental health support in the workplace to combat trauma felt post the pandemic. According to the report there has been an increase of 10% of businesses with support in place. This comes after 68% businesses admitted to not having mental health support for their staff pre-pandemic, with this number decreasing to 58% post-pandemic. With 12% of employees revealing they have left their job citing mental health as one of the main reasons for leaving, it is clear just how important mental health policies are when it comes to the retention of staff.

The report revealed that of the businesses who have made changes to their policies since the pandemic, 42% have already implemented online counselling for employees and 34% have already invested in mental health first aiders.

Yvonne Chien, Chief Growth Officer at FutureLearn commented: “We commissioned this survey to reinforce the importance of mental wellbeing in the workplace. We’ve seen how the past 18 months have impacted mental health. This national shift has only strengthened our belief in the significance of businesses having access to the right support.”

Conrad Vivers, Mental Health Champion at FutureLearn said: “I’m proud to be a part of a team to help change the conversation we are having about mental health in the workplace. Being a mental health first aider has given me the skills and insight to not only give 1 to 1 support for those in need, but also to confidently bring mental health as a talking point to meetings where people are at the core of the discussion. Through supporting people in the workplace with mental health challenges we’re impacting the evolution and elevation of society. The ripple effects of these actions lead to a safer environment for employees and help FutureLearn fulfil its duty of care towards employees. In some form or another most people need support. Even if it’s just to say: “me too, it’s been tough.””

Share this article on social media

Burnout continues to fuel the retention crisis

According to its latest study, McKinsey & Company has reported that more than 15 million US workers have quit their jobs since April 2021 with 40% of employees saying that they’re likely to quit in the next three to six months. This, because of burnout, the study revealed.

According to McKinsey, the pandemic has led to employee retention struggles that require serious reconsideration of how employers address mental well-being and they’re calling it the “Great Attrition”.

The largest-of-its-kind study released recently by leadership consulting firm DDI surveyed more than 15,000 employees and 2,000 HR professionals across 24 industries. The study found that nearly 60% of leaders reported feeling used up at the end of the workday.

Burnout has long been a concern for employers, and “leaders who are feeling burnout are now nearly four times more likely to leave their positions within the next year,” according to DDI. The length of the pandemic and the sustained effort required to keep companies afloat through uncertain times (and virtually) have increased exhaustion and stress. Meanwhile, the lines of work/life balance have blurred, families are facing increased financial anxiety, and the pandemic has put a strain on marriages and parents.

Staff need more support, but what does the ideal support system look like? 

In today’s mental wellbeing landscape, support typically starts with professional care but this model of care is problematic because according to Benefit News, in the US, those needing mental health support have to wait an average of 19 days to been seen and only “if one of the 12% of therapists accepting new patients are in the person’s network”. Stigma and fear of repercussions also play a role; 40% of first responders, for example, say they don’t seek help from workplace services because they are afraid of getting fired.

Employers can be the leaders in making proactive mental health care accessible to Americans by doing the following:

  1. Implement meditation spaces and courses in the workplace is one solution. Sixty percentof employees experiencing anxiety in the workplace show marked improvement upon practicing meditation. Many workplaces are already introducing corporate mindfulness classes to their benefits, with stunning results.
  2. Champion overall health. Because stress has also been associated with poor eating behaviors and diet quality (both causing it and being caused by it), nutrition and exercise are key. It’s not reasonable to expect an employee working a nine-hour workday to have time to go to the gym after work, make a healthy dinner from scratch, and also spend time with his or her family without feeling burned out. If workplaces offered healthy meal options at work, and even nutrition courses, it could make a world of difference; it’s also important to create a culture that encourages physical activity during

The arrival of the pandemic brought with it isolation and real human connection is at the lowest point in history. Many family members live in different states or countries, and according to NPR, more than 60% of Americans say they are lonely.

McKinsey’s study revealed that this increase in loneliness has impacted people’s personal and professional lives and made workers more susceptible to burnout. This is especially true for non-White employees, who are “more likely than their White counterparts to say they had left because they didn’t feel they belonged at their companies.”

The bottom line

Workplaces can address the fundamental need for connection by acknowledging the connection between loneliness and burnout; rethinking workplace environments to allow for more socialization and communal working; creating peer-to-peer mentorship programs; introducing ways for employees to volunteer together for a company-backed social cause; or using a platform like Listeners On Call that enables employees to talk to trained listeners with a shared life experience anonymously and confidentially. Also, the platform has the ability to meet employees where they are today on their own personal journey of wellness.

Share this article on social media

People living with dementia is set to triple by 2050

According to a new survey conducted by HIVE360, more UK workers are having to combine full and part time work with caring for an unwell or disabled loved ones. The ‘sandwich generation’ now looking after young children and elderly relatives, needs more support from their bosses post-pandemic.

According to David McCormack, CEO at HIVE360, the company has recorded a steady climb in the number of employees accessing specialist carer support. This data has been gathered from its employee experience platform called Engage.

David commented: “This hidden workforce is under enormous pressure and feeling the strain and are seeking out telephone advice and online guidance on how to cope and manage the impact on their physical and mental health and wellbeing, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.”

In a complementary report published recently by Aon, it is predicted that by 2040 one in six UK workers will balance their job with caring responsibilities. This figure means that unpaid carers will provide around £132 million worth of care per annum with 2.6 million people having given up work to provide care at home. The report also found that almost half of workers with caring responsibilities describe their situation as stressful, with 20% falling ill themselves.

David made further comment: “This represents a 12% increase since 2013. The UK’s population is ageing; around one-fifth of the UK population (19%) or around 12.3 million people was aged 65 or over in 2019, or around 12.3 million people. And it is projected there will be an additional 7.5 million people aged 65 years and over in the UK in 50 years’ time.

“Furthermore, the population of people living with dementia is set to triple by 2050, according to recent data published by Alzheimer’s Society.

“The sandwich generation is likely to grow in step with this changing profile of the UK population, and in turn, the numbers of workers juggling caring for a loved one. The new right for employees to take up to one week of unpaid carer’s leave per year announced by the government this month, is a positive step in the right direction towards giving the hidden workforce of carers the support, understanding and flexibility they need.”

 

Share this article on social media

Employers are prioritising plans to improve productivity

Since the start of the pandemic, rising financial stress due to an uncertain economy has created a downward spiral on employee wellbeing that has impacted employee performance. A study by borofree revealed that an average of 3.05 working days were taken off by workers in Great Britain last year due to the financial stress felt by employees.

The study examined the plans that companies across the UK now aim to implement in order to improve employee productivity, financial wellbeing and increase morale in the workplace as business recovery begins to take shape.

The research, which was conducted online by YouGov, highlights that HR decision makers are feeling optimistic about building stronger employee productivity as the economy settles into a ‘new normal’ with over half (57%) believing that employee productivity is set to  increase over the next 12 months.

Action taken from businesses to increase employee wellbeing over the next year will be critical for them to regain strong post-pandemic productivity growth and recover from a challenging 18 months. In fact, 83% of HR decision makers surveyed revealed that their business will be prioritising plans to improve employee productivity over the next year. Improving pay and working conditions for employees is high on the agenda for companies looking to regain lost morale due to the pandemic, with almost a third (31%) stating that this will be a business priority for them this year.

Across Britain the study highlights that employers are searching for new ways to increase productivity. The research shows that wellbeing is now a vital part of ensuring that teams remain productive, with over one in five (23%) companies looking to introduce new or improved health and wellness benefits for employees to improve morale and productivity over the next two years.

Despite financial worries among the UK workforce being a cause of emotional stress, the study shows that offering financial wellbeing initiatives as part of a businesses’ productivity recovery plan is still being overlooked. Whilst financial stress is a contributing factor to absenteeism in the workplace, only 12% of HR decision makers are looking to introduce personal finance coaching and training to employees to improve morale and productivity amongst teams within the next two years.

Minck Hermans, CEO and Co-founder at borofree, comments: “Whilst it’s great to see that businesses are prioritising incentives to build stronger employee productivity following a challenging 18 months, it’s critical that they do not overlook initiatives to promote better financial wellbeing amongst teams.

Our findings show that financial stress can lead to increased absenteeism in the workplace and the effect of this will hit a company’s bottom line. For employees that seek a certain degree of financial security from their employer such as being able to absorb an unforeseen financial shock, only one in ten (10%) businesses surveyed have stated that they are looking to introduce earnings on demand and paid weekly options for employers within the next two years and just over one in ten (14%) confirmed that they’ll be introducing salary advance facilities (e.g., a loan a company can give an employee from their future salary).”

Share this article on social media

Over half of employees feel undervalued

Research released by Firstup, a digital employee experience company, revealed that employees are unhappier in the workplace now more than ever post-pandemic. The survey showed a mounting dissatisfaction among employees across the UK, US, Germany, Benelux and the Nordics, with talent feeling undervalued, uninformed, and un-unified.

Lack of communication from leadership was cited as a main contributing factor to unhappy employees with almost a quarter of respondents to the survey agreeing that better communication will lead to increased productivity and work satisfaction.

Nicole Alvino, founder and CSO of Firstup, said: “Businesses need to provide more valuable working experiences or remain responsible for the career reboot of the decade that some are calling The Great Resignation of 2021. This research is a clear and urgent call to action – an organisation’s employees are its most valuable asset with employee satisfaction having a direct impact on the bottom line. Business, HR and Internal Comms leaders must act now to stem this workforce dissatisfaction and engage their teams with personalised information that helps them do their best work.”

Research from the 23,105 workers found that 56% don’t feel valued in their role and 38% want employers to ‘create better lines of communication between executives and employees’.

It appears that remote workers seem to feel these complaints most keenly, with a growing tension between desk based and deskless workers. It found that 25% of respondents felt they get more attention from their employer when they are physically at the office, only 30% of deskless workers think that their employers listen to them, and 39% of desk-based workers felt that their deskless colleagues could learn from them about ‘how to communicate with colleagues and ‘how to work as a team’.

The great temptation

This comes off the back of research from Reed.co.uk which found that almost three-quarters of Britains are actively looking for a new job or are open to opportunities. The survey, which canvassed 2,000 employers attempting to attract new talent and retain restless employees, suggests that businesses will need to adapt their offering to align with new employee priorities that have been shaped by the pandemic.

Salaries remain a top driver with 39% of respondents stating that they would stay should their employer offer a high salary. Flexible working hours is also at the top of the list. Other suggested incentives from the survey included: more annual leave (25%), a promotion (21%), and 18% asked for increased training and development opportunities.

Commenting on the research, Simon Wingate, Managing Director of Reed.co.uk, said: “We are in the midst of a sea change in the labour market, with it very much having shifted from a buyers’ to a sellers’ market due to the sheer – and record-breaking – number of job opportunities available.

“After a challenging 18 months for jobseekers which gave rise to a culture of uncertainty in the labour market, workers are now mobilised by the prospect of new and exciting opportunities with better rewards. Employers must find creative solutions and adapt to the new market conditions following the pandemic in order to maintain the resurgent economy’s trajectory.”

Following LinkedIn’s recent research highlighting 6.8 times the number of recruitment roles posted on its site in June compared to the same time last year, is the Great Resignation spreading to the staffing sector?

“There is a lot of potential for ‘revenge resignation’ for all those who were put on furlough through successive lockdowns, in the wider economy but particularly in recruitment, but it’s less likely to impact employers who offer flexibility and authenticity with a client-centric culture,” said Tim Cook, Group CEO of nGage, who will be speaking on this topic at the World Leaders in Recruitment conference on 5th October.

Commenting on the growing debate about the Great Resignation, TALiNT Partners Managing Director, Ken Brotherston said: “In general it is always wise to treat dramatic headlines or simple phrases with a large pinch of salt. My general rule of thumb is this: does the person promoting the headline have an interest in it being true? If so, approach with caution.”

Share this article on social media

Staff wellbeing tops employee concerns  

A recent report called the Healthier Nation Index published by Nuffield Health stated that more employees are demanding that their employers take more responsibility for their physical and mental wellbeing.  

The research found: 

  • More than 21% of those surveyed (8,000 respondents) believed employers should implement mandatory reporting on the physical and wellbeing initiatives they have in place to improve the wellbeing of their staff 
  • 52% stated that they were aware of the measures they could take to improve their mental and physical health 
  • 37% stated that employers should take responsibility by making resources available on how to boost mental and physical wellbeing 
  • 46% said that free health checks for all staff should be provided by employers 
  • 54% said that work was having a negative impact on their mental health 
  • Half of those surveyed stated that their workload created a barrier to undertaking physical exercise. 

Darren Hockley, Managing Director at  DeltaNet International commented: “Improving both mental and physical health is rising up the corporate agenda. If employees feel overworked or stressed, then they won’t be as happy or productive. This will only lead to other issues for the company, such as sick leave or them resigning and moving to another organisation that prioritises wellbeing.   

“Mandatory reporting on physical and wellbeing initiatives is a great way for organisations to take more responsibility for their employees. Offering that support through wellbeing seminars, mental health and wellbeing training or even mental health support where staff can talk to a specialist can make a significant difference to employees.” 

Extra leave given in support of mental health  

Nike recently announced that their head office employees will be given a week’s holiday in support of their mental health.   

Suzanne Staunton, Employment Partner at JMW Solicitors, commented: “It is unlikely that (many) UK employers will provide their staff with a week’s mental health break. However, anecdotally, over the past 12 months, we saw that number of employers have given staff a day or two additional mental health days or an extra day holiday. Those employers who implemented such schemes reported an increase in morale and productivity.”  

Returning to work post “freedom day” 

Data published in the Supporting Your Remote Workforce in 2021 and Beyond report found that 40% of those who are returning to office-based working are concerned about contracting COVID-19 from colleagues.  

Data from CPD Online College reported that the top concerns for those returning to the workplace were: social distancing (60%), workplace safety (56%), and workplace cleanliness (55%) at the top of the list. 

With these employees concerns in mind, it is imperative that HR and employers think about how to properly support staff wellbeing when staff returns to the office, as well as how to help alleviate their concerns. 

Liz Forte, Health and Wellness Director at Compass Group Business and Industry, shared three top tips:  

  1. Embrace the hybrid office: the hybrid should be seen to inspire staff to work together again and reconnect. This could assist with easing staff back into office life. Because there is a clear shift towards employees wanting a hybrid way of working, offering this to staff is a great way to encourage them to split their time between home and the office, thereby getting the best of both worlds.  
  2. Be aware of anxieties: Forte explains that it is crucial to be aware of your employee’s anxieties and concerns. Employers should communicate cleaning protocols and implementing visible cleaning teams during working hours could put staff at ease.  
  3. Support staff lives: providing work perks that encourage living a healthy life outside of work and that also support health and wellbeing will help improve performance as staff return to their desks. Offering classes which give employees the opportunity to try new hobbies or skills add to a positive experience at work. Data has shown that this could also be a good tool for attracting and retaining talent. 

 

Photo Courtesy of Canva.com

Share this article on social media

As employers explore new ways of attracting and retaining their talent, how important are perks, which have the most impact, and who gets the most?

A survey of 2,011 UK employees, undertaken by Censuswide in July 2021 for perk specialist Cartwright & Butler, sought to rank the most giving industries in the UK which offer the biggest perks for employees.

Its research found that marketing provides the most valuable perks, at £1,179.56 per person, on average across the year closely followed by the financial services sector (£1,091.60 per employee), and construction (£967.39).

At the other end of the scale is the third sector, which spends an average of £332.62 per person per year, with many people volunteering for charities in their spare time.

The utilities and hospitality industries both make up the bottom three of the least giving sectors – although there are several other industries that also spend less than £500 worth of perks on each employee over the year – namely retail, education, and agriculture.

Gen Z employees (those aged between 16 and 24) receive the highest value of perks on average across all industries, at around £900.08 each year. Across a range of industries, flexible working hours was by far the most popular, with 28% of brands offering this. Other popular perks of the job include employee discounts, and free food and drink, with 24% and 20% of businesses offering these, respectively.

A spokesperson for Cartwright & Butler commented: “Everything from birthday days off to free gym membership – and even something as simple as flexible working hours – are all taken into account when a candidate is deciding whether to accept a job offer. If you want to boost current workers’ morale and make them feel appreciated, then show them you care, by offering them perks that they can enjoy both in and out of work.”

Commenting on perks for marketing, particularly in recruitment where talent is in higher demand as the industry competes for attention post-pandemic, Glenn Southam, Founder of TwoEnds and The Lonely Marketers, said: “For many businesses throughout 2020, and into early 2021, day-to-day business in terms of working with customers and clients just simply stopped. This created an opportunity for marketers to come to the fore and prove their worth and impact in the workplace. In the Lonely Marketers community, made up of 150+ marketers working in recruitment, we saw countless examples of creativity to build brand awareness and add value in the most challenging of times.

“This has paid dividends as we enter a highly competitive job market with marketing being seen as integral to company growth beyond the ‘making things look nice’ stereotype. As a result, more and more marketers are now being afforded the perks, rewards and financial remuneration that were in many cases only reserved for the sales teams.”

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

Share this article on social media

Over half of satisfied workers are open to a career move, according to a new survey of over 4,000 workers in the UK, US, France, and China.

A new study from global integrated communications agency Zeno Group found that 58% of satisfied employees report being open to new opportunities, with many actively searching.

The study, entitled: “A New Mindset at Work: The Evolving Workplace in 2021”, is based on a survey of over 4,000 global workers from March to April this year which analysed employees’ expectations for the return to the office, their attitudes toward workplace mobility, and the importance of factors such as purpose, diversity, advancement and work-life balance through the lens of geographic regions and generations.

It found that workers are demanding a new working environment on their terms. Beyond hybrid work and flexibility, which are seen as permanent expectations for the new workplace, the study reveals that professional growth and career mobility rank high among employees’ expectations, followed by interesting work (77%), opportunities to grow (71%) and the ability to move within the company (62%).

Mental health was high on the agenda for 48% of UK employees, with 46% worried that poor mental health, or feeling more stressed or anxious, may come as a result of working remotely and 47% concerned it will lead to poor physical health.

The study also indicated how shifting employee values are shaping their views on the workplace. Out of 37 values, “protecting the family” (75%), enjoying life (72%) and self-reliance (71%) were the top three rising values in the UK while “status” (13%), “power” (12%) and “success” (11%) were the top declining values.

Across all regions, over 70% of employees say they would perform better at their jobs if they had a clear understanding of their company’s mission and values (a 21-point increase from a 2015 Zeno Group study) yet only around 50% of respondents felt their current company had one. Among US Gen Z respondents, 76% would be willing to accept a job earning less money if it was for an employer that shared their personal values and had a strong social purpose.

In the US, UK, and China, nearly 50% of employees consider having a diverse workforce and inclusive company culture one of the most important elements of a purposeful company.

“Senior management teams need to be actively listening to what their employees want and need,” said Jo Patterson, Managing Director at 3 Monkeys Zeno. “In the PR industry there is a particular need to practice what we preach when it comes to employee engagement post-COVID. This has been a watershed moment for all of us, and we now have an opportunity to build workplaces that align with the rising values highlighted in this report like mental health and flexible working.”

“While many businesses have great benefits and growth opportunities for their employees, often communication can prove the missing link between employers and their workforce,” added Jennifer Edwards, UK Employee Engagement lead at 3 Monkeys Zeno. “In the months ahead, retaining and attracting new talent will not only depend on listening to employees, but actively communicating with them in a meaningful way.”

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

Share this article on social media