Tag: employee wellness

Long journey ahead to embed diversity into the complete employment journey  

According to a recent study, one in three UK workers has felt marginalised or excluded at work conducted.

The survey for the forthcoming book ‘Belonging: The Key to Transforming and Maintaining Diversity, Inclusion and Equality at Work’ indicates that there is still a journey ahead for creating diversity in every area of the business – from recruitment to promotions.

While many workplaces in the UK are diverse in terms of ethnicity, gender, age, and sexual orientation, others are not, and any diversity becomes scarcer in upper management and senior leadership.

Statistics show that:

  • White groups are the most likely to be employed at 79.3%,
  • Men have a higher employment rate in every ethnic group.
  • 41% of LGBTQIA+ job seekers would not apply for a job with a company that lacks diversity
  • The employment rate for disabled people sits at 52.7%.
  • Almost one in five FTSE 100 companies don’t have ethnic minority members.
  • Only two FTSE 100 companies have a female CEO.

Even though the UK has taken positive steps to create equality and diversity, there is much work to be done when looking at the overall picture.

Gerald Doran, Head of Recruitment and HRSS at Kura, has shared his tips for embedding diversity into the hiring process.

Create an equality and diversity policy

Diversity to needs to be enshrined in policy to be taken seriously. Laying out the company’s commitment to equality and diversity and how it will achieve them will ensure that it is enacted across all areas of the organisation.

A comprehensive policy should include

  • The purpose of the policy and the commitment to diversity in the workplace.
  • How diversity in the workplace will be increased
  • How discriminatory behaviour will be eliminated.
  • Details of the measures in place to ensure diversity within the business
  • The behaviours expected of all employees
  • A grievances procedure.

Consider a blind hiring process and an interview panel

Seventy-nine percent of HR employees have admitted that unconscious bias exists in recruitment in the UK. British job applicants with black or ethnic minority backgrounds must submit 60% more CVs to receive call-backs from employers,  even if their skill set matches white jobseekers.

A blind hiring process may eliminate this. Candidates can submit their CV and cover letter in a manner that does not provide any demographic information such as gender, heritage, age, and location.

At the interview stage, these personal identifiers may be revealed. In addition, if the interview panel comprises employees from diverse backgrounds and various levels of seniority, bias can also be removed from the interview process and final decision.

Another option is to use sample tasks to help the recruitment panel look at the candidate’s skills rather than the demographics.

Recognise the benefits of diversity in your workplace

To best understand the benefits of having a diverse workforce, look into the benefits that it already offers. For example, women in leadership may be more empathetic. Leaders from different ethnic backgrounds can provide new perspectives for consideration.

Shakti Naidoo, HR Business Partner at Kura South Africa, commented: “At Kura South Africa, we have inductions and monthly sessions where we directly address conscious and unconscious bias.

As well as sessions on addressing conscious and unconscious bias, we created ‘Kura-Queens’, a space for women in the business to meet and discuss any issues around gender inequality in the workplace. Kura-Queens has led to “a team of strong women who support, motivate, and raise each other.”

We have a very equal gender split across all levels of seniority in our business. This gives us a unique, balanced workplace that values differing viewpoints and allows everyone to offer insight based on their personal experiences.

As well as creating equal opportunities for promotions within your organisation, highlighting the achievements of senior leaders from diverse backgrounds is important. They will be role models for other employees as well as prospective employees. We interviewed a number of our women in leadership for International Women’s Day and shared their inspiring words on LinkedIn in order to inspire others.

The UK has made positive steps when it comes to equality and diversity in the workplace but there is still a long way to go. Not only are marginalised groups still underrepresented in the workforce, but they also report feeling isolated and discriminated against. We have faced this challenge head-on at Kura and have a number of initiatives, from our comprehensive equality and diversity policy to Kura-Queens and beyond. Having a truly diverse workplace and recruitment process takes time to enact, but these are great places to start.”

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31% of financial services and banking professionals to leave the industry due to pressure

One third (31%) of financial services and banking professionals plan to leave their industry, and a further third (31%) are planning to stay within the industry but leave their current roles, reveals a new report.

According to the study by the digital accountancy platform, LemonEdge,  33% of financial service and banking professionals believe that working from home and hybrid working has increased burnout. Fourteen percent state that burnout has risen exponentially. The study also revealed that 23% of these professionals are worried about physical and mental health.

When asked why workers are planning to leave their positions, the following reasons were cited:

  • Heavy workload (42%)
  • Manual processes (36%)
  • Long working hours (32%)
  • Tight deadlines (26%)
  • Increasing demands from management (25%)

One in six of the financial services workers who were surveyed feel like they can no longer continue or no longer desire to continue in their role within the industry.

When asked what would help overcome burnout, 33% of financial services professionals agreed that a reduced workload would reduce burnout. Time off work (27%), support from management (25%), and faster, more efficient technology (23%) were also popular solutions.

Gareth Hewitt, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at LemonEdge, comments: “An exodus of industry professionals is a sure sign that levels of burnout have reached an unacceptable scale. Any experience of  burnout is serious and with thousands of employees planning to leave the industry as a direct result of high pressure, it should be a clear warning to firms before they risk losing valuable talent.

“The risk of burnout to employers is huge, and there are simple measures firms can introduce to reduce the risk of burnout, making the lives of their employees’ much simpler, easier, and with less stress. Firms need to be aware of the impact absenteeism and presenteeism will have on both their employees and business productivity. Just because you’re working from home, or in a hybrid model, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy time off. With one in four (23%) asking for faster or improved technology to eliminate manual processes, firms need to look at their approaches to improve the lives of their staff. In this day and age, technology, not only can but should, provide the automation and flexibility that can contribute to reduced stress, reduced working hours, and lower risk of burnout. At LemonEdge we are passionate about providing the tools and technology that enable financial services professionals to get home on time.”

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43% set to quit jobs for improved working conditions

EY has released their 2022 Work Reimagined Survey, showing that 43% of employees are likely to quit their jobs, motivated by higher salaries, better career opportunities, and increased flexibility.

The survey canvassed over 1,500 business leaders and 17,000 employees across 22 countries and 26 industry sectors and found that employees have significant influence amid a shrinking labour market and rising inflation.

According to the survey, 35% of employees say that their main motivation for quitting their jobs is a desire for higher pay. This is likely due to record inflation numbers in many countries. Twenty-five percent are looking for career growth, while 42% believe that pay increases will address high staff turnover. However, only 18% of employers agree with this statement.

Last year’s survey found that flexible working arrangements were the biggest driver in employee moves. However, with many companies now offering some flexibility, remote work is less of a factor, at 19%. Seventeen percent say they would leave for well-being programs.

When looking at age groups in the various countries, the survey found that 53% of Gen Z employees and millennials in the US are the most likely to quit their jobs this year. In addition, across all sectors, 60% of employees with technology and hardware jobs are eager to leave.

Despite an improved outlook on company culture, many employees are keen to job hunt. In contrast, employers are less confident about company culture. Similarly, while many employees feel that the new ways of working increased their productivity, employers’ confidence in productivity decreased from 77% to 57%.

In looking at growing skills and the talent gap, findings among employers are:

  • 58% agree that it is important to have a strategy that matches talent and skills to business needs.
  • 74% are prepared to hire employees from other countries and allow remote work if their skills are critical or scarce.
  • 21% believe that improving opportunities to build skills will help address turnover.

In respect of flexible working models, the survey shows that:

  • 22% of employer respondents want employees back in the office five days a week.
  • Reluctance to work remotely among employees fell from 34% to 20%.
  • 80% of employees would like to work remotely at least two days per week.

The survey also examines whether new ways of working boost culture and productivity. It reveals that 32% of “optimist” employers have improved culture and productivity by ensuring that their leaders understand company issues, external practices, and strategies. Other drivers of success are hybrid work, investing in on-site amenities, enhancing workplace technology, and empowering employees.

Liz Fealy, EY Global People Advisory Services Deputy Leader and Workforce Advisory Leader, commented: “This latest survey shows that employees around the world are feeling empowered to leave jobs if their expectations are not met. As employers have increasingly provided flexible work approaches, higher pay is now the biggest motivation for changing jobs, particularly given rising inflation and available unfilled roles.”

Roselyn Feinsod, EY Work Reimagined Leader, commented: “We are seeing a top third of companies successfully navigating these divergent positions on pay, career opportunities and flexibility. They have moved from ‘resistance’ to ‘renaissance’ and that’s a win-win for their companies and their workforce. Organizations have to work to retain their employees, instill trust and provide a package that takes into account total pay, career path and flexibility to balance market concerns and risks.”

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Mental health decreased by 14% since start of pandemic

In a survey of over 1,000 employees to analyse how SME leaders in the UK adapted to the mental health needs of employees during the pandemic, GetApp found that 71% of employees received no mental health resources from their companies. This, even though good mental health decreased by 14% since the beginning of the pandemic.

The survey found that 18% of respondents told their leaders about their mental health issues. However, 16% of managers did nothing in response. The study further revealed that 11% of employees struggled with mental health issues, but their managers did not address their challenges.

Twenty-three percent of respondents were uncomfortable discussing their mental health conditions with their managers. A further 36% wouldn’t talk to anyone at work and would rather seek help externally.

Where managers did support their employees with their mental well-being, the findings were:

  • 55% took time to listen to their employees’ mental health concerns
  • 30% motivated their staff to take time off work
  • 27% scheduled regular check-ins
  • 42% of employees found the support very helpful compared to the 18% who found it unhelpful. The balance found the support somewhat helpful
  • 66% of employees who did receive mental health support received support via email, while 39% received in-person support, 24% received support through printed material, and 18% through virtual workshops

The study also found that 23% of employees now feel less connected to the company culture than before the pandemic. This is likely attributed to the fact that 27% of employees shared that their companies did not host social events, while 20% host them once a year. Nineteen percent host them once a quarter.

According to the respondents, the most valuable mental health resources were:

  • flexible work schedules (44%)
  • mental health days (36%)
  • access to a specialist to assist and provide employee support (24%)

Yoga and nutritional wellness programs were found to be the least useful resources.

David Jani, Content Analyst at GetApp UK, commented: “It was a surprise to see as many as 71% of our participants had not received access to workplace mental health resources at all during the pandemic.

This was also combined with a reluctance by around 23% to speak to a manager or decision-maker about declining mental health and 16% not receiving any response from their superiors when the issue was raised.

Having support from your company can be vital when experiencing mental health difficulties. This was observed from the 29% of workers that received assistance from their companies, with 42% of this group saying the resources they received were “very helpful” and another 38% regarding the assistance as “somewhat helpful” to their well-being.”

While UK employees appear to be reluctant to discuss their mental health in the workplace, effective support by employers is critical to the workforce’s mental health.

 

 

 

 

 

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95% of UK employees say their company doesn’t offer wellbeing support

The Employee Mental Health and Remote Working report conducted by virtual events and in-person team building company Wildgoose has revealed that one in six UK employees feel worried that raising mental health concerns with their company could put them at risk of losing their job. The report on mental health and remote working surveyed employees from 129 different companies on whether their mental health at work had improved or become worse during the last year. It also asked if those surveyed felt comfortable raising any mental health concerns with their employers and what they believed would happen if they did.

Results showed that 86% believed that their workplace is not a safe space for employees to be open about mental health.

According to the report, over the last 12 months, two in three employees have experienced worse mental health at work, compared to the previous year. As remote and hybrid working environments continue to be adopted by more UK businesses, evidence suggested that companies have struggled to adapt their mental health support processes, with the report revealing that one in three employees feel less able to raise mental health concerns during remote meetings, which has caused issues to go unnoticed.

The results also showed that just over one in eight companies in the UK don’t have a process in place for remote workers to report mental health concerns with the highest prevalence in SMEs, where this figure nearly doubled to one in five not having a process in place.

What employees want from their employers

Worsening employee mental health continues to be a growing concern and the researched showed that the change most desired by employees is for companies to offer more regular in-person meetings (36%) and for managers to receive better training on identifying signs of poor mental health (36%).

Just under a third of respondents (32%) stated they would like to see a process policy of reporting mental health concerns, which is not currently broadly offered, followed by assurances of job security after reporting.

Wildgoose Managing Director Jonny Edser commented: “As remote and hybrid working practices become more widespread, companies need to start doing more to ensure that employees are still receiving the same levels of mental health support. It’s essential that employers communicate with their staff, finding out how they would like to be supported. Perhaps they’d appreciate more regular workload reviews, weekly face-to-face meetings, or even the creation of better mental health policies. The most important aspect is that employees feel comfortable and safe to discuss any concerns.

Kristen Keen, founder and owner of Cluer HR, also commented on the report: “Unfortunately, there is still a stigma that surrounds mental health issues and a lack of education on the subject. To help improve employee wellbeing at work, both managers and the entire workforce should receive training, so that everyone can recognise and understand mental health issues. Plus, having 1:1 meetings with employees is a great way to encourage people to safely discuss any problems they are having.”

Full report available here: https://www.wearewildgoose.com/uk/news/employee-mental-health-and-remote-working-report/

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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.”

 

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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.”

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