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89% of employers say that supporting the health and wellbeing of staff has a positive impact on their business

Nearly nine out of ten (89%) employers say that supporting the health and wellbeing of their staff has a positive impact on their business, according to research conducted by GRiD, the industry body for group risk.

When asked how that positive impact manifests itself on their business, employers were keen to promote the benefits of improved loyalty, engagement and reduced absence among existing staff. However, they also saw the wider benefits to the business too.

  • 45% of employers believe that supporting the health and wellbeing of their staff demonstrates that they care about their employees, and that engenders loyalty and engagement.
  • 42% of employers said that when their employees know they are supported with their overall health and wellbeing, it increases their engagement.
  • 41% stated that productivity is increased when employees know that their employer supports them with their overall health and wellbeing.
  • 33% said it is integral to their company ethos to support their employees – including their health and wellbeing – and that helps them fulfil their business objectives.
  • 31% believe that supporting health and wellbeing holistically helps manage absence, mitigating both the number and length of absences and helping staff return to work more quickly.
  • 26% think that supporting the health and wellbeing of staff differentiates them from their competitors, helping with employee recruitment and retention.
  • 19% of employers say that potential clients are interested in how they look after staff and that having a good policy in place helps them win new clients.

People working in health and wellbeing have known for some time that supporting the health and wellbeing of staff can lead to great outcomes for employees. GRiD is pleased to see this is also true for the majority of employers, which can only be a good thing for their workforce.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD said: “During a pitch process or when responding to a request for tender, most businesses are accustomed to being asked for specific environmental, CSR or equal opportunities policies, etc. What’s really interesting is that, judging by this research, that list may now extend to how well an organisation looks after its staff too.

“Cultural shifts in business tend to need more than a feel-good factor to make a significant impact. The employee benefits industry has long been banging the drum that a healthier workforce is both a happier and more productive one. However, this acknowledgement by employers that they need to be seen to engage actively with their staff on health and wellbeing to win clients, takes the case a huge leap forwards.”

This, notwithstanding, employers also say that there are challenges in offering health and wellbeing support to staff:

Twenty-seven per cent said the affordability of benefits was a hurdle – particularly when competing with budgets for other areas of the business. Other major challenges cited were a lack of resources (24%), a focus on business survival (24%) and knowing what staff value or want (23%). One in ten (10%) said that ‘getting buy-in from the business that health and wellbeing benefits are necessary’ proved problematic.

Moxham continued: “The way an organisation goes about its daily activities, including how it looks after its staff, could also be taken as a measure of how it deals with its clients too. To gain an advantage over competitors, there may be merit in pro-actively promoting an employee health and wellbeing programme during a new business campaign.

“Companies don’t just offer health and wellbeing to staff because it’s a nice thing to do, it’s also the right thing to do, and it makes good business sense.”