Welcome to the March BMG Employee Update.

In this edition we continue to focus on the latest news and insights on Workplace Health and Wellbeing. The subject of the nation’s mental health and wellbeing continues to be widely debated. With UK employees working some of the longest hours in Europe but producing 30% less per hour than workers in France, Germany and the US (London School of Economics), it is clear that investing in the wellbeing of the UK workforce can no longer be ignored.

Latest insights from BMG’s National Employee Panel…  

The BMG Research Employee Panel (made up of a representative sample of 1,000 UK employees) was surveyed in March 2017. We see the impact of mental health on the UK workforce, and how line managers and employers play a critical role in supporting staff through effective conversations and Wellbeing Strategies.

View the Infographic here

There are clear benefits to having a Wellbeing Strategy for both employees and businesses

  • Employees who work for an organisation that has a Wellbeing Strategy are twice as likely to believe their employer genuinely cares about their wellbeing.
  • Why is this important? Because levels of employee engagement increase by 31% points amongst employees who believe their employer cares about their wellbeing.
  • So what’s the issue? Just 28% of employees surveyed say their employer has a Wellbeing Strategy, and this drops to just 13% of employers of up to 250 staff.

In response to the findings, David Crossman (Employee Engagement Consultant and Director at DNA of Engagement, and Wellbeing TAG Chair for Engage for Success) commented:

“A key element of any strategic approach to wellbeing would be to put in place measures that develop and equip managers at all levels with the essential skills needed to effectively respond and manage the challenges of changing employment relationships [the rise of the GIG economy] and poor financial wellbeing. It also requires employers to look beyond the traditional organisational boundaries and to review how, through a programme of corporate and social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, they can make a positive contribution to the health and wealth of the nation’s employees. Perhaps now is the time for organisations to adopt a more open mindset and to move away from a culture where adopted ways of working are a cause of staff dissatisfaction, poor health and low levels of engagement and work performance.

Employers can and do influence the wellbeing of their staff. What’s interesting is that employers who have adopted a ‘can do’ approach – and have this ingrained into the business culture – appear to be the ones making a significant positive difference to the working lives of their staff and thus gain a significant net boost to their bottom line.”

One third of days taken off work through illness in the UK are a direct result of work-related pressure or stress

  • This rises to as high as three quarters of days taken off work through illness by Health Professionals (Doctors, Pharmacists, Nurses, Vets).
  • In fact, 21% of Health Professionals had 10+ days off work in 2016 as a direct result of work-related pressure or stress.
  • The average number of days taken off work due to work-related pressure or stress is higher among the 45-54s (5.2 days per year) and in the South East (6.6 days per year).

The evidence highlights how critical it is for businesses to start taking workplace health and wellbeing seriously…

  • Mental health costs the UK £70bn per year, equivalent to 4.5% of GDP (OECD)
  • Mental ill-health costs each employer £1,035 per employee, per year (Sainsbury Centre for mental health)
  • There are 15.2m sick days per year due to stress, anxiety or depression (Office for national Statistics)
  • Failure to unlock discretionary effort costs UK business £6bn (BUPA)
  • Only 2 in 5 employees are working at peak performance (CIPD)

In the news: the best of the rest…

Health Promotion Programmes can reduce employee sick leave by 25%

A meta-evaluation from the US-based Chapman Institute found that a health promotion programme of even average effectiveness could decrease employee sick leave by 25.3%. Little wonder employers that are making a determined effort to implement meaningful and holistic wellbeing programmes for their staff are reporting a variety of benefits.

Dr Sarah Dunleavy from the CIPD states: “Wellbeing is about more than not being physically sick. It includes physical, mental and social health. That means moving away from a health and safety mindset that sees wellbeing primarily as a compliance exercise that reduces the chances of causing harm, and instead thinking about a holistic approach to health and wellbeing in the workplace across the five domains: health, work, values and principles, collective and social, and personal growth. It should be at the centre of how an organisation realises its mission, and an active part of its daily operations.”

Mental Health – a little more conversation

In early March 2017, the Institute of Directors (IoD) launched a mental health in the workplace campaign, with the publication of the report A little more conversation. The IoD has created a mental health hub to help business leaders promote and nurture good mental health in the workplace.

A new survey shows that 54% of IoD members have been approached by staff suffering mental ill health. Yet just 14% have a formal mental health policy in place, and fewer than one in five offer line management training. Poor mental health costs the UK some 5 per cent of GDP. Increasing awareness of mental health across the business community could therefore play a key role in addressing Britain’s ‘productivity puzzle’.

What’s new at BMG Research?

BMG is re-commissioned to deliver the Thurrock Council ‘pulse’ survey

Having worked with Thurrock Council throughout the spring and summer of 2016, we are delighted to be working with them once again. As a result of the survey conducted last year, and in conjunction with several follow up workshops with leaders and staff, a number of action plans were developed by the council. This pulse survey is being designed to track progress in the areas identified in these plans. Read more

Greater Birmingham Engage for Success – Inspiring Your Leaders

What a great turn out and an even better discussion at the recent Engage for Success – Inspiring Your Leaders event. It is clear that the importance f employee engagement is still not being recognised by leaders across a wide spectrum of organisations, and HR professionals are looking for ways to convince their leaders and managers to commit to giving staff a voice in the quest to drive forwards productivity, retention and customer satisfaction.

The key take-away messages from the event for me were…Read more

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