Wellbeing at work: Why are so many organisations still not listening to their people?

In the 2018 Human Capital Trends Report from Deloitte, two-thirds of organisations listed wellbeing initiatives as a ‘critical part of their employment brand and culture.’ This indication that many employers are focussed on improving and supporting employee wellbeing is encouraging – though further research shows that organisations still have a long way to go in becoming truly supportive, inclusive and responsive to the needs of employees. 

Jobs site CV-Library surveyed 1,200 workers, exploring the mental-health-related experiences of UK employees. 14.1% of their respondents shared that they were living with mental health problems – and 89% of individuals said that these issues affected their working life.

Despite this, many of the employees who participated in the research didn’t feel they could share this with their employers. 60.2% of participants said that they would feel embarrassed discussing the state of their mental health with their employer, for a multitude of reasons. 64% feared their employer would judge them; 46% were concerned that disclosing this information would ‘make them look weak;’ and, sadly, 37% feared they would lose their job as a result.

What are organisations doing to support their people?

In a survey of almost 3,000 British workers, the 2018 UK Workplace Stress Survey from Perkbox found that 59% of adults experienced stress as a result of their work – and 22% felt disengaged with their work due to this. 45% of participants told PerkBox that their place of work didn’t have anything in place to help with employees’ stress levels, or improve mental wellbeing (with just 8% providing counselling services to employees).

The research from CV-Library told a similar story; 31.7% felt that their workplace wasn’t supportive of mental health, and three-quarters believed that UK organisations are ‘nowhere near as supportive as they should be.’

While some organisations are taking steps to improve and support the wellbeing of their employees, it seems that many are failing to listen to what their people actually want. In the Human Capital Trends Report, 86% of employees stated that they would value a flexible working schedule – though only 50% have access to this option. 21% of organisations provided mental health counselling, despite 60% feeling that this would be beneficial. A further 67% wanted a designated office space for wellness, though this was only available to 27%.

Stop assuming, start listening

Although it’s apparent that some organisations are taking measures to improve and support the wellbeing of their employees, mounting research shows that many aren’t implementing initiatives that employees would truly value. Rather than assuming what employees need, it’s vital that organisations listen to their people and take action to support them in the right ways. The CIPD advises that ‘employees need to feel that they can reach out for help in the first place, and the key to that is cultivating an open and safe environment, with line managers well-equipped to have those sometimes difficult conversations.’

What does your organisation do to improve and support your wellbeing? Do you have access to services that you find valuable? Let’s keep the conversation going via Twitter, Facebook or in the comments section below.

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Last year, Business in the Community partnered with Public Health England to create the Mental Health Toolkit for Employers. You can download the full toolkit here, to help develop an approach that works for your workplace.






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