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UK firms struggling to implement a wellbeing strategy

For the last couple of days at HP Towers, we’ve been busy reading the “Growing the health and well-being agenda: From first steps to full potential” report released by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) this week.  The standout figure from the report was that the average cost of absence is now £554 per employee annually.  It also found that just 8% of organisations have a wellbeing strategy that supports the wider organisational strategy.

Almost 40% of employees said that they are under “excessive pressure” at work at least once a week, with 43% saying that long hours are part of the organisation’s culture.  And yet wellbeing is taken into account in business decisions only to a little extent, or not at all, in the majority (57%) of cases.  The majority of employers are more reactive than proactive in their approach to wellbeing (61%).

The report calls on employers to shift from one-off wellbeing initiatives to a proactive employee wellbeing programme based on good people management, leadership and culture.

The key recommendations for employers include:

  • Implement a wellbeing strategy that is preventative and proactive. Promote good physical and mental health and “good work”.
  • Train managers to have the skills to implement policies and handle difficult conversations with staff in a sensitive and effective way.
  • Create a healthy culture with commitment and buy-in from senior leaders and managers.

At HP Towers, we very much welcome this report. Whilst the recommendations above may not be enough to radically transform how employees feel at work, they would be a great start.  Health and wellbeing will continue to rise sharply up the agenda’s for most organisations in the UK.  However, there is still lots of scope for a wider and more integrated implementation of employee wellbeing initiatives in the workplace.

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