Employers need to reshape workplace wellbeing support

With burnout the new workplace pandemic, employee wellbeing is establishing itself firmly in responsible employers’ value propositions as a key aspect of recruitment, retention and engagement strategies.

Colleagues meditating in the office
At its annual conference in November, the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, urged employers to build a more responsible and people-centric world of work.Yet new research by Wellbeing Partners, a clinical expert in employee mental health, reveals that almost half of HR managers (45%) have considered leaving their current roles due to the pressure of dealing with employee mental health and burnout.As concerning is that the same research shows that 90% of HR managers are currently noticing signs of burnout in their workforces. Nearly half of HR (49%) say their employees are struggling to find motivation and stay focused, while 42% agree that employees appear regularly tired or drained.A third (33%) also say that employees seem to care less about work and 28% feel that employees are finding tasks overwhelming or uninteresting, or appear resentful or cynical towards work and their own colleagues (26%).
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HR burnout intensifies

The survey of 200 UK HR managers also reports that HR is struggling to set boundaries for their own psychological safety when dealing with the workplace wellbeing crisis. “While HR has a duty of care to support employees suffering with their mental health, they often neglect to look after themselves,” said Lou Campbell, Programmes Director at Wellbeing Partners.“Knowing the skills around setting boundaries and signposting to appropriate support is even more vital in a time when attracting and retaining staff is highly competitive."Organisations must support HR to reduce the risk of key HR talent leaving their organisation as they deal with surging levels of employee burnout.”

A cross-sector issue

At a sectoral level, a report from law mental health charity, LawCare, also found that people working in the legal profession in the UK are at high risk of burnout, with 69% having experienced mental ill-health. According to the Legal Sector Workers United (LSWU) union, seven in ten working said their job has a negative impact on their mental health and wellbeing. This while one in four law firms surveyed had no mental health support available for their staff.At a time of record salaries for new recruits in law, Robbie Weston, Executive Director at Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing (Howden) said employee expectations go beyond salary, and that law firms must consider their overall value proposition to new recruits, particularly as the war for talent is heating up.“Law firms need to proactively support employee health and wellbeing, including mental health, and include this in their wider company offering if they want to attract the right people. The war for talent is likely to grow fiercer this year, so making changes now to improve company culture and ensuring employee benefits are fit for purpose is vital for recruiting and retaining the best people.”

Offering employees the support they need

Listening more closely to employee needs could help employers become better mental health and wellbeing champions, and ultimately signpost employees more effectively to the right healthcare service provider.recent study by AXA Global Healthcare compared the benefits globally mobile employees wanted on assignment as opposed to those their employer thought they wanted.While HR decision-makers felt assignees wanted travel insurance (64%) and accommodation costs (62%) most, mobile employees actually prioritised international health insurance (39%) and income protection (38%).Responsible employers, driven by their employees, are recognising the need to be mindful of individual’s unique personal circumstances in this emerging health and wellbeing arena, as well as global mobility and HR's role in advocating for this.“We are now in the midst of a candidate-driven job market, and many have seen a shift in their expectations when it comes to the responsibilities that the employer should take on,” says Caroline Drew, Clinical Director of Latus Health, an occupational health provider. “Businesses that don’t adapt to meet these wants and needs can wave goodbye to attracting and retaining top talent. “By investing in the health of their employees, businesses can ensure that they are providing competitive benefits and not falling behind amongst the challenges of the great resignation, or the great reevaluation."

If you have a people-centred approach to driving success across your organisation and understand the importance of wellbeing for talent to flourish, then why not enter the Think Global People and Relocate Awards. There are ten categories to choose from. Join us on 9 June for the results and the Future of Work Festival.

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