I recently read an article published by HRDirector and it really stood out to me. I have been a huge advocate for mental wellbeing and supporting your staff during these testing times, so the latest statistics concerning employee wellbeing definitely made for a concerning read. Despite the global pandemic beginning 10 months ago, many companies and business leaders seem to have not yet grasped the importance of ensuring employee wellbeing is their number one priority. 

It certainly raises the question: Why is this happening and what can be done to stop this from happening?

The statistics speak for themselves, 42% of UK businesses surveyed have seen an employee move on because their mental wellbeing wasn't being looked after, with 25% reporting they had lost a key member of their workforce. UK businesses could face a staff retention crisis if employee wellbeing is not prioritised immediately. 

The research outlined that 55% of workers surveyed (15 million) suggested they would seek a new job if their mental wellbeing was not being supported by their employer, with 78% of those 15 million between the 18-24 age range. It is very clear that the statistics prove how important mental wellbeing has become and for many, it is a clear "must-have" in working for their ideal employer. Companies can not boast strong salary packages to entice their audience now. It is simply not enough. They must emphasise their mental health support, what resources they have available and how they monitor employee wellbeing. Businesses that don't do this risk missing the opportunity to access a talent pool that could boast strong and loyal employees.  

There is clearly a disparity between how employers' priorities are being perceived too. "Only a third (36%) of workers believe that the mental wellbeing of employees is a big priority for their employer and that the business genuinely cares about the issue, whereas six in ten (58%) employers say they genuinely care about the mental wellbeing of their employees."  The data highlights how employers may believe they care about employee wellbeing - but are they doing enough to show that? It highlights the missed opportunity for companies to sit down and listen to their employees and promote good mental wellbeing within their organisation. Not only is this going to have a good effect on the happiness of their employees, but it will also help with employee absences, productivity, recruitment and retention. 

The most important statistic from this article is 25% of employers reported they had lost a key member of their workforce. Losing any member of staff due to poor mental wellbeing is not good, but the rippling effects of losing a key member of your workforce can really undo a lot of hard work your team are doing. Research has shown that losing a key member of your workforce can take months to replace and there are many hidden costs behind that. During the time it takes to recruit a new hire, the entire team will become less productive. You will run the risk of tasks not being done or being reassigned to a new member of the team with less experience. You also have to consider the costs of recruiting, interviewing and training the new employee. Social media ad costs, headhunting costs, travel expenses, multiple interviews that take the interviewer away from their normal responsibilities, time to train etc. all contribute to hidden costs that soon add up over time. Is this really all worthwhile because an organisation did not put into place the right mental wellbeing strategies to ensure their employee retention remained strong? 

When asked what they would value most from their employer to improve their mental wellbeing, employees revealed that they would like free counselling (46%), mental health sick leave (45%), regular reviews of workload (41%) and a confidential mental wellbeing helpline (35%). There are many things that employers can do to ensure that their employee wellbeing is working and these are only put a few suggestions that go a long way in helping your staff. 

It really does start with prioritising and understanding that your employee's matter and their mental wellbeing must be highly regarded. It has been proven that mental health can be the difference between an individual who is highly productive, motivated, engaged and an individual who is unproductive, demotivated and disengaged with work. Mental wellbeing strategies should be implemented by all businesses, outlining exactly what measures they will put in place and the support that they will provide.