Sunday, June 05, 2011

Changing workplace leads to employees feeling less valued

Nearly one in five UK employees feel their workplace has changed in the past year and their employer now cares less about their health and wellbeing, according to research by healthcare provider Simplyhealth.

Increased workloads, failure of employers to manage absence effectively and greater stringency around time off for medical appointments are cited as the main reasons. The public sector is feeling the greater strain as 26% feel their employer cares less, compared to 13% in the private sector.

Simplyhealth's engaging employees through health and wellbeing report, surveyed Managing Directors, Finance Directors and HR Directors, alongside employees, to assess the impact that health and wellbeing has on employee engagement. It found that more than a third of employees felt health and wellbeing was most important at work, ahead of career progression opportunities. It also increases their loyalty, as three quarters of those who felt their employer cares about wellbeing describe themselves as very loyal. In turn, one in ten employees have left an organisation where they didn't feel their employer cared about their health and wellbeing.

James Glover, Sales and Marketing Director, Employer, comments: "Health and wellbeing is highly valued by employees and a key driver in their level of job satisfaction, loyalty and motivation. If employers fail to recognise this, they could lose talented staff when the job market starts to recover.

Simplyhealth can help companies implement an effective wellbeing strategy that caters for their employees' physical and emotional health. The results can improve morale, boost productivity, reduce sickness absence and aid retention."

More than a third of employers (36%) feel they're doing their best in difficult economic times and actually care more about employee health and wellbeing. Yet, only 11% of employees believe this to be the case. Government cuts are having an impact on health and wellbeing as more than a quarter of public sector employers (27%) state they care less about it.

Nick Kemsley Co Director of the Centre for HR Excellence at the Henley Business School says: "Volume of work and a change in the way that employers are managing health and wellbeing issues appear to be impacting employees' views. As structures become ever leaner, and expensive external recruitment is deferred, employees have more work to do. A rebalancing by employers from financial to non financial vehicles for supporting health and wellbeing could be behind this difference in views."

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