Indeed, as Sir Richard Branson noted,

“Dealing with a global health crisis has made employers see even more clearly just how important it is to have healthy employees – and the responsibility they have to look after their people’s wellbeing.”

To assess current perceptions of wellbeing, we have taken a deep dive into our benchmark data, looking at historical trends as well as considering some ideas and strategies for other organisations looking to better promote wellbeing.

What impacts on employee wellbeing?

A UK Government Foresight Report cites four primary factors in influencing our wellbeing at work:

·       Workload

·       Work-life balance

·       Work environment

·       Life-events.

Just how important is wellbeing?

According to Deloitte, for every £1 invested by an employer in wellbeing initiatives, they get £5 back in reduced absence, presenteeism and staff turnover. Whoever you are, that’s a compelling ROI.

Moreover, we found wellbeing to be a key driver across each of the three indices – engagement, enablement and empowerment – we use to measure employee experience in our surveys.

Our analysis of key drivers across all organisations we work with, found that wellbeing was among the top five drivers in all three of these indices.

Key drivers of employee experience
Top drivers of employee experience across ETS benchmark

What does wellbeing data show?

To answer this question, we looked at current scores from our 2022 benchmark and compared this with the four preceding years to identify any trends in employee perceptions of wellbeing.

Obviously with the pandemic punctuating this period, we expected that this would have impacted upon perceptions of wellbeing. Here’s what we found…

“This company cares about my wellbeing”
% Favourable (agree) scores from ETS benchmark

We can see that, before the onset of Covid, scores were consistent but spiked sharply during the height of the first wave of the pandemic. We could reasonably assume here that this was due to leaders and companies actively talking about and promoting wellbeing in a way that they perhaps weren’t previously.

“I am usually able to cope with the demands of my work”
% Favourable (agree) scores from ETS benchmark

What’s immediately apparent here is that the trend and trajectory of scores is opposite to the earlier question (This company cares about my wellbeing). And it seems likely again that the impact of the pandemic on how people experienced work had an effect on this, with the lower score possibly due to different working patterns and people remote working while contending with lockdowns and school closures. Certainly, when coupled with the rising scorings in 2021 and 2022, this is a narrative that seems highly plausible.

Elsewhere, a couple of other anecdotal things jumping out from the scores were:

·       Organisations needing to do more to support employees during times of change (score for this in 2018 was 78% and, by 2022, this had dropped to 72%).

·       Employees are now happier with their work-life balance (in 2018, this was 76% and by 2022 it had risen to 80%).

Wellbeing strategy ideas

Investing in the health and wellbeing of employees is an obvious ‘win-win’ for businesses, having a demonstrable impact on their morale and engagement and, in turn boosting a company’s bottom line. But how do you go about improving wellbeing?

Leaders at all levels have an important role to play to setting the culture when it comes to wellbeing and work-life balance. So, focusing on their behaviours and organisational values at a foundational level is important.

But there are also other ‘quicker wins’ and more helpful, practical policies and gestures for organisations to consider too, some of which we have collated in the grid below…

Employee wellbeing ideas
Ideas to promote better employee wellbeing and work-life balance