GRiD research for Mental Health Awareness Week 18 May: employers say supporting mental, physical, financial and social wellbeing is good for business

The majority of employers believe that looking after the mental, physical, financial and social wellbeing of staff is good for business as well as for staff, according to research* from Group Risk Development (GRiD), the industry body for the group risk protection sector. 

Supporting the mental health of staff, such as by offering access to counselling, topped the list as being most beneficial to the business itself. Over four fifths (81 per cent) of employers believe it is good for business to look after the mental wellbeing of their workforce, and this represents a real joining of the dots between employee wellbeing and business goals. 

The findings are from a Group Risk Development (GRiD) survey amongst 500 HR decision makers, that researched how organisations support their staff: 

  • 81% of employers believe it is good for business to look after the mental wellbeing of their workforce. 
  • 78% of employers believe it is good for business to look after the physical wellbeing of their workforce, including measures such as fast-track access to a physiotherapist or chiropractor. 
  • 77% of employers believe it is good for business to look after the financial wellbeing of their workforce, examples of which include paying an income if staff are unable to work through illness, injury or disability. 
  • 73% of employers believe it is good for business to look after the social wellbeing of their workforce, such as encouraging social connections and supporting a sense of belonging. 

Although the research was undertaken pre COVID-19, the pandemic is a reality check of the absolutely vital role that employers can play in the wellbeing of the nation as a whole. With many staff in self-isolation or in lockdown with just a few other people around them, employers are very much at the centre of individuals’ wellbeing. 

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Group Risk Development (GRiD) said: “There is no better way for employers to demonstrate kindness this Mental Health Awareness Week than to provide comprehensive mental health support. These are unparalleled times and employers that show understanding and compassion during an employee’s time of need, whether that be in the midst of this pandemic or a crisis of a more personal nature, will win the loyalty and commitment of their staff. And of course, mental wellbeing doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Supporting physical, financial and social wellbeing is part and parcel of achieving good mental health. 

In times pastless-informed employers may have regarded looking after the health and wellbeing of staff as being a drain on company resources and not something that would yield results for the business directly. However, the research points to a much more positive outlook, showing that businesses see a direct link between supporting the wellbeing of staff and the benefits to their business, with the tangible benefits of increased engagement and productivity topping the list:  

  • 48% of employers said it demonstrates care for staff, and engenders loyalty and engagement 
  • 47% said it increases engagement 
  • 41% said it increases productivity 
  • 40% said it can mitigate the number and length of absences 
  • 38% said it was integral to the company ethos 
  • 28% said it helped them differentiate from their competitors, and helps recruitment and retention 

Moxham continued: “Today, employers appreciate much more fully the link between supporting the wellbeing of staff and the benefits to their business. Its really heartening that businesses understand that kindness doesn’t cost – in fact the opposite is true. Employers see that looking after the health and wellbeing of employees can result in very real benefits for the business. 

“Businesses that have joinedup thinking about these issues, are much more likely to invest in supporting the health and wellbeing of their staffAnd group risk products provide some of the best ways to do this, incorporating comprehensive benefits for physical, financial, social and mental wellbeing, so can really help employers offer holistic support.”