Worrying News About Health and Safety in the Workplace

Worrying News About Health and Safety in the Workplace

27th August 2015

Leadership consultancy firm Morgan Redwood is dedicated to work with individuals and companies in order to unlock potential and maximise both personal and corporate growth. As such, the company carries out research in order to provide businesses with valuable insights that help to improve business performance. One of the latest research studies carried out by the company is the Wellbeing and Business Performance 2015 project. The results are in and, in a worrying contrast to the company’s research carried out in 2009, the study has revealed some alarming results.

The research was based upon the responses from board directors or heads of HR departments of more than 250 UK businesses in a range of sizes (two thirds of which employed more than 250 people and none employed fewer than 50 people) and across a variety of sectors.

While a majority (a massive 83%) of businesses think staff well-being and business performance are linked, only 46% of businesses regard employee health as an employer’s responsibility and just 5.6% of businesses see wellbeing as Human Resource (HR) priority. In the last such study, 95% of businesses thought that employee health was an employer’s responsibility, so something has clearly gone wrong somewhere over the past six years.

It seems that in the area of staff wellbeing and business performance, only 6.8% felt that performance and well-being were not at all connected – some of these businesses obviously need some education. However, the latest findings indicate a dramatic shift in employer opinion about their responsibilities towards their workforce.

The professional body for HR and People Development, CIPD, reported last year that 40% of employers have seen a rise in stress related absences and reported mental health problems such as depression or anxiety. This makes it really difficult to understand how companies are less inclined to view the well-being of their employees within the remit of their responsibilities. With employee well-being so low on the list of HR priorities (12th on the list) and attracting better talent to the business coming top of the list ((for 39.2% of businesses) followed by reducing staff turnover rates ((36.8%).

This suggests that employers are putting recruitment ahead of taking care of the needs and well-being of existing employees which will only result in poorly treated employees looking for work elsewhere. This is a vicious circle in the making – employees who feel valued are much more likely to remain in their jobs which serves to reduce staff turnover!

Perhaps it’s time for UK businesses from all sectors to take a look at their attitude3s towards employee health and well-being and make some changes. These latest trends are worrying, especially here in the UK where health and safety in the workplace has been improving in recent years, partly due to stringent legislation. Whatever the industry we work in, none of us can afford to ignore these findings and business owners need to be aware that research shows that a healthy and happy workforce will contribute to success with an increase in productivity and efficiency.