58% of manufacturers spend at least £10,000 on staff wellbeing

spend staff wellbeingMore than half (58%) of UK manufacturers spend between £10,000 and £50,000 on staff wellbeing initiatives, up from a third two years ago, according to research by manufacturers’ organisation Make UK.

Its A healthier manufacturing workforce – wellbeing and work in UK manufacturing report also found that in the last year, 49% of respondents increased their spending on health and wellbeing or kept it at the same level (46%) despite difficult economic conditions.

Two-fifths (40%) saw an increase in staff retention and 25% experienced a decrease in sickness days. Occupational health services were used primarily for workplace adjustments (68%), assessing fitness to work (60%) and to access counselling or other mental health support (58%).

Two-fifths (40%) of respondents also identified mental health issues as the main cause of long-term absence in their business. As a result, health and wellbeing now takes up 30% of training budgets, and 41% train their senior team in health and wellbeing issues, with 54% providing bespoke sessions aimed at embedding this in organisational culture.

Overall, 27% of workers have taken ownership of their own wellbeing by making use of the incentives on offer.

Nearly half (45%) of employers invested in safety display screens, 37% increased their spend on automation, and 36% are using smart PPE equipment as part of their new health and safety measures. One-quarter (25%) use software and devices to monitor health and safety risks and performance.

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Jamie Cater, head of employment and skills policy at Make UK, said: “Investment in workforce wellbeing is more than just a perk for employees; at a time when recruitment and retention still pose a challenge for many manufacturers, it is a critical part of improving productivity.

“Our research showing increasing levels of investment show that the sector understands the benefits of this, but remains on a journey from a culture of simply managing sickness absence to one of actively preventing ill health through a focus on wellbeing. To avoid the risk of more people leaving work due to sickness, the government needs to act.”