There are many potential risks your business may face. For example, legal risk, economic risk, reputational risk and people risk. Your employees are your business’s most important asset which is why it is so important to ensure their health, safety and wellbeing.
Your legal duty of care
Every employer knows that they have a legal ‘duty of care’ to their staff whereby they must abide by the relevant health & safety and employment law. Their duty of care may require them to:
- Clearly define jobs and undertake risk assessments
- Ensure a safe work environment
- Provide adequate training and feedback on performance
- Ensure that staff do not work excessive hours
- Provide areas for rest and relaxation
- Protect staff from bullying or harassment, either from colleagues or third parties
- Protect staff from discrimination
- Provide communication channels for employees to raise concerns
- Consult employees on issues which concern them.
In addition, for all business with five or more employees, the HSE requires you to put in place an employee health & safety policy; and appoint a ‘competent person’ responsible for ensuring the business meets their legal requirements.
Boost employee wellbeing and reap the rewards
Going beyond keeping your employees safe from harm, and actively looking out for their physical, emotional and financial wellbeing is not just the morally right thing to do – it makes good business sense too.
It can help build trust and reinforce your commitment to your employees, helping to:
- Improve staff retention
- Boost productivity – research suggests if people are happy at work they’ll word harder and be more productive: by up to 12%1
- Increase employee engagement
How you can help support employee wellbeing
The working population is getting older, creating more diverse populations of staff – all with differing needs. But one thing remains the same. Absenteeism is still a big problem for employers. In fact, 140 million days of work are lost each year in the UK due to sickness absence.2
The HSE has a strong focus on prevention for health & safety and the same should be encouraged when it comes to employee wellbeing; identifying problems early and taking prompt action to support your staff as quickly as possible. So how can you do this?
- Absence management training and systems can help identify problems, or trends, so you can take prompt action;
- Ensure you comply with health & safety requirements and your legal responsibilities;
- Health screening can help detect potential health issues before they become major problems. In light of the NHS’ recent announcement to scrap routine health “MOTs” for the over-40s your staff will likely value any additional support that you can provide;3
- Private healthcare insurance can support any staff affected for immediate access to diagnosis and treatment to ensure a quick return to work;
- Occupational health can put in place services, controls and measures to get your people back to work in a suitable role as quickly as possible;
- Mental health training can teach managers and first aiders how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide help on a first aid basis. The mental health charity MIND, also provides an array of information and support for mental health at work;
- Employee assistance programmes can deliver support to help maintain the emotional wellbeing of your employees, providing a qualified counselling service to help contain problems and prevent them spiralling out of control.
- Create a workplace wellbeing strategy
Download our latest whitepaper for the 8 steps to plan and implement your own effective workplace wellbeing strategy, or speak to our employee wellbeing and health & safety experts.
This article first appeared on jelf.com.
1 CIPD 2015
3 Health Insurance and Protection, 2019
Marketing communication Jelf19.370