Why investing in employee wellbeing is good for business

Do you take the wellbeing of your employees seriously or is it just a tick box exercise so you can include it in your annual report and say “job done”?

If it’s the latter, then it might be time for a re-think because new research suggests that companies that take employee wellbeing seriously could enjoy a real competitive advantage and perform better than those that don’t.

The link between staff wellbeing and company performance

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The research was carried out by the University of Oxford’s Wellbeing Research Centre and used crowd-sourced data from the jobs platform Indeed to look at the potential link between staff wellbeing and business performance in quoted US companies.

Titled Workplace Wellbeing and Firm Performance, the working paper was published in May and concluded: “We find that higher levels of wellbeing generally predict higher firm valuations, higher return on assets, higher gross profits, and better stock market performance.”

While the research is ongoing, this was one of the biggest studies carried out so far and provides a strong indicator of the commercial significance of providing wellbeing support.

The paper’s main finding, that “there may be strong business-related reasons to invest in employee wellbeing”, is a reminder to all companies to look again at how they invest in and support the people who work for them.

They say people are your greatest asset. The data from this work suggests there’s a lot of truth in that.

Further insight into the potential link

While not on the same scale as the Oxford study, a survey conducted for us at Frog Systems by YouGov also sheds light on the issue.

We asked 1000 employers and 2000 employees in the UK about their approach to employee wellbeing and the results were published in our report Exploring The Disconnect of Employee Wellbeing.

One of the main findings of our report was that 24.2% of the companies questioned said they spent absolutely nothing, zero pounds, on specific wellbeing support for their employees.  Conversely, employees told us that they wanted support for a wide range of issues including stress & anxiety, cost of living, and grief & loss.

The conversations we have had with HR managers and wellbeing leads subsequently, reveal a high level of frustration when trying to get the importance of staff wellbeing understood at senior management or board level.

Time to change the narrative

Earlier this year we held an Executive Wellbeing Forum in London where we explored this disconnect.

The panel of senior business leaders in attendance agreed that many companies are not realising the value of having a happy, healthy and engaged workforce – a workforce that is well and feels good about itself and therefore thrives.

Employee wellbeing is still too often seen as a cost to business rather than as a potential boost to financial performance.

Henrietta Jowitt, an advisor to Mind Forward Alliance, the global not-for-profit membership organisation transforming workplace culture into one that supports the mental health of its employees, expanded on this in her keynote speech.

A supporter of the work being done in Oxford, she told our audience, “There is a direct correlation between your employees’ wellbeing and the overall wellbeing capital within your organisation, your bottom line.

“This is not an extra. This has to be integrated into your business strategy.”

She urged to companies to make employee wellbeing a measurable foundation of the ‘S’ within their Environment, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) strategies.

Supporting the business case for employee wellbeing

Estimates suggest that for every £1 invested in supporting employees an employer will receive an average return of £5.

With the annual cost of poor mental health for the UK economy reported at £56 billion and with 17 million working days lost to stress, depression and anxiety alone in the UK every year, it is becoming clear that employee wellbeing support is no longer just a good weapon to have in the war for talent, it could be critical to long-term business success.

Frog Systems offers an affordable support solution. Our employee wellbeing platform Ashia provides in-depth anonymised data to help you understand what help your employees really need.

Incorporating the features you would expect from your favourite streaming services, Ashia provides 16 wellbeing channels packed with lived experience videos, podcasts, interviews and webinars to help your employees navigate life’s challenges.

Book a demo today to find out more.