More than one in 10 businesses (12%) do not believe in supporting the emotional and social wellbeing of their staff, research suggests.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, which commissioned the poll, warned that those businesses will feel the consequences at some point – whether through a higher-than-average absence rate, falling productivity or lower staff retention.
“No forward-thinking organisation can afford to ignore the emotional wellbeing of its most valued asset,” she said.
Of the 88% of businesses who do believe they have an emotional duty of care for their employees, the most popular method to support staff is via flexible or agile working, with 43% claiming to offer this.
This was followed by offering work-life balance initiatives (33%), such as encouraging staff to take their lunchbreak away from their desk and deterring a culture of working long or late, and the ability to take days off to support mental health (31%).
Some businesses offer access to professional support, such as counselling (27%), stress management initiatives (19%) and mental health initiatives like mindfulness training (18%).
Moxham said group life assurance often includes access to an employee assistance programme which will support staff with day-to-day emotional wellbeing and access to counselling, neither of which are claim-dependent.
“It’s vital that both employers and employees know they have access to this added-value support, as for many it really is an untapped resource that is not being used to its full potential,” she added.
Lee Lovett, managing director, group protection at AIG Life, warned that companies that don’t proactively support employees’ health and wellbeing could see their own productivity, as well as employees’ trust in them, suffer.
“That doesn’t need to happen – group protection providers give employers access to the tools to help support the varying needs of their employees,” he said.