Media - Press Releases

A third of workers would consider leaving their job due to poor workplace wellbeing

Research, commissioned by financial protection specialist Unum, reveals the impact of workplace wellbeing on staff loyalty in the Legal, Retail, Accountancy, Media & Advertising, and IT sectors

Employees who feel cared for are 27% more likely to stay with their current employer for over five years compared to employees who feel only adequately or poorly looked after, according to new research.

Workplace Wellbeing – are you doing it right? Part 1: Company culture

Workplace Wellbeing – are you doing it right? Part 2: Working practices

The research from ICM, commissioned by Unum, found that almost a third (30%) of employees said they would consider leaving their job if they didn’t feel cared for by their employer. A further 26% of workers said poor workplace wellbeing would make them less likely to stay with an employer long-term and 21% said this would make them feel less motivated and productive.

Although we might expect workplace wellbeing to have improved post-recession, the picture is mixed. 66% of respondents felt they were well looked after by their employer but more than a third (34%) felt they were only adequately or poorly cared for, and more than a fifth (22%) thought levels of wellbeing had actually got worse over the last three years.

The research found that one of the most tangible ways for companies to show they care is by providing a comprehensive benefits package – especially one that provides support for staff when they fall ill. 65% of respondents said a good benefits package was important to them and 62% specifically highlighted financial support through ill health, making this a bigger factor in staff loyalty than a good bonus or financial provision in old age (both 54%).

It also found that although salary remains a key consideration for employees, softer elements around management and recognition are almost as important. When employees were asked what they felt employers should offer, the following were the highest ranking:

1 Fair and competitive salary 83%
2 Feeling empowered at work 81%
3 Recognition for achievements 80%
4 Good relationships with line managers 79%
5 Feeling part of a team 72%
5 Working reasonable hours 72%

Peter O’Donnell, CEO of Unum said:

"This research shows that workplace wellbeing has a very real business impact for companies in terms of loyalty and retention. And with research we commissioned earlier this year showing staff turnover costs on average £30,614 per employee above £25K per annum, this is an issue employers simply cannot afford to ignore.

"People stay with companies that demonstrate they value – and care for – their employees. One of the most tangible ways to do this is to provide a best practice employee benefits package, including long-term benefits like Income Protection which supports staff financially if they fall ill. Employers should look at their entire benefits offering to help them improve wellbeing and keep their best people."

There are a number of additional factors which can determine how large an impact this ‘wellbeing lag’ has on a business:

  • Women are much more dissatisfied with current levels of wellbeing than men. 42% of women said their employer did not look after staff well compared to just 30% of men. The biggest discrepancy was in how well staff felt their employer would support them financially if they fall ill, with 28% of women saying their employer provides them with no provision for this, compared to just 17% of men.
  • Different generations have very different priorities in the workplace. Younger workers aged 18-34 place far greater importance on career progression, inspiring senior leadership and feeling part of a team than their older co-workers. Meanwhile, the desire for support during ill health and old age becomes stronger as workers get older.
  • Larger companies can learn from SMEs in making staff feel cared for. Nearly a third of employees in large companies (30%) say wellbeing has got worse in the last 3 years compared to just 14% of employees in small companies, and 41% say current levels of wellbeing are only adequate or poor compared to just 26% in SMEs.
  • Different business sectors experience different levels of workplace wellbeing. Employees working in the Legal sector were the most dissatisfied, whilst employees in the Accountancy sector were most satisfied with current levels of wellbeing. However, staff in the Media & Advertising sectors were most likely to consider leaving their employer due to poor wellbeing (12% more likely than employees in the legal sector).
  • Dissatisfied staff are more motivated by salary. The research revealed another potential danger for businesses as dissatisfied employees may be more likely to push for higher salaries in lieu of feeling well looked after by their employer. Staff who felt only adequately or poorly looked after placed less importance on softer elements around management and recognition than their counterparts, but placed higher importance on salary than those who felt well looked after.

Peter O’Donnell, CEO of Unum said:

"It’s important to understand that employees – whether we’re talking about their gender, generation or which sector they work in – have very different needs and expectations of their employer when it comes to wellbeing. Only by understanding the needs of their own employees and tailoring employee benefits accordingly can an employer drive maximum loyalty."

- Ends -