The UK Employment Report was released yesterday and makes for some interesting reading. A few of the key take homes are:
- January to March 2022 estimates show a decrease in the unemployment rate, while the employment and inactivity rates increased, compared with the previous three-month period (October to December 2021).
- Total hours worked increased compared with the previous three-month period but are still below pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels.
- The UK employment rate was estimated at 75.7%, 0.1 percentage points higher than the previous three-month period and 0.9 percentage points lower than before the coronavirus pandemic (December 2019 to February 2020).
- The UK unemployment rate was estimated at 3.7%, 0.3 percentage points lower than the previous three-month period, and 0.2 percentage points below pre-coronavirus pandemic levels.
- The UK economic inactivity rate was estimated at 21.4%, 0.1 percentage points higher than the previous three-month period, and 1.1 percentage points higher than before the coronavirus pandemic.
Nothing drives employee loyalty more than supporting an employee when they need it most, and I’d argue that with the current cost of living crisis and increased pressure on staff to deliver in an ever-uncertain climate, now is that time. Businesses who keep the employee at the centre of decisions will be the winners in the short and medium term, and if you don’t win the short to medium term, you’re unlikely to get a chance to compete in the long term.
Most businesses would say that employee wellbeing is high on their agenda and that they have initiatives in place to support that claim, such as an Employee Assistance Programme or a bike to work salary sacrifice scheme, or similar. These initiatives are great, but in the current climate few employees would feel these initiatives are giving them the support they really need to deal with the day-to-day and month-to-month pressures they face. Return on investment for wellbeing in the workplace essentially means, take away employees’ worries so that they can focus on producing great work. Most people report great wellbeing when they feel like they are supported by their workplace, when they feel like they are completing work tasks to a high level and when they have few worries outside of their control at home.
How to support employee wellbeing
Solving this may seem like a tall order, but a couple of simple tweaks can go a long way. First of all consider what causes your employees the most worry in the current climate. Likely it will be around the increased costs they face. Second, consider what initiatives you can implement as a company which will help employees save on day to day expenditure, to reduce worries, increase wellbeing and lead to an uneven return on investment for the business in terms of employee loyalty and productivity. Examples of low cost wellbeing initiatives businesses can implement easily include:
- Partner up with a local gym to gain discount memberships for employees – average annual saving per employee – £144.00
- Give employees access to a Connected Health Platform (Such as YODHA) – average annual saving on health appointments – £130
- Offer an employee rewards and discounts platform (such as Reward Me Now) – average annual savings – £466.00
- Increase working hours/location flexibility where appropriate to business performance to reduce travel costs and childcare costs
These are just a few examples, of how by thinking about what the business can do to gain savings for your employees you can help a lot without it costing the business very much at all.
You can view the full UK Employment report here.