Employees have proven themselves to be an invaluable asset to a business – it’s employees that have kept many afloat over the last two years. But, as more people are prepared to leave their jobs now than ever before, with three out of four employees planning to quit their job this year, business leaders need to step up, argues Danni Rush.

One way to do this is by investing in their employees’ wellbeing. At a time of high-levels of inflation, the cost-of-living crisis and the Ukraine – Russia war, employees are facing many challenges to their financial and mental wellbeing. Businesses that show they care and find ways to help their employees through these difficult times will be the ones that come out on top.

The advantages of a happier workforce

A happy workforce is what business leaders strive for. A happy team tends to be more productive, committed and engaged. Such a team will ensure employees support and encourage each other to perform and excel at work. Thus, inspiring greater loyalty as employees feel they play an integral part to their teams’ success. Not only will teams like this increase a business’s success in terms of its financial performance and productivity, but they’ll also elevate the business’s reputation. These attributes will ensure business leaders are able to retain their top talent and also make some great new hires.

The realities of an unhappy workforce

It certainly won’t be an easy ride if business leaders neglect their employees’ happiness. As it stands, 79 percent of UK workers have experienced poor mental health which costs employers in the UK between £33 billion and £42 billion a year. Unhappy employees who feel their wellbeing is pretty low on their employers list of priorities are more likely to take sick leave and less likely to be productive. This inevitably will lead to higher employee turnover, which is a huge cost to a business – the average employer spends £3,000 and 27 days to hire a new employee.

Ways to practice wellbeing in the workplace

In light of these consequences, many business leaders are starting to look after their employees’ wellbeing. Jane Fraser, Citigroup chief, sent staff a note calling for a “reset” of working life, which included limits on video calls and Credit Suisse gave its junior bankers $20,000 bonuses.

Some business leaders may not see a cash bonus as the most effective way of helping to improve employees’ wellbeing. A wellness day, gift voucher or access to a wellness subscription/hub could be a better option. Virgin Incentives has had success with such a hub while others, such as investment bank Jefferies, has found creative ways to engage its remote workforce by offering employees Pelotons to help them look after their health while working from home.

Employers could also invest in team away days or bonding days as a short-term solution. Not only will away days allow employees to take a break from their normal working week, but it will also help rebuild any lost team spirit, helping employees reconnect with each other.

Better communication = better employee wellbeing

Business leaders can identify what it is their employees want/need by ensuring employees have regular check-ins with their line managers to communicate how they’re feeling and see if there’s anything they’d like to raise. If employees feel they’re conversations with decision makers will make a difference, then they’re likely to flag any concerns they have. This allows employers to react and implement effective strategies to address any potential issues.

The benefits of looking after employees’ wellbeing far outweigh the costs. Employers must understand the importance of having happy and motivated employees to a business’s success and also understand the potential costs if they choose to ignore it. In such a tight economy, where fine margins can place businesses ahead of their competitors, an effective wellness strategy can give you the edge.





Danni is the COO of Virgin Incentives, Virgin Experience Days and Virgin Experience Gifts.