Over 90% of companies investing in employee health and wellbeing have seen workforce productivity increase and an improvement in workforce relations, according to a survey by Make UK.

“With an alarming backdrop of ever-increasing skills shortages, rapid technological change and an ageing workforce”, the manufacturers’ organisation said, “manufacturers are investing more than ever before in their employees’ health and wellbeing.”

Counselling, health-screening and mental health first-aiders are the norm in factories across the UK with modern and flexible working opportunities sitting at the heart of British industry, it went on.

Wellbeing is now part of the core commitment of manufacturers to their staff as 85% see it as their duty to encourage and promote physical and mental wellbeing.

As well as increased productivity, manufacturing companies also saw a reduction in absenteeism alongside a strengthening of staff retention as a return for wellbeing expenditure on staff.

Tim Thomas, Make UK’s director of Labour Market and Skills Policy said: “There is a clear message from manufacturers that they realise a healthy and happy workforce is an effective one. Employers have also recognised that jobs within their businesses should be flexible and include career development and flexible working pathways in order that they retain staff.”

All manufacturers are investing hard cash in health and wellbeing to some extent, the survey found, with the largest companies investing the most — over £30,000 annually.

“With 10% of the manufacturing workforce due to retire in the next three years and the pressures of new immigration rules post-Brexit, skilled workers have never been more important,” Mr Thomas reminded employers.

Comment from David Price, CEO and workplace wellbeing expert at Health Assured

Most employers will agree that people are their greatest asset; therefore, it makes sense that businesses are investing a considerable amount of time and money into formulating effective employee wellbeing strategies.

Aside from the obvious benefits to morale and productivity, wellbeing initiatives are a useful way of remaining competitive when it comes to attracting and retaining the best talent.

In today’s job market, any advantage is key and previous research has suggested that work-life balance continues to increase in importance among potential job seekers.

Therefore, employers should review their existing offerings and consider where any improvements can be made to promote greater employee wellbeing.

Last reviewed 17 January 2020