In week 13 of his 15 week blog Carl revisits the fourth of Barnett Waddingham’s 6 pillars of employee wellbeing; support.

wellness on a budget

Back in week 6 when I first talked about support I mentioned how I scored a lofty 9 out of 10 in our survey. This was and is due to the nature of the firm I work for, the team I work in and the people I work with.

Hopefully back in week 6 I explained well enough what it is I mean by support and how in fact support is the one pillar that almost encompasses all others. We all want to work for companies that are supportive in our health, in us leading a good work/life balance, in supporting our training needs, and also supportive when we go through difficult times. I think that the majority of companies are pretty good at some of this, but ultimately it is our managers that are the front line to our employees.

They are the ones that need to be better trained in supporting their employees, better trained in what support is available and better trained at referring into these support pathways at the appropriate time. This is where I think the majority of us fail in providing support to our employees.

Here are some statistics from our ‘Why BWell?’ employee wellbeing survey from 2015:

  • 11% said that they felt their direct manager was not approachable and supportive and;
  • 32.2% were undecided as to whether they felt their direct manager was approachable and supportive.
  • 23% of respondents felt as though their employer did not care about them.

Perhaps unsurprisingly lower grade employees have the biggest concern over how supportive their employer is with 33% of those earning under £20,000 saying their employer did not care about them compared to 12% for those earning over £75,000.

I think the last statistic is a very concerning one. We only surveyed a relatively small population so I am not suggesting this will be true of all workforces - but the survey population is big enough that we should want to find out if the same is true of our employees. Imagine if you discovered that nearly 1 in 4 of your employees felt as though your company didn’t care about them. Even in a transient workforce this number would be ridiculously high.

As well as manager training, which is vitally important, I think employers also need to be better at making the support networks they have in place more accessible to employees. Placing information in the darkest corners of an intranet site is not particularly helpful if an employee is actively seeking support. As always though, don’t make any assumptions that there is or isn’t a problem for your workforce.

It is important to ask your employees: if it is the case that a large minority don’t feel as though your company cares about them I would then want to know why. Only when you know the problem can you ultimately fix it.

Read Carl's first blog on health HERE

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