Invest in workforce for a healthy profit, businesses urged
Businesses in Wolverhampton are being encouraged to invest in the health and wellbeing of their workforce.
The City of Wolverhampton Council has launched its Well in Profit initiative, designed to give local businesses the tools and expertise they need to invest in the wellbeing of their employees – and also attract new customers.
Evidence suggested that investing in employee wellbeing makes financial sense, as it helps retain valued staff – the average cost of filling a vacancy is estimated to be between £4,000 and £6,000 – while an estimated 70 million work days are lost each year due to mental health problems in the UK. Presenteeism, whereby employees work but are underproductive due to poor emotional wellbeing, is estimated to cost the UK economy £15bn annually.
Well in Profit brings together information on a range of steps employers can take to improve the health and wellbeing of staff.
It includes Mental Health First Aid Training, showing employers how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide help on a first aid basis, and support from the West Midlands Combined Authority's Thrive Programme.
Businesses can also improve productivity and staff morale by booking a work-place workout, with a qualified instructor from the City of Wolverhampton Council's WV Active leisure centre visiting to provide advice on keeping fit and healthy and leading gentle exercise sessions.
When people are worried about money they can be distracted at work and their health and relationships can suffer, and businesses are being encouraged to help their staff be money smart. To this end, Wolverhampton's Citizen's Advice Bureau will be holding a special training session next week to help businesses support their employees to stay on top of their finances.
Well in Profit also offers ways in which organisations can drum up new business by improving the customer experience, including advice around becoming dementia friendly and providing greater support for people with autism.
There are around 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and by becoming dementia friendly retailers can build on and retain existing custom. Equally, a number of retailers have begun holding "autism hours", where lights are dimmed and music turned down for the benefit of those with the spectrum disorder which affects around one in 100 people in Wolverhampton.
There is also support for businesses which want to become adoption and foster-friendly employer and do more to retain valuable and experienced staff who care for the city’s most vulnerable children, as well as financial incentives for businesses to employ care leavers as apprentices.
Councillor Hazel Malcolm, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “Research suggests that the average person will spend a total of 12 years at work during their lifetime, so it is vitally important that employers do all they can to support the health and wellbeing of their staff.
“The Well in Profit initiative is designed to help them do this, and the benefits are two-fold; not only will they have a well-motivated, more productive workforce, but they will also stand out from the crowd as an employer of choice.”
Meanwhile, small businesses in Wolverhampton have until Friday (28 September) to sign up for the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA)’s Thrive at Work programme, which is offering grants of up to £12,000 to help employers boost productivity by improving staff health and wellbeing.
It offers a free toolkit, support, advice and accreditation for businesses with 10 to 250 employees across Wolverhampton and the West Midlands. Supt Sean Russell, Director of Implementation for Health and Wellbeing at the WMCA, said: "We want to equip businesses with the right tools to help look after their employees’ health and wellbeing, and, in turn, look after their business.”
For more information about Thrive at Work, and to sign up for the trial, please visit www.wmca.org.uk/what-we-do/thrive/thrive-at-work