UK manufacturing firms risk losing top talent due to poor mental wellbeing support, says report

01 February 2021

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More than a third of manufacturing companies in the UK have seen an employee move on because their mental wellbeing wasn’t being looked after, with nearly a quarter losing a key member of their workforce, according to new research from not-for-profit healthcare provider, Benenden Health.

The survey of UK employers and employees revealed that 34% of manufacturing companies have experience of an employee leaving their company because their mental wellbeing wasn’t cared for, with 21% saying they had lost a really valuable staff member, suggesting businesses could face a staff retention crisis as employees struggle with increasing mental health demands.

The research underlined the importance workers in the sector place on mental health provision in the workplace, with more than half of manufacturing workers (51%) saying they would seek a new job if their mental wellbeing was not being supported by their employer. Some 55% of workers also said a supportive mental wellbeing policy would increase the likelihood of them joining a new company.

Benenden Health, which has launched a new report looking at the impact of poor mental wellbeing on the country’s workforce, asked employees of UK businesses to consider the impact of their mental wellbeing throughout their working life, rather than solely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With nearly half of workers (49%) in the sector saying their job had become more stressful in the last two years, Benenden Health is encouraging manufacturing firms to engage with their employees to understand their mental wellbeing requirements. This could ultimately prevent them from leaving the business, saving on training and recruitment costs and preserving a strong workforce.

The research also highlighted a disparity between how employers’ priorities are perceived. Just over a quarter (29%) of employees working in manufacturing believe that the mental wellbeing of employees is a big priority for their employer and that the business genuinely cares about the issue, with 57% of employers in the sector saying they genuinely care about the mental wellbeing of their employees.

Yet just under half (45%) of employers in the manufacturing sector said that they have asked employees what they would like to see from the company in terms of mental wellbeing support, potentially impacting on the necessary and appropriate provision of resources.

Bob Andrews, CEO at Benenden Health said: “It is concerning that so many employers in the manufacturing industry have reported losing good staff due to poor mental wellbeing provision, something that employees clearly consider important, and which could be creating a perfect storm for UK businesses.

The data highlights a missed opportunity for companies to listen to their employees and promote good mental wellbeing within their organisation, as this can have a real positive effect not only on the health of employees but also on absence rates, productivity, recruitment and retention.

Businesses who do not take an interest in strengthening their mental wellbeing provision also risk missing the opportunity to access a talent pool that would be loyal to a company that prioritises positive mental wellbeing.

It’s important that employers don’t just talk the talk when it comes to mental wellbeing, but also put things into practice to support their staff. It’s not too late though. I hope these findings will encourage businesses to think again about how they approach wellbeing within their organisation and make their workplace an even better place to be.

Benenden Health enables businesses to offer affordable, high quality, private healthcare to every employee. This includes round the clock care such as 24/7 GP and Mental Health helplines, plus access to services such as Physiotherapy and Medical Treatment so employees can have peace of mind that they can ask for help whenever they need it. As a not-for-profit organisation, Benenden Health offers support to its 800,000+ members at the same affordable cost of just £11.50 per employee, per month.

For more information about Benenden Health and to download its new report, ‘The elephant that never left the office: Why stigma is still preventing employees from telling their boss the truth about their mental wellbeing in the workplace’ at: https://www.benenden.co.uk/mwr2020


About the survey
Survey carried out on 1,008 UK working employees (non-furloughed) and 1,003 UK business owners and directors by Censuswide in May-June 2020, including 62 employers in the manufacturing industry, and 65 employees in the sector.

About Benenden Health
Benenden Health is a not-for-profit organisation, founded in 1905 with the purpose of people joining together to help pay for medical care. It is one of the UK’s longest serving and most respected mutual healthcare societies, offering an affordable alternative to health insurance to more than 800,000 members. Many UK businesses have also chosen to offer Benenden Health membership as part of their employee benefits package, with the organisation named as the UK’s most trusted provider of corporate healthcare by Moneywise in 2019.


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