New research finds only 25% of HR decision makers believe mental health and employee wellbeing-initiatives to be a priority for the HR function

Yet 58% of employees feel that a good work/life balance is a priority for them going forward, highlighting a damaging disconnect

Personio, Europe’s leading HR software for SMEs, is calling for businesses to prioritise employee wellbeing alongside company culture – or risk a boom of burnout, and in the worst cases, a talent retention and productivity crisis.

Despite the Covid-19 crisis having put people’s mental and physical wellbeing under immense pressure, the latest research from Personio finds that many businesses have not adapted their practises and principles accordingly. Only 25% of HR decision makers believe that mental health / employee well-being initiatives are a top priority for the HR function over the next 12 months, whilst just 15% stated that workplace culture initiatives were a priority.

These figures stand in stark contrast to the sentiments of employees – who stress that feeling happy and healthy at work is a top priority. 58% of employees state that good work/life balance is a priority, and 39% say that a good workplace culture is a priority for them, indicating a clear disconnect between the priorities of employees and employers.

The research also highlights the importance of employee wellbeing and company culture when it comes to talent retention and productivity. 23% of employees say that worsening work/life balance would encourage them to look for a new job if this were to happen in the next 6 months – and 21% say that a toxic workplace culture would encourage them to look elsewhere.

Zooming in on productivity, 83% of employees state that a good workplace culture helps them to be more productive. Meanwhile, employees say that low levels of motivation and morale (28%) and burnout – from overworking or being ‘always on’ (22%) are the top two factors that negatively impact on their productivity.

Ross Seychell, Chief People Officer at Personio, commented: “After what has been a very difficult period for employees and businesses alike, these findings highlight how important it is for businesses to prioritise their people’s wellbeing, together with their company’s overall culture. Indeed, as we begin to put the worst of the pandemic behind us, employees will once again feel empowered to assess their employment options and look elsewhere if they feel unsatisfied – whether because they’re burned out, or they don’t feel appreciated. The bottom line is that if businesses fail to implement a holistic people strategy that really places all aspects of employee wellbeing at its heart, particularly at this critical juncture, they will face the consequences of employee burnout, discontentment, and in the worst of cases, an exodus of valuable talent – and resulting productivity dive”.

Personio’s full report ‘Counting the Cost: How Businesses Risk a Post Pandemic Talent Drain’ can be downloaded here.

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.