• Only three FTSE 100 boards include a HR Director or Chief People Officer
  • Only one of the FTSE 100 lists a wellbeing executive on its leadership team

Only three percent of FTSE 100 companies list a Human Resource (HR) Director or Chief People Officer (or related titles) on their board, whilst only one of the FTSE 100 lists a wellbeing executive on their leadership team. This lack of HR influence at the top table of FTSE 100 companies comes despite job vacancies reaching an all-time high and an industry wide skills shortage hindering business growth.

The research was conducted by wellbeing and performance experts, GoodShape whose own data reveals another significant challenge facing HR and leadership: the staggering impact of poor mental health on UK businesses. Mental health-related absences cost UK businesses an estimated £17 billion during the pandemic with 125 million lost working days.

81 of the FTSE 100 companies published their leadership team on their website. Of those, 40 list a Human Resources Director (or equivalent), 31 list a Chief People Officer (or related title) and just one list a wellbeing executive on the leadership team.  Three had broader roles that included talent and culture responsibilities. With the role of the Human Resource Department fundamental to shaping the future of organisations – ensuring diversity and inclusion, eradicating presenteeism, protecting staff wellbeing and removing unconscious bias – it is surprising there isn’t more adequate representation.


Organisations need to shift away from prioritising financial leadership over people leadership. It’s an antiquated view that focusing on profit rather than people will lead to a healthier company.  Yet this approach continues to pervade across UK PLC,said Alun Baker, CEO of GoodShape.

“For too long, employees have lacked the same attention that businesses give to their equipment, vehicles, or buildings. It’s time to level up, and authenticity is key. Wellbeing washing will only jeopardise an organisation’s talent pool and future performance.”


Working with Ipsos, GoodShape published a comprehensive view of wellbeing at UK PLC, which revealed that 80% of managers and HR professionals believe senior leaders take the issue of employee wellbeing seriously. However, there is little definition or ownership of wellbeing and insufficient training. Alarmingly, almost a third (27%) believe that employee wellbeing initiatives have no effect on financial performance.

Other findings from GoodShape’s Why Employee Wellbeing Isn’t Working Report. And What You Need To Do About It report include:

  • Post-pandemic, UK businesses plan to roll back “much needed” employee wellbeing policies, raising concerns that wellbeing washing is happening.  Almost two thirds (66%) think remote working will be rolled back, with 57% saying the same for flexible working. More than half (56%) believe mental health initiatives will be cut and 63% believe their company will withdraw occupational health services.
  • Most Managers and HR Professionals say that the current responsibility for administering wellbeing programmes rests with HR (54%). Only 7% believe it sits at board level.
  • HR professionals and Middle Managers report that both current (62%) and prospective employees (49%) are asking more of them and their company to support their wellbeing.
  • Very few managers and HR professionals have reliable data to measure the true impact of mental and physical illness on an organisation with only 16% citing insights as their biggest priority.


HR and CEO Leadership Coach Peter Ryding said the findings were ‘disappointing’:

“I welcome this important research, but the findings are disappointing.  In my career as a CEO and Turnaround CEO, which saw me rescue 12 companies from bankruptcy, working closely with HR leaders proved absolutely critical.  Their input is essential to get the best from investment in absolutely anything else and it’s one of the fundamental principles in my coaching work with HRDs, CFOs and CEOs – and the wellbeing of employees is paramount.

“If we didn’t know this already, the pandemic underlined the value HR brings to top businesses, yet few wellbeing HR leaders are on the boards of some of Britain’s top companies.  This needs to change, HR must be involved at all levels if a business is to evolve, thrive and grow – and the HRD Pathfinder Club project is working to increase the number of HR Leaders who go later on to become CEOs through free coaching, mentoring and networking.  The FTSE100 should be leading, not following on this.”




FTSE 100 Research

All data is based on material published on FTSE 100 company websites.  Positions registered as Human Resources (HR), Head of People and/or Wellbeing and Talent in their title on the Executive/ Senior Leadership team or the Board have been included in this research. Individuals with role descriptions referencing these terms but with a different title were not included. For positions in a senior leadership team, this research only applies to the 81% of the FTSE 100 who published senior leadership teams on their website. The research was conducted on 19 May 2022.


Why Employee Wellbeing Isn’t Working. And What You Need To Do About It.

A comprehensive review of over 750 managers, HR professionals and C-suite executives. GoodShape commissioned Ipsos to conduct a major review across a range of sectors, industries and regions. Between August and November 2021 Ipsos surveyed 397 Middle Managers, 311 HR professionals via an online survey and conducted qualitative interviews with 60 C-suite executives to understand their views on employee wellbeing.


GoodShape absence days and estimated cost to UK employers

All data is taken from GoodShape’s proprietary database of workplace absences which covers more than 750,000 employee records. Each industry sector included features a minimum of 4,900 employees. To calculate the cost to UK employers, GoodShape used a UK average salary estimate of £31,285 for 2022 and 2021 based on figures from Statista. UK job figures of 35.131 million for 2022 and 34.458 million for 2021 were drawn from the Office for National Statistics.


About GoodShape

GoodShape transforms the way organisations manage their employee health and wellbeing using a unique mix of clinical expertise and technology. With over a billion data points and 23 million days of absence data, GoodShape’s proprietary database is the largest single resource of insight into work-related illness and wellbeing in the UK.  GoodShape partners with big-name businesses across the UK – from FTSE 100 companies to NHS Trusts – to help leaders take a proactive and preventative approach to workforce wellness.  GoodShape is part of MARCOL, an investment company that has a special focus on global healthcare services. For more information, please visit https://www.goodshape.com/