Attracting and Retaining Talent through Employee Wellbeing Initiatives

Posted in : HR Updates on 5 February 2020
Emma Kieran
Clarendon Executive
Issues covered:

As the modern workplace becomes more complex and deeply reliant on a network of people, it’s critical for employers to grow a workforce that is talented and engaged. Talent acquisition is important, but retaining your current talent is equally as important. One key factor to achieve both is keeping high levels of employee engagement. While we all know that competitive pay and good benefits factor into an employee’s decision to join and stay at a company, there are many other overlooked desires that are just as important as their salary.

Commitment to Health and Wellbeing

Companies are beginning to realise the importance of offering health and wellbeing benefits which cover physical, mental and financial wellbeing. Promoting wellbeing can help prevent stress, less absenteeism and create positive working environments where individuals and organisations can thrive.  Mental ill-health affects one in five people in Northern Ireland (Business in the community) so it is crucial that organisations provide the right interventions at the right time, as well as encouraging high levels of employee participation and engagement with preventative and wellness programmes.

Figures from the Centre for Mental Health highlighted that mental health issues are costing UK businesses £34.9bn a year and many employers are increasing their support and implementing mental health strategies. If people have good mental health, and feel supported during times of poor mental health, they will feel more motivated, engaged and productive at work. Employers cannot afford to ignore people’s mental health in the workplace. There is the potential to integrate private medical insurance and wellness programme solutions that deliver the best and fastest treatment when staff are sick through the core private medical insurance benefit, but also drive high levels of employee participation in a wellness programme.

Good practice in managing wellbeing includes Prevention (removing or reducing risk), Promotion (ability to recognise and deal with problems) and Intervention (supporting the recovery from the problem). Ensuring the wellbeing of employees is not a luxury but an essential element in corporate life and should be a central concern to all leaders of organisations

Flexible Working

Flexibility has been shown to reduce workplace stress, boost mental wellbeing and encourage productivity. Flexible working relates to an organisation’s working arrangements in terms of the time, location and pattern of working. With more and more people thinking differently about how, when and where they work, flexible working is increasingly helping people access the labour market and stay in work. We now live in a 24-7 world driven by technology and globalisation and demanding lives, commitments and childcare has driven the emergence of alternative shift patterns. There are 6 different types of flexible working - Remote Working, Job Sharing, Compressed Hours, Annualised Hours, Staggered Hours and Flexitime.  In this everchanging world, for workplace flexibility to become a permanent solution, employees need to know that they are encouraged to act upon all flex benefits, developing a culture of trust, and employers need to support remote working by providing the technology that remote workers need to get their job done.

Employee Recognition

Employees not only want good pay and benefits; they also want to be treated fairly, to make a substantial contribution to the organisation through their work, and to be valued and appreciated for their efforts. Perhaps the most underrated desire of modern-day employees is the desire to work with a purpose. Great leaders show an interest in their employee’s jobs and career aspirations in order to motivate them the right way. Once that's been established, they look into the future to create learning and development opportunities for their people.

It is key to establish what motivates people by getting to know what drives each team member. It is possible to strengthen relationships with employees by spending more one-on-one time with them to hear their suggestions, ideas, problems and issues as well as talking about performance issues and their work.  Great managers recognise that leadership doesn't travel one way but is multi-directional. While it can come from the top down at critical times, the best scenario is allowing decisions, information, and delegation to travel from peer to peer or from the bottom up, where the collective wisdom and involvement of the whole team help solve real issues in real time on the frontlines.

As we move forward into 2020, it is clear employee benefits are far more about overall wellbeing and personalisation for the employee. There are a wide-range of employee benefits available to organisations today to ensure they are providing staff with the very best support and care, and we would strongly encourage more employers to review their benefits packages and develop the very best employee benefits solutions. But when you come to rethink or introduce your benefits and wellbeing strategy, remember that the there’s no ‘one size fits all’ for every organisation - identifying your employees wants and desires will greatly benefit your company and the bottom line. By providing simple solutions such as flexibility, a commitment to health and wellbeing and employee recognition, employers will noticeably improve employee engagement levels and position themselves to attract future talent into the organisation.


This article is correct at 05/02/2020

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Emma Kieran
Clarendon Executive

The main content of this article was provided by Emma Kieran. Contact telephone number is +44(0)28 9072 5750 or email

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