CEO & founder, Kamwell
As the economy emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations will thrive if they prioritise the wellbeing of their people.
Businesses that invest in improving their employees’ wellbeing and creating a culture of openness and acceptance around mental health will recover quicker after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kirsten Samuel, CEO and founder of award-winning employee wellbeing company Kamwell, says human health is inextricably linked to business health, and wellbeing should not be viewed as a cost but an investment.
“We are poised for a mental health pandemic following COVID-19,” she says. “Wellbeing must become a priority for the C-suite with leaders playing a more strategic, visible and active role”.
Implementing wellbeing strategies
However, according to Aon’s UK Benefits & Trends Survey for 2021, only 44% of employers have an employee wellbeing strategy and one fifth do not intend to implement one in the near future.
This could be a mistake as research by consultancy Deloitte reveals that the cost of poor employee mental health has increased by 16% and is costing the UK economy £45 billion per annum. Deloitte claims there is a return of £5 for every £1 employers invest in mental health initiatives.
Samuel says companies perform better and retain and attract the best talent if their employees are thriving physically, mentally, financially, intellectually, socially and spiritually.
The leaders of tomorrow must be more human-centred and people-focussed – we are all human and we want to know that our leaders are too.
Has the workplace changed forever?
“During the pandemic, we have seen a new style of leadership emerge; one that is compassionate, empathetic, authentic and vulnerable,” Samuel says. “The leaders of tomorrow must be more human-centred and people-focussed – we are all human and we want to know that our leaders are too.”
Kamwell advises that as the spotlight on our health and wellbeing has never been greater, there should be increased accountability for all of us to prioritise our individual and collective wellbeing. Workplace wellbeing should be a partnership between the employer and employee – it’s about continuous feedback: asking the right questions, listening and taking action.
Kamwell’s COO Emma James says “If there is one thing COVID-19 has taught us, it is that wellbeing needs to be a strategic priority for every business. No longer can it be a tick-box exercise; no longer can it fall down the list of priorities.” James adds that “We’re becoming ever-more intentional about the organisations we align with, both as employees and consumers; in order to be future-proof, businesses need to place equal value on profit, planet and people.”