Employee Wellbeing — Why it Matters to Your Bottom Line

4th March 2024
 minute read

Table of contents

Committing to the wellbeing of your employees is more than just an altruistic decision or corporate responsibility box to tick. In fact, supporting people’s mental health is also a highly practical, strategic move that can be very good for your business and bottom line. 

Evidence shows that putting staff mental wellness front and centre can enhance your organisation’s performance in a number of crucial ways. It seems that there is a clear business case for creating quality corporate mental health programmes, which might include services like free confidential therapy (this article by Dr. Kate Robinson in Employee Experience Magazine provides further insights).

The importance of prioritising employee mental health really can’t be overlooked. For instance, a 2022 study by Deloitte found that the yearly cost of mental health issues for the UK economy is reported at £56 billion, a staggering 25% rise since 2019. What’s more, 17 million working days are lost annually in the UK due to anxiety, stress and depression. This doesn’t even take into account other mental health issues such as addiction or eating issues. However, according to a 2023 working paper by Employee Benefits, almost 25% of businesses spend no money at all on supporting the mental health of their staff. 

Yet the effects of poor mental health on businesses — and the benefits of offering workplace wellbeing support — cannot be ignored. Here are some key, research-backed reasons for why every organisation needs to integrate wellbeing support into its corporate structure and make it a vital part of their culture.

The business case for workplace wellbeing support — key studies and statistics

It might sound like a cliché to say that the success of a business hinges on the happiness of its people, but it happens to be true — and a growing body of research backs this up.

In 2023, the world’s largest study on “workplace wellbeing” (defined as happiness, satisfaction, a sense of purpose and low stress at work) was published by the Wellbeing Research Centre at the University of Oxford. De Neve and Ward’s Measuring Workplace Wellbeing compiled research gathered over many years to explore whether there was a link between employee wellbeing and the following business measurables:

  • Productivity
  • Retention
  • Recruitment
  • Financial and stock market performance 

In collaboration with Indeed, over 15 million survey results were gathered from workers across multiple markets across a three-year period. Data was also compiled from BT and Glassdoor. The study found that employee wellbeing had a positive impact on all four measurables, as follows:


De Neve and Ward collaborated with BT to research the happiness levels of staff in more than 20 call centres across the UK. They found that staff happiness levels were directly linked to productivity — and in turn, to customer satisfaction. For instance, during one week when staff were feeling happier, there was a 12% increase in sales. The researchers suggest that feeling happier activated the social and emotional intelligence of the call centre staff, helping them to relate better to customers — and convert interactions to sales as a result. 


De Neve and Ward also collaborated with Glassdoor to research the impact of wellbeing on staff retention. They found that employees who rated their employer two (out of five) stars were twice as likely as those who rated their employer as five stars to start searching for a new job that same week.


In collaboration with MIT, Ward’s study on Workplace Happiness and Job Search Behaviour found that job seekers were more attracted to companies that showed positive employee wellbeing scores on job adverts. 

Financial and stock market performance 

The study also found that businesses with higher workplace wellbeing scores also perform better in the stock market. In a 2021 experiment, it was found that a list of “high wellbeing companies” in the US gained a 30% stock market return, out-performing other companies by more than double.

In short, De Neve and Ward’s study demonstrates that there is a clear and concrete business case for taking care of employee wellbeing. 

An earlier London School of Economics study by Krekel at al. (2019) supports this. The massive research project compiled the wellbeing and performance levels of over 1.8 million employees globally, across over 80,000 business units. It found that job satisfaction was positively and significantly associated with customer satisfaction, as well as productivity, profitability and lower staff turnover. Further research has shown these results to be consistent across the retail, finance, manufacturing and services sectors worldwide.

Yet there seems to be a gap between the attitudes of business leaders towards mental wellbeing and the strategies that they implement. In fact, although 87% of business leaders stated that they believe employee wellbeing is important, only 25% have made it a strategic priority. Yet businesses that prioritise this issue might well see concrete benefits to productivity and profits.

7 Ways that Employee Mental Health Support Can Boost Your Business

As well as negatively affecting productivity and retention, poor mental health can cause a range of other workplace issues, from oversights to absenteeism to team conflicts. Yet it doesn’t have to be this way.

A good workplace wellbeing programme (which might include confidential therapy, training and resources) can make all the difference to your organisation. Here are seven key business benefits of introducing one:

1. It can increase productivity and performance

An employee’s mental wellbeing can have a direct impact on their achievements at work. When people are feeling mentally and emotionally fit and resilient, this can improve their focus and problem solving skills. And if they feel more energised and engaged, it can also reduce absenteeism and increase motivation. In short, good mental health is a boost to overall productivity, which includes everything from finishing tasks to meeting targets to making sales. 

2. It can boost creativity and innovation

A business that remains static or stuck in the past can’t survive. Yet at the same time, creativity and innovation can only thrive in an environment where employees feel safe and supported. If this can be nurtured through robust employee wellbeing programmes, then people will be more willing to share creative ideas, take risks and innovate. This way, new systems, processes, products, services and marketing strategies are more likely to come forward.

3. It can attract top talent

As demonstrated in Glassdoor’s Hiring and Workplace Trends Report 2023, mental health programmes are a growing trend within businesses. From 2017 to 2022, there was an 18% increase (from 45% to 63%) in employers offering mental health support to staff — and also highlighting this benefit as part of their recruitment drives.

In the previous year, a study by Utopia of over 3000 UK workers found that 85% want their employers to offer mental health support. They cited stressors such as the pandemic and cost of living crisis as being detrimental to their mental health. They also felt that their employer wasn’t doing enough to help them. This means that when these workers are seeking a new job, good employee wellbeing might well be a priority for them. 

It seems that both employees and job applicants these days are looking for more than a good salary — they want workplace packages that reflect their lifestyle, values and wellbeing needs. This can include everything from hybrid working to free confidential therapy services. Businesses that lag behind with these provisions are at risk of missing out on the very best talent, from graduate level to c-suite.  

4. It can improve staff retention

Mental health issues can cost companies good workers, driving people away from jobs over issues that are often avoidable and preventable. This might include stress, interpersonal conflicts and an inability to deal with change — all issues that workplace wellbeing programmes can help to support. Yet not addressing these problems can cause a brain drain of experience and expertise, with companies losing pivotal people and leaders that they might have spent years investing in. And of course, hiring new team members to replace lost staff can be costly in terms of recruitment, onboarding and training. 

In some cases, individuals might even leave their job for rival companies that they feel will support their mental health better. This is backed up by the University of Oxford’s Workplace Wellbeing and Firm Performance report, which records surveyed employees feeling frustrated by their companies as they wanted “support for a wide range of issues, including stress & anxiety, cost of living, and grief & loss”. People expect more than basic EAPs offering generic support.

5. It can reduce absenteeism

Staff absenteeism due to mental health issues can cause knock-on stress for teams, who might have to take on extra work when colleagues are absent. 

This can lower morale, as well as leading to the corner cutting. Additionally, absenteeism can become an escalating issue, with occasional sick days from work becoming regular ones, then eventually turning into long-term sickness leave. The effects on an organisation and its profits can be significant. 

6. It can increase job satisfaction

A good workplace wellbeing strategy can help employees to feel more engaged with their work and more satisfied with their role. In turn, this increased sense of satisfaction can lead to better performance. 

As the aforementioned Measuring Workplace Wellbeing study indicates, there is a clear link between employee engagement and business profitability. Happier employees tend to be more invested in an organisation's goals, boosting productivity and revenue as a result. In short, if people feel that they are being taken care of by their employers then they will be more motivated to take care of the business and its clients. They might also become more compassionate colleagues who are less prone to conflict. 

7. It can fill the gap in current UK mental health services

It would be a mistake for businesses to see mental health as the ‘employee’s responsibility’. These days, it’s just not that simple. With the cost of living escalating and waiting lists for free NHS therapy services growing, many people just can’t afford or access the support that they need. 

Recent data published by the NHS reported that almost 60% of people were waiting for up to 18 weeks to access free counselling service in England and Wales. And once they do get support, it is likely to only be for a short course of six sessions, which doesn’t even scratch the surface of many issues. Also, in some cases, counsellors simply don’t have the specialist expertise needed to help with more complex issues like trauma, addiction or long term mental health conditions.

Needless to say, if people’s wellbeing issues go unsupported or untreated, then this can severely impact their ability to do their job well. But if businesses offer good mental health resources — including free confidential therapy from specialist psychotherapists and professionally registered psychologists — this can go a long way towards bridging the gap. And in the process, they can increase staff productivity, loyalty and retention.

However, it’s worth noting that not all corporate wellness programmes are made equal. So if you are selecting one for your company then you might want to take a look at our guide to choosing the right workplace mental health scheme.

By creating a culture of safety, support and understanding — as well as nurturing people’s potential — you can empower your employees to reach new heights. And you can build a stronger, more competitive business in the process.

Employee Wellbeing — Why it Matters to Your Bottom Line
You may also like
No items found.

Boost your teams’ mental wellbeing today

Ready to find out more? Let’s talk