According to Bupa Global’s Executive Wellbeing Index 2021, in the coming year UK business leaders are predicted to increase employee wellbeing spend by around 18%.
With 28% of business leaders making employee mental health their number one priority, the increased spend will pay for new roles supporting mental health, upskilling existing HR and management-level staff, and paid mental health sick days.
Rise of empathetic leadership
In recognition of the changes to work patterns brought on by the pandemic, many UK business leaders now view flexible working patterns as the most important factors in improving employee wellbeing, and implementing this in their companies. Two in three leaders (63%) have introduced flexi-working, with a further 20% planning to do so in the next year.
Board level executives in the UK now rate integrity, empathy and trustworthiness among the most important qualities of a CEO. It’s clear that leaders are adopting a more empathetic approach to leadership.
The economy and the environment
Investments in wellbeing are set to be combined with a great focus on sustainability, as leaders increase commitment to future-proof businesses.
Part of this could be borne out of attitudes towards the economy.
In 2020, 44% of business leaders were optimistic about a full recovery following the pandemic – this year, this number has dropped to just 22%. 20% believe the full economic impact on their business is yet to come.
30% of leaders felt commitment to ‘green initiatives’ were important when it comes to recruitment, and 22% agreed it was important for investors and customers.
Around a third (31%) are now looking to balance profit with purpose – with 22% saying the environmental agenda will become more important in their company moving forward.
The uncertainty we’re living through continues to impact our lives, businesses and mental health. So, it’s encouraging to see that the UK’s business leaders are investing in their employees wellbeing, on both a level for ‘right now’ and the future.