Employee retention is key to creating a successful workforce and growing organisation, but as everyday stresses continue to grow with factors such as the cost-of-living crisis or work burnout – retention can be difficult to control.

In fact, according to The London Standard, work-related stress costs the UK economy £28 billion a year, as people are taking more sick days due to feeling stressed or poor mental health.

HR professionals deal with a wide range of complex factors from different personality types to remote/hybrid workers, all of whom have their own day-to-day stresses to deal with. So, whilst economics and commercials are important to businesses, this should not be the main driving factor to tackling these issues.

To boost employee retention and create an engaged workforce, HR professionals should look at what they can do to impact their workplace culture and what wellbeing initiatives they can put in place.

How stress can impact employee retention

Employee stress (whether that is work related or personal) can manifest itself in different ways for different people but most commonly, their behaviour, personality and performance at work may start to change.

As work stresses rise, employee engagement and morale inevitably fall, which then leads to employees leaving their jobs. Here in the UK, 40% of turnover has been due to stress with a further 35% of employees strongly considering switching employment because of it.

That means, approximately 13 million workers in the UK have left their jobs before because of the impact of stress. Although this is nationwide, it does paint a worrying picture for UK employees and employers.

Before we can begin tackling work-place stress issues, it’s important to understand the different types of stress that can impact employees and what they can look like for people.

What are the different types of stress that can impact employees

The most common type of stress that will affect employees’ performance usually stems from workplace stress itself, rather than external factors. It is common to see work-related stress stem from feeling unable to keep up with workload and demands of the role, however, stress can also come from:

  • Feeling underappreciated by senior staff
  • Lack of progression or career trajectory
  • Workplace harassment, bullying or negativity
  • Limited or no access to workplace wellbeing initiatives

It’s also important to acknowledge external stress factors that can impact how people feel and perform at work as well, including financial pressure (especially with the cost-of-living crisis), pressure from relationships or suffering an important loss.

These are all factors that need to be considered when thinking about how to tackle employee retention issues.

How can you support your staff and drive retention?

Armed with the understanding of all the different stresses that can affect your employees and knowledge of the needs of the individuals and business, HR professionals can create an excellent wellbeing culture and environment that is accessible for everyone, no matter where they are based.

Here are some wellbeing ideas that can be implemented to support staff and help to drive retention.

Wellbeing programmes and benefits

Offer employees an opportunity to take part in wellbeing programmes that help them to focus on their holistic health, creating an opportunity to bring in both physical and mental wellbeing support that is easily accessible. Virtual challenges, such as Terryberry’s wellbeing initiative helps to empower employees to create healthy habits through virtual physical challenge, whilst also creating social connections with colleagues around the world.

It’s also important to look at the organisation’s benefit offering, as Employee Assistance Programmes or access to GP helplines can provide professional support.

Walking meetings and regular breaks

Encourage employees to take regular breaks when they are starting to feel fatigued, stressed or overwhelmed – stepping away from the computer is important to decompress and regroup.

Walking meetings are a great way to encourage physical activity, which can boost creativity and productivity as well.

Mental health and stress reduction workshops

Whether in person or done virtually through webinars or online sessions, offering workshops that provide tips and tricks can help to equip your employees with the right tools to deal with their own stress.

The idea is to provide bite sized information that can help them better understand how to deal with their daily tasks or even provide moments of mindfulness that allows employees to take a moment to unwind.

Educating managers and leadership

Talking can be the biggest way to boost employee retention. Ensure that you create a culture that promotes a safe space for employees to communicate, which starts from the leaders of the organisation.

Provide training and education for managers and leadership team to recognise signs of stress/dis-engagement and give them the tools they need to have a conversation with their reports.

Organisations have a great opportunity to look inwards to their workforce and design a wellbeing programme that caters to their employees. Tailored wellbeing initiatives can be effective in boosting employee retention, as HR professionals have first-hand knowledge of what might be negatively impacting their employees.

With a workplace wellbeing programme, businesses can create a supportive environment that promotes a healthier and more valued workforce.

Ready to Step into Summer? Find out more about Terryberry’s summer wellbeing challenge today.

Written by Rosie Beardsworth, Wellbeing Expert at Terryberry

Rosie Beardsworth
Rosie Beardsworth
Workplace Wellbeing Specialist at TerryBerry | Website

Rosie Beardsworth is a workplace wellbeing specialist. Rosie is experienced in delivering and managing the rollout of wellbeing platforms to national and multi-national organisations across all sectors. Rosie supports strategic-level decision-making and planning to support clients in achieving their objectives. She takes pride in leading her team to deliver best-in-class support to all clients.