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[People Matter] Pounds and Sense: Spending on employee wellbeing

Part 3: How much are retailers in the UK investing in the well-being of their employees? Buckle up, because we’re about to lift the curtain on… View Article


[People Matter] Pounds and Sense: Spending on employee wellbeing

Part 3: How much are retailers in the UK investing in the well-being of their employees? Buckle up, because we’re about to lift the curtain on the portion of the budget dedicated to employee well-being.

The UK’s Wellbeing focus: A closer look at the retail workforce

The UK retail sector isn’t just any old workplace—it’s a vibrant, bustling hub with a whopping 3 million-strong workforce. Many of these hardworking individuals are on low and middle incomes, navigating the challenges of a cost-of-living crisis that hits home. These folks are the heartbeat of retail, and their well-being is a hot topic.

There’s more to the story. Retail workers have been the unsung heroes of the pandemic, donning the cape of key workers during a time of crisis. Unfortunately, this period also saw a rise in reported cases of aggressive behavior and harassment against these frontline heroes.

From effort to continuity: navigating the wellbeing journey

Retail employers have already taken big steps to support their employees this year, but the journey doesn’t stop here. The Retail Trust’s Health of Retail report pulled back the curtain on some eye-opening truths. It revealed that retail is one of the least content industries to work in, especially when compared to other sectors. Shockingly, one in five retail workers is considering leaving the sector altogether.

This is where the Retail Trust steps in with its ‘Let’s Respect Retail Campaign‘. It’s a powerful response to the mounting evidence that verbal and physical assaults on retail workers are worsening, fuelled by the grip of the cost-of-living crisis. The spotlight is on retailers like never before—not just from their workers but also from their shareholders. Investors have made it clear that they’ll be keeping a watchful eye on how employers support lower-wage employees in the midst of the cost-of-living turmoil.

Crunching numbers and prioritising wellbeing

Now, let’s talk numbers. While the UK retail sector is tackling this wellbeing challenge head-on, the investment amount can vary. The budget portion dedicated to employee well-being is like a custom-made suit—tailored to the unique needs of each business. After all, factors like company size, resources, and the industry’s competitive pulse all come into play.

But we did find some data. According to a survey by Mercer, a consulting firm, UK retailers typically set aside around 4% of their total payroll costs for employee well-being programs—4%! These programs are like a treasure trove of awesomeness, offering things like gym memberships, mental health counselling, nutrition guidance, stress-busting training, and wellness challenges.

And the good news? These programs aren’t just feel-good vibes; they pack a punch. They boost engagement, supercharge productivity, and keep the retention train on track. Plus, they’re like a secret weapon against those pesky healthcare costs.

To Spend or Not to Spend: That’s the Question

Now, let’s get real. While 4% might be the average playground for retailers, some companies might choose to up the ante, or maybe take a step back. It’s all about what fits the puzzle of their business priorities and the needs of their incredible team.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) did some digging and found that about 62% of employers in the UK are offering some kind of health and well-being perks. The magic number? Around £125 per employee per year. But, here’s the twist—this number varies like a chameleon’s colours, depending on the company and industry.


Ps: If you missed out on previous episodes in this series, be sure to check out Part 1: Creating an awesome employee vibe with wellbeing and Part 2: Riding the Wellbeing Wave.

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