CBI: Invest In Staff Health

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has urged companies to invest in employee health and wellbeing.


Fergal Dowling, Partner | +44 (0)121 214 5476

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has urged companies to invest in employee health and wellbeing.

While evidence supporting the need for private health insurance for workers had been floated previously, the CBI is one of the largest backers of this to-date.

According to the industry body, taking steps to improve employee health can contribute to better business performance via lower absence levels, higher productivity and better employee engagement.

New statistics revealed by the CBI show the direct costs of employee absence to the economy are estimated at over £14 billion per year, while the average total cost to each business per absent employee is £975.

Neil Carberry, CBI director for employment and skills, said: "Having healthy staff is an essential part of running a healthy business.

"Investing in the wellbeing of employees is not only the right thing to do, it has real business benefits. It's time for businesses and government to work hand-in-hand to move from a reactive to proactive approach on health and wellbeing in the workplace."

To resolve this, the CBI recommends that companies develop joined-up approach with private healthcare companies so that long-standing problems - including obesity, mental health problems and diabetes - are tackled so long-term absences are avoided.

The organisation also recommends that managers be equipped with the knowledge to refer employees to the appropriate health care authorities so that they can be treated and back to work as quickly as possible.

Speaking in support of the CBI's comments, Sue Weir, chief executive of Medicash, said: “Developing and implementing a targeted healthcare strategy can help business avoid costly absenteeism."

This is not the first time employee benefits has hit the headlines in recent weeks.

Earlier this year the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development urged businesses across the UK to consider investing more heavily in training and employee benefits schemes as part of an effort to improve productivity and retention - key to a successful long-term strategy.

Expert Opinion
A core aspect of maintaining a happy and motivated workforce is ensuring that their concerns and needs are met.

"A fundamental part of this is having a proper and effective sickness and absence policy in place, which ensures that employees are given a chance to discuss any concerns with managers and ensure that both parties fully understand each other’s position, meaning any difficult issues could be avoided in the long run.

"Such employment law basics are hugely important and we would urge any small businesses, particularly those who are looking to expand their workforce, to ensure they seek specialist advice on these key HR issues. Failing to ensure staff are motivated, healthy and happy can have a significant negative effect."
Fergal Dowling, Partner