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How does workplace health and wellbeing impact employee retention?

Sonder Safe   |   Nov 19, 2019 1:07:24 PM

Staff turnover can be a significant drain on time, money and resources. The Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) estimates the cost of staff turnover to the Australian economy at approximately $20 billion per year. As the issue becomes an increasing concern for Australian businesses, we explore the link between staff wellbeing and retention, and how prioritising health and safety can help you hang on to employees who are happy to come to work and add value to your business every day.

With most Australians spending about one third of their lives at work, the World Health Organisation has recognised the workplace as being a priority setting for promoting health and wellbeing. 

Comcare released a comprehensive report on the case for investment in worker health and wellbeing. Among their findings was a clear link between health and wellbeing and employee turnover. It found that an organisation that does not sufficiently manage worker health and wellbeing is four times more likely to lose talent in the next twelve months.

Staff turnover: the cost to employers

The cost of staff turnover to a business can be damaging. AHRI estimates the cost of replacing an employee is at least 75% of the employees’ annual salary and may be as much as 150% in some cases. The AHRI review also found that staff turnover rates in Australia are on the rise.

Prioritising health and wellbeing: an investment in increasing retention

Keeping staff turnover to a minimum can seem like something beyond your control. While some factors influencing staff retention may well be out of your hands, it’s important to look into turnover prevention strategies that are within your business’ means. Physical and mental ill health, stress and perceived inadequacies regarding safety and support often contribute to a high workforce turnover. In these cases, investing in an employee health and wellbeing program can be an effective way to attract and retain talent. 

Dealing with workplace stress and mental health 

When devising a workplace health and wellbeing strategy, it’s important to consider not only the physical health of your employees, but their mental wellbeing as well. Taking a proactive approach to lessening the impact of identifiable stressors is essential to maintaining employee wellbeing.

Promoting initiatives like mindfulness, stress management and mental health training can go a long way towards boosting employee wellbeing. In addition to this generalised approach, it is arguably even more important to identify and address the causes of stress unique to your workplace and individual employees’ experience. 

According to research by Safe Work Australia the most commonly reported mechanisms affecting workplace mental health are:

  • Work pressure (31%)
  • Work-related harassment and/or bullying (27%)
  • Exposure to workplace or occupational violence (14%)
  • Other mental stress (9%)
  • Exposure to a traumatic event (7%)
  • Vehicle accident (3%)
  • Being assaulted (3%), and
  • Sexual/racial harassment (2%)

These are complex and often sensitive issues to address in the workplace, but lack of action on known stressors can have a highly detrimental effect on employee retention. Identifying these issues, reporting on them and taking meaningful action to lessen their impact and incidence is an essential step towards eliminating preventable staff turnover.

Creating a positive workplace culture 

In addition to putting a structured workplace health and wellbeing program in place, encouraging a culture of open communication and mutual support can ensure workforce turnover is kept at a minimum.

If employees feel as though management regard their wellbeing as a priority, they are far more likely to feel valued, enjoy working for the company and continue their career within your organisation.

Providing access to Sonder’s 24/7 safety and support network can help create a safer, happier and healthier environment for your staff - in and outside the workplace - and improve employee retention.

If you would like to discuss partnering with Sonder, please contact us at: info@sondersafe.com

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