Employers must be responsible for healthcare staff

Employers must be responsible for healthcare staff - Image Credit: Squaredpixels

Thursday August 13 2015

A new study has suggested that more needs to be done to improve the awareness of employers in terms of the importance of employee welfare. 

Research from leadership development firm Morgan Redwood found that well under half (46 per cent) of respondents believe employers have a duty of care to their employees. This is a significant drop from the 95 per cent who believed the same just a few years previously in 2009.

The survey canvassed the opinion of some 250 people and found that 83 per cent thought business performance and employee wellbeing were connected. More than half (57 per cent) think business performance and staff wellbeing are ‘quite connected’, while more than a quarter (26 per cent) said the two were 'very closely connected’.

In fact, the study found that just seven per cent of people believed there was no connection between employee wellbeing and the success of a firm.

However, despite the high percentage of respondents seeing the link between success and the health of their staff, few seem to think it's the company's job to ensure employees are well.

Janice Haddon (pictured), managing director of Morgan Redwood, said: “Burnt out, poorly treated employees will end up becoming detrimental in the long run, so employers need to ensure they allocate sufficient resource to cater to the full spectrum of employee needs.”

“Perhaps employers are putting recruitment ahead of the need to tend to existing employee needs, which means they’ve taken their eye off the wellbeing ball. Businesses need to remember that looking after employees is just as important as striving for new business and growth," she added.

According to the study, employee wellbeing was fairly low on the list of priorities, with helping staff to achieve a better work-life balance falling in tenth place, and just six per cent cited it as a key area of human resourcing strategies.

Employee wellbeing was ranked in 12th place, with less than six per cent of respondents seeing it as a key priority. Ahead of this were other business-related aims like attracting better talent to the company, and reducing staff turnover and costs.

Ms Haddon said: “The latest findings really do indicate a startling shift in employer opinion. A swing from 95 per cent to 46 per cent is a huge difference. 

“In 2014, the CIPD [Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development] reported that 40 per cent of employers are seeing a rise in stress-related absence and reported mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, so the fact that [organisations] are less inclined to see wellbeing as within their remit of responsibility is perplexing."

However, for healthcare organisations the risk of not safeguarding employees carries other dangers. Not protecting nurses and doctors from needlestick injuries could put patients at risk and lower the reputation of the hospital.