Workforce Management News: Manufacturers Missing Out on OH Benefits
New UK Survey shows manufacturers need to take more proactive steps with occupational health
Manufacturing sector representative body, Make UK, have recently released results of their 2019 members’ survey, which shows that although positive steps are being taken for a healthier workforce, potential gains are being lost by focusing on reactive strategy.
The ‘Health, Wealth and Wellbeing for Manufacturers’ survey collated results from 160 organisations, and highlights manufacturing sector employers’ commitment to the physical and mental health and wellbeing of their staff.
The majority of the survey paints a positive picture in terms of workforce welfare, with 85% of employers seeing it as their duty to encourage and promote physical and mental wellbeing. Many organisations are reinforcing this belief with actual spend, with larger companies investing over £30,000 in some cases.
This investment is beneficial for both employers and employees, with over 90% of companies investing in staff health and wellbeing seeing an increase in workforce productivity and an improvement in workforce relations. This isn’t surprising, since 55% believe that the overall benefits to their business are greater than the time and money spent on health and wellbeing efforts.
However, the survey results hint at a possible flaw in how organisations are utilising occupational health efforts. Only 9% of manufacturers actually had their own internal OH resource, and 51% relied on a pay-as-you-go basis to receive occupational health assistance. This strongly suggests an over-reliance on reactive rather than proactive strategy.
Tim Thomas, Director of Labour Market and Skills Policy at Make UK, commented:
“There is a clear message from manufacturers that they realise a healthy and happy workforce is an effective one. Employers have also recognised that jobs within their businesses should be flexible and include career development and flexible working pathways in order that they retain staff. And in doing so, there is now clear evidence that productivity will improve as a result.
“But there is still a lot more to be done and manufacturers must continue to work hard to put health and wellbeing at the heart of their business plans with 10% of the manufacturing workforce due to retire in the next three years and with the pressures of new post-Brexit immigration rules.”
One of Make UK’s specific recommendations relates to sickness absence, and the importance of a formal structure and strategy to tackle the issue. 65% of businesses surveyed report that sickness absence put more pressure on other employees as a result, causing a cascade effect of increased stress with resulting productivity drop-offs. With 60% of manufacturers finding it difficult to cover these absences, this further highlights the importance of preventative absence strategies, rather than just taking action after instances of sickness occur.
Bodet’s Absence Management software can assist your organisation in your wellbeing strategy. By using it to monitor KPIs such as the Bradford Factor, you can identify absence patterns linked to causes such as stress, allowing you to support staff before long-term absence occurs. When absences do occur, our Staff Planning software can assist in filling these roles by examining gaps in your work schedule and matching them up to available staff with the appropriate labour skills.
To see how a Time & Attendance System with Absence Management and Staff Planning can be tailored for the specific needs of your organisation, please contact us for further information.