Follow us on:


Over one in ten UK employers don’t believe in supporting the emotional wellbeing of staff

Press release 25 February 2020.

Despite mental health matters being firmly in the public domain, over 700,000* UK businesses (12 per cent), do not believe in supporting the emotional and social wellbeing of their staff, according to research** amongst HR decision makers undertaken on behalf of GRiD, the industry body for the group risk protection sector.

Flexible working: most popular way to deliver emotional wellbeing support

Of those businesses (88 per cent) that do believe they have an emotional duty of care for their employees, the most popular method to support staff is via flexible or agile working, with 43 per cent claiming to offer this opportunity.

Flexible working is often highly valued by staff but employers should not consider their ‘emotional support’ box ticked by offering this alone. There are a number of ways to address emotional wellbeing in the workplace, and even those employers who offer a full programme of internal initiatives, should also ensure that professional support and counselling are readily available for those most in need.

Work-life balance initiatives

The second most common way to deliver emotional support is by offering work-life balance initiatives, such as encouraging staff to take their lunchbreak away from their desk and deterring a culture of working long or late.

The research highlighted the most prevalent methods that employers use to support their staff with emotional wellbeing as:

  • Flexible working/agile working (43%)
  • Work-life balance initiatives (33%)
  • Ability to take days off to support mental health (31%)
  • Arranging social events (31%)
  • Access to professional support, such as counselling (27%)
  • Stress management initiatives (19%)
  • Mental health initiatives e.g. mindfulness training (18%)
  • Specialist providers in place to provide support, such as counselling (18%)
  • Mental health first aid training (15%)

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD said: “Group life assurance is the most popular group risk product with over 9.8*** million people insured. As well as providing a financial pay-out, it can be hugely beneficial to staff as it often includes access to an Employee Assistance Programme which will support staff with day-to-day emotional wellbeing and access to counselling, neither of which are claim-dependent. During 2019, there were  75,446*** interactions with the additional help and support services that are funded by group risk insurers across employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness policies. Whilst this is an impressive number, given that the overall number of people covered by this industry exceeds 12.8 million****, it’s clear that many more people could benefit from this emotional support.

“It’s vital that both employers and employees know they have access to this added-value support, as for many it really is an untapped resource that is not being used to its full potential.

“As for the 12 per cent of businesses that do not believe there is any requirement to support the emotional wellbeing of staff, they will certainly feel the consequences at some point, whether that be a higher-than-average absence rate, falling productivity, or lower staff retention. No forward-thinking organisation can afford to ignore the emotional wellbeing of its most valued asset.” 

-       Ends -


  • 12% of all UK business = 12% of 5.9m = 708,000.

** Research undertaken by Opinium on behalf of GRiD amongst 500 HR Decision makers between 4-18 March 2019.


  • The group risk market insures over 9.8 million people for death benefits valued at over a trillion pounds – Swiss Re Group Watch 2019.
  • In total, there were 75,446 interactions during 2018 with the additional help and support services that are funded by group risk insurers, giving daily value to employers regardless of whether or not a claim was made under their policy – GRiD 2019 Claims Survey.

**** SwissRe Group Watch 2019

For further information please contact:

Sharon Mason 
SMUK Marketing and PR 
Mob: 07747 611773
Land: 01252 843350

Katharine Moxham
Spokesperson for GRiD
Mob: 07887 512508

Notes for editors

About GRiD

Group Risk Development (GRiD) is the industry body for the group risk protection sector, promoting the value to UK businesses of providing financial protection for their staff, enhancing their wellbeing and improving employee engagement. Our membership includes insurers, reinsurers and intermediaries who have a collective wealth of experience built over years of operating in the group risk protection market. Under the chairmanship of Steve Bridger (MD Group Protection, Corporate, Aviva UK Insurance) GRiD aims to promote group risk through a collective voice to Government, policymakers, stakeholders and employers.

GRiD works with government departments and regulators involved in legislation and regulation affecting group risk benefits, and with other organisations involved in the benefits and financial protection arenas. GRiD also seeks to enhance the industry's standing by encouraging best practice and by participating in industry-wide initiatives such as the professional qualification in group risk managed jointly with the Chartered Insurance Institute.


Join now

If you are active in the group risk market and would be interested in gaining a greater share of voice and working more closely with your contemporaries in the industry please get in touch by completing this page.

Benefits of membership:



The opportunity to influence group risk policymaking.



GRiD is a respected voice in the protection sector – as such, membership enhances the status of member organisations.



Privileged access to output from the various working groups, including consultation responses, regulatory updates, employer research and pan industry claims data. GRiD members also gain exclusive access to industry speakers at member meetings.

Please enter your details:

Member register
  •     Already a member? Please login.