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Workplace habits harming your employee retention in 2022

23 June 2022

It’s never been more challenging to attract and retain the best talent in your company. Health and wellbeing in the workplace is becoming an important focus for employees.

A negative working environment can impact employee wellbeing, satisfaction and motivation levels. There are lots of factors that can cause a negative working environment. These include poor communication, a bad working culture and lack of progression opportunities. This can make it harder for your team to complete their everyday tasks. It can also lead to increased absences, presenteeism and lower productivity levels. In the long term, a poor workplace culture can lead to high staff turnover too. This hinders your business’s ability to attract and retain top talent.

As an employer, it’s important to support the health and wellbeing of your team. This includes providing wellbeing initiatives, such as access to health services and career development opportunities. As a result, your business will benefit from a talented and motivated workforce. As well as attracting new and emerging talent within your industry.

New research from Bupa has identified UK employees are turning to Google to seek advice on negative working environments:

(Google search data taken from April 2021 – March 2022. Based on internal analysis by Bupa)

Here are the five workplace factors harming your employee retention, according to Rachel Murray, Head of Employee Health and Wellbeing at Bupa UK:


  1. Poor career development opportunities
  2. Career development supports employee wellbeing, resulting in an engaged, motivated and skilled team. Employers should look to coach and develop their team’s skillset and build on each employee’s individual strengths so they can reach their potential.

    Some employees may feel as though their skills can’t be developed any further in their current role or there is no more room to grow professionally. This can lead to poor employee satisfaction and negatively impact talent retention.

    There was a 200% surge in UK employees searching for ‘work progression’ opportunities over the last year. Business leaders should focus on how they can support the career development of their workforce. There are lots of ways employers can promote career progression. This might include networking events, training courses and clear progression paths.

  3. Micromanagement at work
  4. Micromanagement is a term used to describe a management style which closely monitors employees. This can include supervision over completing tasks and tracking working hours. It can limit an employee’s feelings of independence to carry out their tasks at work and create a lack of trust between managers and employees.

    Micromanagement can go beyond day-to-day tasks and impact how managers interact with their team members, set goals and motivate employees. All of which can negatively impact on mental health at work.

    With a 100% increase in Google searches for ‘employee tracking systems’ in the last 12 months, it appears that micromanagement techniques are on the rise since remote working has become more prevalent.

    Closely monitoring your team can have a negative impact on their wellbeing and your business in the long term. Studies have found micromanagement reduces employee morale, increases staff turnover and reduces productivity levels.

  5. Lack of recognition and rewards
  6. Workplace rewards and recognition can be a simple but effective form of acknowledgement of an employee’s behaviour or actions. They can be used as part of your management strategy to boost employee motivation and performance when implemented fairly.

    A negative workplace culture, where there is a lack of recognition can be a strong contributing factor of burnout at work. Burnout is an occupational phenomenon, where employees feel overwhelmed or under pressure for a long period of time, leaving them feeling exhausted and negatively towards work. Being proactive with rewards and taking the time to regularly recognise your team can have a huge impact on employee wellbeing.

    Financial incentives, access to health and wellbeing services and team activities are all examples of rewards. However, a reward doesn’t always need to be financial to be beneficial. It can be a simple thank you or sharing the news of an employee’s achievement throughout the wider team. This can provide an employee with the recognition they deserve and help to reinforce their behaviour. Along with encouraging other employees to strive for that same recognition.

    To reap the wellbeing benefits of recognition, it is important that it happens regularly along with constructive feedback. This is especially important in a hybrid work setting, with team members and managers working remotely.

    A report by CIPD has revealed the employee rewards and recognition in the workplace is quickly becoming a driving factor in employee satisfaction and retention. With spending on employee wellbeing set to increase our online resources can help support managers shape a healthy and happy team.

  7. Limited access to health and wellbeing services
  8. Health and wellbeing benefits encourage a positive working environment that can reduce work related illnesses such as stress. Businesses that support the wellbeing of their employees benefit from a healthy, happy and engaged workforce. Some employers may even find it helps to reduce absenteeism and lower staff turnover.

    The pandemic has pushed employee health and wellbeing to the top of the agenda. Over the last year there has been a 50% increase in Google searches for ‘health and wellbeing in the workplace’. Employers need to place a greater focus on wellbeing policies. Asking employees for feedback on how they can support their health at work is the first step in creating a successful health and wellbeing strategy.

    There are lots of ways employers can help keep their team fit and well. From medical and dental cover, access to mental health services, such as employee assistance programmes (EAP). To preventive healthcare such as employee health assessments or proactive wellbeing programmes, such as support for colleagues experiencing the menopause.

  9. Negative workplace culture
  10. A company’s working environment can have a huge impact on employee wellbeing, psychological safety and engagement. There are lots of factors that can lead to a negative working environment. These include a tense atmosphere, disagreements between colleagues, poor management and a lack of work-life balance. As a result, employees may not feel comfortable to be their true selves in the workplace, challenge the norm and share innovative ideas, or ask for help and support if they’re struggling.

    Encouraging effective communication and team collaboration can help create a positive working environment. Team-building exercises, such as volunteering activities, regular catch-ups and workshops can also boost motivation and helping your team to get to know each other better.

    With a 30% rise in Google searches for ‘workplace culture’ since April 2021, it is important businesses are reviewing their workplace culture. Working with all employees to implement actions to create a positive working environment for everyone.


How to support talent retention in the workplace according to Rachel Murray, Head of Employee Health and Wellbeing at Bupa

Multiple factors can impact employee wellbeing. Rachel Murray, Head of Employee Health and Wellbeing at Bupa, shares six simple ways managers can boost their team’s satisfaction, employee retention and attract new talent.


  1. Make time for your team and provide feedback
  2. Make sure to book in regular check ins with your team. They give you the opportunity to discuss and review your team’s workload and check-in on their wellbeing. Take time to get to know your team members better, helping you to build trust and better understand when they might need help.

    If a team member has expressed an interest in developing their skills, take the time to talk about their role. Find out any areas they enjoy as well as areas they’d like to progress. This will help you to support them in finding suitable courses or understanding the next steps to help them achieve their development goals.

  3. Training for business leaders
  4. Business leaders play a vital role in the day-to-day operations of a business that can impact employee wellbeing. Company policies, management styles and workplace culture are all influenced by business leaders.

    Education and adequate training can help you to be confident that business executives and managers are promoting a positive working environment. Businesses benefit from a strong leadership team that are equipped with the skills to support everyone’s wellbeing, drive organisational goals, and results.

    Our health and wellbeing insights cover management skills that can encourage a healthier, happier and engaged team.

  5. Promote a healthy work-life balance
  6. A healthy work-life balance looks different to us all. However, encouraging your team to take time away from work to switch off from their work responsibilities has a positive impact on employee wellbeing.

    Whilst remote and hybrid working have created many benefits, this work set up also challenges the boundaries between home life and work life. However, creating clear boundaries at the end of the working day can help us to unwind and reduce the risk of workplace health concerns such as stress or burnout. From packing your up your workspace and setting a clear time to finish working each day. To spending time with loved ones, exercising, doing hobbies you enjoy, or practising selfcare – there are lots of way you can set clear boundaries between home and work.

    Similarly, as a manager checking in on your team’s workload and helping them to manage any tight deadlines or work prioritisation helps to promote a positive working culture and makes your team feel supported.

  7. Acknowledge your team’s achievements
  8. Taking the time to celebrate your teams’ successes can help to boost employee morale and productivity. There are lots of ways to show your employees their work efforts are valued. A shout-out during a team call, meeting or email to a social event to recognise your team’s achievements can all make a positive difference.

  9. Provide access to health services
  10. Health and wellbeing have become an increasingly important focus over recent years. If you’re not already, take greater responsibility of wellbeing management. Ensure employees have access to mental, physical, financial, and social support services. A holistic approach to wellbeing gives your employees the choice to access support that best suits their individual needs. Investing time and resources in this area should help improve business productivity and reduce employee turnover and absences. This contributes to a successful business environment.

    There are lots of steps that businesses can take to place an increased emphasis on employee wellbeing. This includes access to employee medical cover, mental health initiatives, and regular check-ins. Our Workplace Health Insights Series offer support and advice on how managers can support employee health and wellbeing at work.

  11. Encourage open communication
  12. Encouraging effective open communication supports good teamwork, collaboration and productivity in the workplace.

    Regular and open communication promotes the sharing of information, builds connection and the opportunity to work through challenges together. As a result, effective communication can reduce micromanagement in the workplace. It also helps to encourage a psychologically safe culture in which all employees feel comfortable to be themselves and supported to perform their best work.

    As a manager, you can lead by example and inspire open communication within your team. Ask for and acknowledge your team’s input and feedback. Encourage them to make time to chat during the day to help them to feel connected.

Sources

  • Collins, S and Collins, K. Micromanagement--a costly management style. National Library of Medicine. Nov-Dec 2002;24(6):32-5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12510608/
  • CIPD. Financial wellbeing: an evidence review. www.cipd.co.uk. Accessed 22nd April 2022
  • CIPD. Reward: an introduction. www.cipd.co.uk. Accessed 22nd April 2022
  • HSE Network. ISO 45003 and the need for psychological health and safety. www.hse-network.com. Accessed 28th April 2022

Data provided by Google from April 2021-March 2022. Based on an internal analysis of Google search data.

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