Free pizza just won’t cut it

I love pizza, and who doesn’t like free stuff? Providing a free dinner can be a default option to try to compensate for a culture of long working hours. For me that just won’t cut it - I opted to work for an organisation that cares about my well-being.

Some great organisations think the same, genuinely putting employee well-being at the heart of how they do business, but in many companies our research shows it’s still lip service. The findings of our Absence Management survey, conducted in partnership with Simplyhealth, reveal that 43% of organisations said that, to a great or a moderate extent, long working hours are the norm in their organisation. And a surprising 47% said employee well-being is on senior leaders’ agendas to a little extent or not at all.

We’re out to set aspiration for a more holistic and embedded approach to employee well-being, driving practice through our CIPD research. We want a healthy workplace to be the norm, not the exception or a privilege. It’s certainly not an easy task and it won’t be achieved overnight, as it involves close examination of how workplace fundamentals support employee well-being (or not). It’s about your culture, leadership and people management.

But we believe even small steps can have a big impact on our experience of work and in turn, the kind of value we add to the companies we work for. Who doesn’t want a productive workforce who innovates and makes the right decisions for the company’s long-term goals, and a workplace that attracts amazing people?

We talk about the need for a strong business case to persuade the nay-sayers of the value of taking action – how do we make it compelling for more resonance? Often we focus on cost-avoidance in terms of the cost can we save by, for example, reducing our absence levels. What about turning the business case on its head and focusing on the gains? The body of evidence on the shared value of taking action is growing – value for the employer, employee and wider society.

This shared value concept is something we wanted to explore further and we asked some thought-leading experts to give us their views on this and other aspects of employee well-being. Take a look at our collection of thought pieces to see what they had to say about:

  • Well-being: good for employees, good for business?
  • Turning the well-being theory into practice
  • Measuring employee well-being
  • Good mental health is everyone’s business

So what do we at CIPD think a great employee well-being approach looks like? Rather than me explaining in long paragraphs, take a look at our animation, where pictures speak a thousand words.

Take a look at our new hub-page to find out more and join in the debate, share your views and what your organisation does to promote employee well-being using #wellbeing16

Thank you for your comments. There may be a short delay in this going live on the blog page as we moderate the comments added to our blogs.

  • Anonymous


    Good to see that the culture of long working hours is still on the agenda. Last year, the International Institute of Risk & Safety Management carried out a survey into 'the Impact of New Working Method - a Psychosocial Risk Perspective' as part of our contribution to the EU OSHA Healthy Workplace Campaign. The results showed that around 70% of respondents felt that their organisations relied of staff working in excess of contractual hours, just to do their normal duties. In addition, 65% felt that the key stressor was job demands.

    The paper can be found on our website at

    Barry Holt

    Director of Policy & Research


  • Anonymous

    Thanks Jill, all good stuff and completely agree. It reminds me of rule #10 here

    I read lots of good pieces from the CIPD about well being (and avoiding negative consequences like stress etc) but less about the performance benefits (enhancements) of sleeping well, eating well and exercising well.

  • Anonymous

    I remember being fed pizza for long work hours.  Also of note is that the type of food employees are fed has a direct link to their performance and resilience at work. A caring organisation cares about the whole picture of wellbeing.

    Joanne Hart, Registered Nutritional Therapist, mBANT, BSc (Hons).