Bupa first to declare support for key pledge driving greater business diversity

20 December 2019 . United Kingdom

A new government-backed pledge, designed to improve diversity within UK businesses, has received its first public declaration of support. 

Over a quarter of people (28%) in the workplace suffer bullying and/or discrimination on issues such as gender, age or sexual orientation, according to a new study1

The Workplace Wellbeing Census, conducted by leading healthcare provider Bupa, found that such actions are the most harmful factors influencing workplace wellbeing.

Women in the workplace face significant challenges with over a third (34%) experiencing bullying or discrimination, compared to 22 per cent of men. Women are also more than four times as likely to suffer negatively from workplace gender discrimination than men (13% vs 3%).

The study looks at a range of factors and employer actions affecting wellbeing, consulting over 4,000 employees across 12 key industries. It shows that allowing employees to be themselves without fear of bullying or discrimination is crucial in enabling people to thrive at work.

For employees who have suffered a negative impact on their wellbeing from bullying or discrimination at work in the last three years, bullying specifically is by far the most common cause affecting 44 per cent of people, making it the single biggest workplace wellbeing issue reported for UK employers.

But many employees feel they cannot talk to their manager about their wellbeing issues for fear of being judged (48%), often choosing to handle issues on their own (50%). More than two fifths (42%) would not feel comfortable talking to management and a similar proportion (43%) currently don’t have access to wellbeing support services at work.

However, it seems that being able to speak out on bullying or discrimination is important, with the data showing a strong correlation between workplace happiness and comfort in talking to managers about problems. Half (51%) of employees who have discussed a wellbeing issue with their manager – work-related or not - reported it was a positive experience.

Overall, almost one in four (23%) employees in the UK is struggling with poor wellbeing in a working week – with almost three quarters citing workplace and mental health issues as key factors (72% each).

Those working in Transportation & Distribution report the highest proportion of poor wellbeing (31%), while employees working in Education in the private sector seem to have a better wellbeing compared to other industries (84%).

Higher salaries (57%), better recognition for work (35%) and more manageable workloads (27%) are seen as ways in which workplace wellbeing can be improved. While colleagues (50%) and encouraging an inclusive work culture (25%) are other key factors found to have a positive impact on wellbeing in the last 12 months.

David Hynam, Bupa Global & UK CEO, said: “Creating a positive working environment where employees are comfortable to bring their whole self to work, and being able to speak up if they experience any problems, is absolutely key to enabling your people to thrive in the workplace.

“I believe it’s particularly important for businesses to have a clear stance on inclusion. Having a code of conduct that clearly sets out that all colleagues are treated equally, regardless of gender, age, race, sexual orientation or religion is one way to help everyone feel comfortable within the business and that discrimination and bullying has absolutely no place within the organisation.

“At Bupa, we’re proud of the initiatives we have in place, but we’re not perfect - like many businesses we’re on a journey. With changing trends and worrying statistics hitting headlines, we hope this study will help other businesses embrace and embed a workplace wellbeing strategy that helps them and their employees to live longer, healthier, happier lives.”

Last year, Bupa launched the ‘Everyone’s Welcome’ pledge, a business commitment to embrace diversity across its workforce within a fully inclusive environment. In addition, the company’s ‘Be you at Bupa’ initiative encourages colleagues to share their thoughts on what inclusion means for them and how Bupa can support them to be their true selves at work.

The Bupa Code explains how Bupa protects its customers, colleagues and partners - helping employees understand what is expected of them and to make the right choices. And if anyone has a concern relating to Bupa, they are encouraged to share this confidentially and (and even anonymously) through Bupa’s Speak Up service.

Notes to editor

For more information please contact the Bupa Press Office.  

About Leaders As Change Agents (LACA):  

The organisation was created in 2019 to encourage business leaders to promote greater diversity and inclusion at the top levels of business in the UK. The LACA Board is an independent Expert Committee, which provides advice to Government and engages directly with business. Members come from across a broad range of sectors and have all signalled their commitment to the agenda.   

About Bupa Global and UK

Bupa's purpose is helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives.

Health insurance is the major part of our Bupa Global and UK business. Bupa UK is the UK’s leading health insurer offering health insurance to 2.2 million people. By providing direct access to MSK, mental health and cancer care, we enable our customers to access fast, high quality healthcare that is right for them, giving them choice and flexibility. We also provide pay-as-you-go healthcare, health cash plan and travel insurance. Bupa Global is the international health insurance arm of Bupa, serving 450,000 customers around the world. We provide products and services for globally minded and mobile people who want the most premium coverage and access to the healthcare they need anytime, anywhere in the world, whether at home or when studying, living, travelling or working abroad.

Bupa Dental Care is a leading provider of private and NHS dentistry in the UK, with around 2.4 million patients and over 480+ dental practices across the UK and Ireland. Bupa Care Services cares for around 6,800 residents in 120+ care homes, and eight Richmond villages. Bupa Health Services comprises 49 health clinics, and the Bupa Cromwell Hospital, a complex care hospital in London provides care for insured, self-pay, NHS and international patients.

Bupa Global and UK employs around 25,000 people.

For more information, visit Bupa UK

About Bupa

Bupa's purpose is helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives and making a better world.

We are an international healthcare company serving over 31 million customers worldwide. With no shareholders, our customers are our focus. We reinvest profits into providing more and better healthcare for the benefit of current and future customers.

Health insurance accounts for 17.9m customers and contributes 72% of our revenue. In health provision, we operate clinics, dental centres and hospitals in some markets serving another 13.6m customers. We also care for around 20,000 residents in our aged care businesses in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Spain.

We directly employ around 84,000 people, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, Chile, Poland, New Zealand, Hong Kong SAR, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, the US, Middle East and Ireland. We also have associate businesses in Saudi Arabia and India.

For more information, visit www.bupa.com.