How to support the wellbeing of younger employees

With a recent focus on zero-hour contracts in the media, we look at how you can maintain the wellbeing of your younger staff.

Large or small. B2B or B2C. Profit or not-for-profit. UK or abroad. Employee wellbeing forms an important part of every business’ set-up.

With stakeholders to please, profits to hit and deadlines to meet, employee wellbeing can often be overlooked and put on the back-burner. If this sounds like you, then you’re missing out.

Kay Bardgett, HR Consultant at Citation, strongly believes the business benefits of happy and engaged employees are plentiful. From increased productivity, a positive working culture and reduced turnover rates, there’s a lot to be received if you’re prepared to give.

Wellbeing among younger employees

It goes without saying that wellbeing is essential for employees of any age. But in-light of recent research, let’s switch our focus to younger employees alone.

A newly published study conducted on people living in England, born between 1989-1990, reveals that five per cent of its respondents were on zero-hour contracts. Furthermore, the findings highlighted that those on zero-hour contracts were 50 per cent more likely to suffer from poor mental health than those on a more secure employment contract – like full or part-time hours, for example.

How to support younger employees

If you’re a business owner or manager, it’s your onus to look after those under your wing. Here are a few ways you can actively support the wellbeing of younger generations on zero-hour contracts. Remember, these apply to employees of any age too.

1. Keep them in the loop

It’s not a case of out of sight, out of mind. Employees on zero-hour contracts might not be in and around your business’ premises as often as others, but you should still include them in communication around things like team meetings, training days and business outings.

This’ll help them to feel valued and engaged, give them job satisfaction and allow them to still develop their career and skill-set.

2. Clear guidance

As you would and should with any employee, make sure you give them clear guidance and set achievable and well-communicated job expectations.

3. Engagement is key

Your engagement and business benefit set-up should be rolled out to employees of any age, and on any contract type. Make sure this is cascaded to those on zero-hour contracts so that they don’t feel neglected or like they’re missing out. Depending on the business benefits you provide, if you wish, you could make them available on a pro rata basis.

4. Offer opportunities

Don’t stop offering opportunities. If there’s a job vacancy available or a spot to help with charity work, for example, make sure you circulate the openings with all employees.

5. Take a genuine interest

Don’t shun employees on zero-hour contracts or show them any less interest. Take the time to find out how they are – as you would with all your employees.

6. Be mindful of their stress levels

Part of being a manager or business owner is looking after the mental welfare of your employees. Look out for any symptoms that an employee might be suffering from stress – due to problems in or out of work. If you think there’s a cause for concern, gently pull them to one side to address the issue and see if there’s anything you can do to help.

Employee rights

Remember, all employees on zero-hour contracts are entitled to statutory employment rights, like the National Minimum Wage, National Living Wage and the minimum level of paid holiday, to name just a few.

Zero-hour contracts offer both employers and employees greater flexibility, but it’s important to make sure they’re suitable before implementing them.

For an in-depth look at what they are, whether they’re right, alternatives, entitlements and when they shouldn’t be used, head over to an expert guide on zero-hour contracts here.

Further reading on staff wellbeing

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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Employee wellbeing

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