6 Ways entrepreneurs can enhance both employee health and overall business performance

The link between employee health and overall business performance is becoming increasingly evident. As companies strive to foster a culture of productivity and innovation, prioritising the wellbeing of their workforce has emerged as a critical strategy for success.

To shed light on this intersection, we turn to Bianca Errigo, co-founder of HumanOS, a leading platform for optimising health behaviours. Continue reading as she explores the various ways in which entrepreneurs can enhance employee health to drive organisational excellence:

Reading time: 10 minutes


6 Ways entrepreneurs can enhance both employee health and overall business performance

2023 reported the highest sick leave in a decade, I know, shocking! Aren’t we meant to be living in a time with more emphasis on employee health and wellbeing than ever before? If we go deeper, 76% of professionals are experiencing moderate to high levels of stress, a huge 13% increase from 2022. In any given week, 6 in 100 people will be diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder in England, 56% of employees are now experiencing symptoms of depression and burnout is also on the rapid rise with google searches for ‘burnout symptoms’ increasing by 75% in 2022 and 248% since 2018! This discrepancy between the availability of wellbeing solutions and the worsening state of employee health highlights a number of fundamental issues and so we need to be asking ourselves – where are we going wrong? How can we prevent these problems not just to improve the life of our employees but also improve the chance of survival for our businesses?

We are starting to see organisations recognise the importance of health and wellbeing in the workplace and there is some more encouraging data to support this. 53% now have dedicated health and wellbeing strategies and 69% report that senior leaders have employee wellbeing on their agenda. We know the importance of happy, healthy employees and the data continues to demonstrate how they outperform their unhappy counterparts.

The “Top 100 ‘happiest’ companies” with the highest levels of employee wellbeing outperformed S&P 500 and Dow Jones by 20% since 2021 with increased firm value, return on assets and higher profits. Other studies have shown happy workers are on average 13% more productive. Now I don’t need to explain to you why this is, I am sure if you are reading this you can draw to mind many personal experiences that support these figures.

Before we go any further however, I do want you to consider what your ideal working life looks like? What is your ideal environment? Who are you surrounded by? What personal needs are being met? Did you think about free fruit? Office yoga? Did you think about having a dentist on site or even a fancy gym? I doubt it.

Similar to tending to our own health to optimise our behaviours, it is essential to master our basic habits first. This principle applies equally to businesses when supporting their teams, which leads me to my first point:


1. Meet the basic needs of your people

Before a company does anything else for the wellbeing of their people the primary focus needs to be addressing their basic needs, not superficial perks. Wellbeing goes beyond free fruit and yoga; it encompasses psychological safety, a culture of equality and belonging, opportunity for personal and professional development, meaning in one’s work, fair pay and a flexibility to give people the time they need to take control of their health.

The real issues in today’s workplaces often stem from toxic cultures, poor management, inequality, overworked and underpaid employees, blurred work-life boundaries, and fears around financial stability. To inspire change, we must move away from wellbeing benefits with low engagement rates and little impact and instead focus on cultivating workplaces, cultures and environments that allow both individuals and businesses to thrive.


2. Implement engaging offerings

One of the critical reasons for the failure of wellbeing initiatives is the low engagement and high dropout rates. We need to provide solutions that have flexibility in their services. So, imagine you are in a position where the basic needs of your people are being met, and now you want to take them from good to great. You decide to invest in gym memberships for everyone. This way, they can prioritise their physical health and, in turn, show up more at work. Well, that is great but what if half your workforce are runners, or workout online, or prefer yoga? An effective solution is one that lets your people pick and choose and change what they want.

An offering must be diverse so people can access the correct support and services as and when they need. So what makes a good tool? An easy to implement model when testing the suitability of your offering is the EAST Model. Is your offering:

  • Easy: To use and understand why you are using it
  • Attractive: Intuitive and looks good
  • Social: Encouraging interaction, friendly competition, or to improve connection
  • Timely: Respects differing schedules so people can engage how and when suits them.


3. Be flexible

Let’s be honest, the way the working world operates is changing. The demands of the worker (especially younger generations) are changing. Technology is changing. If you want to attract and retain top talent and keep your turnover low then you have to be meeting these demands and this often means demonstrating flexibility. Whether this is in working hours, days in the office, in your maternity / paternity support – flexibility is key.

I was having a conversation recently with a group of women who had just graduated from some amazing universities with great grades and were looking for their first jobs. As they were running through their offers with me I was excited, they were strong offers at well-established organisations. There was a problem for them however, the employers wanted them in the office 4 days a week and so none of them were accepting the offers. Not one.


4. Communicate clearly

This is so simple, it costs nothing but still so many get it so wrong. Open and two-way communication is key. The pandemic is a great example of when companies had to do this frequently and in return employees demonstrated patience and trust. Of course, as a leader there will always be things the entire team does not need to know but you must be aware of where your internal communication could be more effective and apply some energy here.

Communication not only helps build trust and a high-performing culture, it is the foundation for surviving challenging business times. Many organisations send out frequent surveys or ask frequent questions but don’t acknowledge the feedback, let alone action any change. Closing the feedback loop is key for trust and engagement. It demonstrates commitment from the company to the employee and critical is the company wants this in return.

It can be something as simple as a weekly update email to all employees, it is not time-consuming and it is not expensive but it makes a huge difference.

5. Encourage Diversity, Equality & Inclusion (DE&I)

Diverse and inclusive workforces are fundamental to the future of working. Diverse companies are more innovative and outperform those who are not. This is not only how the workforce should be regardless but also this is key to low turnover and high performance. 69% of millennials and Gen Z workers are more likely to stay 5+ years with a company that prioritises diversity. Companies who invest in hiring disabled employees outperform those who don’t with profit margins around 30% higher, net income 200% higher and 28% higher revenues.

Promote DE&I in your workforce, in all you do. It is important to note there is a huge difference between diversity, equality and equity within the workplace and the latter must be a priority.


6. Invest in your people

We need to be training our people properly and if we do, we will see huge results. If we look at just one area, emotional intelligence, we know this is key to effective leadership and it has been found training on this can yield a 1484% return on investment for organisations.

Post-pandemic there has been even more emphasis on managers to not only support people with their job-based performance but also emotionally. So while businesses recover from a pandemic, amidst financial uncertainty and global political unrest we are now also asking our managers to be responsible for their teams performance and their emotions?! Should people feel safe to discuss personal issues at work in the correct setting and be supported on this? Absolutely. The problem is we are not training people correctly to offer such support.

“Accidental” managers, also known as individuals who were placed in managerial positions without any formal training, make up 82% of the population and lack of supervisor support is considered a large contributor to burnout. Your managers need adequate training and support.

And let’s not forget about the rest of the team. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world and this can impact on how individuals perform. I speak a lot about the grey area between where organisations must take ownership and where it must come from the individual. It is the organisation’s responsibility to create a space where the individual can take ownership. Role modelling as well as investing in the development of employees is crucial. Key areas still not given enough focus are: recognising and avoiding burnout, emotional intelligence and communication, imposter syndrome, the art of resilience, financial wellbeing, equality, neurodivergency, female health and men’s mental health. This only scrathes the surface.



So to conclude, we are in extremely competitive times, no matter what stage of your business nor your sector. With political unrest, economic instability and the rate of technological advancement – if we are not doing all we can to be adaptable, innovative and performing at our best, we are going to be left behind. We cannot do any of these things well without our people. We need to build cultures, environments and systems that attract the top talent, keep our turnover low and allow individuals to perform sustainably at their best.

Remember, wellbeing starts with culture. No more well-intended but inadequate initiatives, we need to create systemic change with a focus on cultural improvements, and flexibility to cater to the diverse needs of modern employees. People leaders, decision-makers, and entrepreneurs play a pivotal role in shaping environments that promote both individual wellbeing and business success.

My advice would be to prioritise the basic needs of your people, build a culture of trust, support and equality. Implement strategies that work for both your individuals and your business, like in any successful relationship, find a compromise. By doing so, you can pave the way for positive and lasting impacts on employee wellbeing, your workplace culture, and your bottom line.

Bianca Errigo is a wellbeing speaker, recently voted American Express “Speaker of the Year 2023” for her work around “Emotional Intelligence and Success” her clients include Cisco, Snapchat, The University of Cambridge, the NHS and many more.

She is co-founder of health optimisation platform HumanOS (a employee performance platform which combines best-in-field coaching and cutting-edge technology), a Stress Management Specialist, CBT and Mindfulness Practitioner, Level 3 Life-coach, Level 4 Advanced Personal Trainer and originally graduated with a BSc in Psychology.

Bianca began her career working for the world’s largest IT services company but after a number of successful but extremely stressful years within the top performing global sales team, coupled with the loss of her father, Bianca saw a dramatic deterioration in her own health and decided she had to make some changes. Bianca now combines her education, her time working in the corporate world, over 10,000 1-2-1 coaching hours and her experience, partnering with some of the world’s largest organisations to deliver talks that enhance both employee health and business success.