This article is provided by BRC Associate Member Retail Trust.


Mental ill health costs UK employers up to £56 billion a year according to analysis by Deloitte which looked at the cost of staff calling in sick, working while unwell or quitting their jobs.

This could be having an ever increasing impact on British businesses, with Department for Work and Pensions data showing more than two third of the UK’s incapacity benefit claimants are now off work for mental health issues.

Meanwhile BRC figures suggest the annual turnover rate for UK retail staff is as high as 50%.

And the Retail Trust’s own research has found more than one in three workers are considering leaving their jobs due to the levels of assaults and crime they’re now facing.

We’re proud of the more than 200 retailers who work with the Retail Trust to improve the wellbeing of the retail workforce. We know they want to continue to address the causes of poor mental health.

But with many also telling us they struggled to identify the right steps and prove the tangible value of investing in their people’s wellbeing, we wanted to make it much easier for them to prioritise the best initiatives and really show how these can impact their business’s success.  

And, thanks to the latest developments in generative AI and our technology partners BJSS and WorkL, that is now a reality.

The Retail Trust’s new happiness dashboard uses data from colleagues’ interactions with our services and wellbeing surveys to show how people are using our support, provide an overall picture of staff mental health and generates actionable insights to help employers address specific issues.

We can use Deloitte’s analysis to demonstrate how much employers’ initiatives to improve mental health are saving the business, by calculating the financial value of reduced absenteeism or presenteeism, and increased staff retention.

We’re even able to show how much their efforts are saving the economy, by reducing the numbers of sick play claims or reliance on NHS services for example, using the government backed Wellby standard.

The dashboard was developed in partnership with retailers like FatFace, Next and Ann Summers and, with more of the UK’s retail employers since adopting the technology, this is already providing the collective power to make retail a happier and healthier place to work.

It’s empowering more businesses to develop new and targeted initiatives that protect their people’s wellbeing and giving them them evidence-based, actionable insights to empower their colleagues to take charge of their health and wellbeing.

This is also central to Together Fest, the Retail Trust’s now annual wellbeing festival, where we’ll be uniting another 1,000 retail workers during Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 for a full day of inspiring talks, masterclasses and interactive sessions designed to equip people with the essential tools to improve their mental health in and outside of the workplace.

As with previous years, the event will feature dozens of wellbeing experts and well-known names to  provide people with plenty of new ideas to improve and protect their wellbeing, in and outside the workplace, with teams from some of Britain’s biggest retailers in attendance. You can view a snapshot of 2023’s event here.

We just hope that as more and more businesses see the benefit of initiatives like these on their company’s creativity, productivity, profitability and sustainability, they’ll realise that workplace wellbeing is one thing they can no longer afford to ignore.