Well-being and Careers

career conversation careers human resources leaders managers well-being Jun 15, 2022

Over the last 2 years during the Covid Pandemic it has become all too apparent that issues relating to health and well-being are impacting everyone, and that holistic well-being is critical for any healthy and functioning society. We always knew that, but I think we never really felt it as much. The emergency of the ‘Great Resignation’, where a significant number of employees in various surveys confirm their intent to change jobs or career has a clear link to well-being, mental health and how people want to be treated by their employers.

Well-being is not just not being sick, but it is a broader bio-psycho-social construct that includes physical, mental and social health. The Marmot review in 2011 had already highlighted that health in England was becoming more unequal and that life expectancy had actually started to fall. There is plenty of data indicating that work plays a critical role in people's overall sense of wellbeing and overall satisfaction as well as for people’s happiness. 

Poor mental and physical health leads to sickness absence, presenteeism and increased labour turnover. Most people do not perceive work to be enjoyable, particularly if people work with their boss, if they have limited flexibility or control, if they feel not engaged and if they have no sense of development, progression or future. We know that managing staff by praise and reward, enabling the benefits of flexible working where possible and high employee engagement, creates a culture of trust which is important for well-being.

Over the Covid pandemic companies increased their focus on mental health and well-being and with the pandemic coming to an end this focus has remained. We at The Careers Company applaud this, as promoting wellbeing is a cornerstone of our coaching practice. Organisations since the pandemic have developed more proactive policies and training programs to improve mental health and well-being awareness for managers and staff – we just recently had Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. 

Overall during the pandemic people have made significant changes in their lives and the world of work has been impacted in various ways – the expectation to work virtually or hybrid will for sure remain. People are still leaving unsupportive environments, they are moving jobs and careers and overall looking for more meaningful careers. A recent example from a Gallup study shows that graduates are seeking more fulfilling careers. The ‘Great Resignation’ has not yet come to an end and employment is one of the most critical factors of well-being. 

“We know that managing staff by praise and reward, enabling the benefits of flexible working where possible and high employee engagement, creates a culture of trust which is important for well-being.”

Being happy and engaged at work has a positive impact on productivity, job prospects, creativity, health and many other areas. The ability to plan effectively has a positive impact on life satisfaction and sense of direction. Companies still focus a lot on stress management, employee engagement and good work elements (job design, flexible working), but personal growth (e.g. mentoring), healthy lifestyle choices and financial wellbeing are less prominent. Given the feedback linked to the ‘Great Resignation’ there needs to be far more focus on personal development as part of mental health awareness. A key element in this space is career development. 

We at The Careers Company are all about fostering good career conversations. This is because career coaching and effective career conversations with line managers can act as a mental health intervention, linking work to values, personal growth, agency, direction, purpose and improving career and job satisfaction. Line managers play a critical role in enabling employees to thrive and are often the first ones to be involved when the well-being and mental health of employees is suffering. Organisations need to continue to maximise the employees mental and physical health. That benefits everyone: the employees, the organisation and the society and we want to be part of this journey. 

For more information about the approach we take and the services we offer, follow this link.

Claudia is a Director of The Careers Company. Prior to joining Claudia enjoyed a successful international career in Human Resources as Head of Talent for a number of organisations in a large FTSE 100 organisation. She is also a volunteer at Dose of Nature, a UK mental health charity, focusing on the improvement of mental health and well-being by increased engagement with the natural world.


CIPD. (2021) Health and wellbeing at work survey 2021. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
Work and Well-being: A global Perspective, J-E. De Neve
Early article linking career development and mental health (E.Herr; 1989, journal of career development; volume 16 issue 1, page(s):5-18


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