What’s costing the UK economy £23.6 billion a year?

Nikki Gatenby

April 19, 2018


Poor company culture that’s what, according to Breathe HR’s The Culture Economy study.


Their findings have also thrown out some fresh and tough perspectives across the area of culture, in particular in such areas as gender diversity and health in the workplace:

  • Like never before, the increasing number of women in the workplace, bringing a focus to the gender pay gap analysis and desperate need for equal pay, still sees a huge imbalance at the top of the business elite. Alarmingly, the FTSE 100 has only seven female Chief Executives in their ranks. In fact, and I quote, ‘There are more men called Dave (or Steve) at the top of the FTSE than there are women’. Oomph.
  • And that a crucially important aspect of a positive workplace is the culture of social connections and relationships. Toxic workplaces affect health and wellbeing (obvs), with evidence from the University of California being all too clear – the probability of dying early is; “20% for obese people, 30% higher for excessive drinkers, 50% higher for smokers but 70% higher for people with poor social relationships.” Put down that gin and go to the gym, but more importantly, engage with those around you. Clearly work is not the sole representative of relationships in life, but we spend enough time engaged in work for them to matter.

The report is stacked with other inspiring ideas for positive workplace practitioners. It’s a good read (and for full disclosure, we’ve contributed to the report, along with Jamie Oliver Ltd, Talon Outdoor, Vapormatic, White Cross Vets, EQT Ventures and Masabi) …summed up in an excerpt from the foreword;


The report shows how a positive culture gives businesses a clear competitive advantage. It can insure against potential turbulence if the culture is wrong, such as poor quality work, complaints and high staff turnover.

Put like that, and it’s hard to pick holes in the case for creating and supporting positive culture in the workplace.


Yes, I couldn’t agree more. In times of harmony and times of trouble, workplace culture can either propel you forward or be the making or breaking of your business. In fact, this means so much to us here at Propellernet, we’ve written a book about it, Superengaged. We’re just adding the final touches, but you can download a sneak peek here.


We SMEs should take notice of these kind of insights, we can make a difference to the overall health of our organisations and to this country.  I defer to the Dalai Lama in this case; “Ever thought you were too small to make a difference? Try sleeping in a room with a mosquito.”


Have a read of the report, see what inspires you and how we can all increase engagement at work through positive culture. After all, we SMEs are responsible for 99% of UK businesses, 60% of employees and 50% of our national GDP.  Reality bites.

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