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UK leaders develop future-minded skills with BetterUp

June 13, 2022 - 9 min read


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UK leaders are struggling

Managers make or break an organisation

Coaching delivers measurable results

For UK organisations, it's never been harder to prepare for what's next. Unpredictability in the market opened the door for disruption and talent loss — the Office for National Statistics reports that job vacancies in the UK are at a record high.

The statistics are bleak, and HR leaders are rightfully worried.

Gartner reveals that 91% of HR Leaders are increasingly concerned about employee turnover in the coming months. And a study by HR software company, Personio, confirms the concern. The research on 500 HR decision-makers and 2,000 employees in the UK and Ireland found that 38% of workers plan to switch jobs in six to 12 months.

This turnover could cost up to £17 billion for businesses.

UK leaders are struggling

BetterUp data on over 2,000 leaders in the UK shows that people are struggling to focus and strategically plan. This is not surprising considering the constant uncertainty workers faced in recent years. But poor concentration and planning affect mental health. Studies suggest that an inability to plan makes us feel powerless, which in turn causes stress and emotional turmoil. 

And people in the UK are suffering. Research by the Health and Safety Executive shows that in 2020 and 2021, work-related stress, depression, or anxiety accounted for 50% of sick days.

The ripple effect of poor planning, focus, and stress is clear in UK workers' low productivity and well-being scores. And the rapid shift to remote and hybrid work has left many managers navigating a new work landscape without any training or guidance.

Hybrid work requires a new kind of leadership

Managing a hybrid team requires new skills and brings on new challenges. 

BetterUp research indicates that hybrid and remote workers are experiencing the lowest levels of belonging in years. On top of their daily responsibilities and objectives, leaders must now increase focus on their direct reports' emotional well-being — ensuring they feel someone cares about them and their development — all while rarely or never seeing each other face-to-face. 

So how can HR leaders help employees strategize for the future, stagnate stress, and boost belonging, engagement, and productivity? The answer — develop front-line managers.


Managers make or break an organisation

Front-line managers are the most significant lever organisations can pull to keep people engaged and satisfied. If you've ever had a bad manager, you know the negative influence they yield. If you haven't, you know that the desire to put in the extra effort is to support someone who supports you. 

When leaders are working at peak performance, so are their teams. Our research identified a leadership profile that's tied to planning, alignment, and other critical skills for navigating the inevitable challenges leaders face — the Future-Minded Leader. Teams led by Future-Minded Leaders score 18% higher on performance and innovation metrics and 25% higher on agility. These teams are also 15% more resilient and 19% more engaged.

Developing Future-Minded Leaders is good for people and for businesses. But not all managers face the same problems.

Traditional training falls short

Each industry presents unique obstacles, and each company has specific constraints. This is one of the main reasons traditional leadership development falls short. A one-size-fits-all approach leaves leaders with little advice on how to apply training methods to personal challenges.

Training is also often a one-and-done activity or happens so rarely that the material doesn't stick. The adage, "if you don't use it, you lose it," applies when it comes to personal and professional development. Employees forget up to 75% of the information presented in traditional training programs.

Gartner's research on HR leaders in 60 countries found that 24% believe they do not effectively develop midlevel leaders. 

The need for developing top talent in a sustainable way at scale has never been greater.


Coaching delivers measurable results

Organisations across the UK partnered with BetterUp to provide 1:1 personalised coaching to their employees. The results deliver impact companies can measure. 

With embedded assessments, HR leaders tracked employee behaviour change over time. That behaviour change was connected to critical success metrics for each organisation. And with the largest employee-behaviour-change data set on the planet for comparison, companies mapped their leader's scores to industry benchmarks, identifying areas for improvement.

The same +2,000 leaders across the UK utilized BetterUp coaches and custom content and resources to shift from surviving to thriving.

The results

BetterUp coaching helped develop Future-Minded Leaders.

  • Strategic planning skills rose by 35%
  • Focus grew by 24%
  • Productivity improved by 14%
  • 91% of UK leaders say their BetterUp sessions make them more effective at work

"BetterUp has been a really good journey, increasing my self-awareness and really identifying what matters. I got some great tools and advice for strategic planning, stress management, and managing rest. It is really grounding to take a step off the hamster wheel and look at what is important and to identify what I want for my future."

Leader, Pharmaceuticals Industry


Beyond performance metrics, 68% of leaders say their coaching sessions are life-changing or amazing, and 98% say BetterUp is a valuable use of their limited time. Data shows how management techniques and skills have created less stress, more resilience, and improved well-being. 

  • +22% Stress Management
  • +17% Resilience
  • +17% Well-being


"This process has been a revelation. I learned a huge amount about my real self and am very conscious of how my prior beliefs were formed and, most importantly, that the only thing that can hold you back from having an enriched life is yourself. I have matured as an individual. As a result, I am a better leader, a better wife, and a better mother. All around, I am more balanced, more in control, and more content and happy."

Leader, Finance Industry


In the end, when people feel their organisation cares, so do they. 1:1 coaching gives people the space and support to identify and develop their strengths and weaknesses. And BetterUp Care™ brings mental fitness to an entire enterprise with a personalised team of experts ready to support each individual. Both coaching and Care help leaders build the foundational mindsets that are critical for success. Our model conservatively predicts a 3.5x to 5x ROI on an investment in BetterUp. Invest in your talent and give your people the opportunity to flourish and thrive. 

Discover how BetterUp coaching helps leaders in your industry today


Published June 13, 2022

Karen Saukas

Karen is a writer, editor, and storyteller with a decade of international communications experience focused on the intersection of human behavior and work. With a degree in psychology and communication studies, she enjoys researching topics she is passionate about — well-being, mental health, and the ever-changing world of work — to create human-centered content that helps people thrive. Karen was born and raised in Michigan but now lives in Munich, Germany, with her Bavarian husband and their young son. She is always working on her German skills.

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