With mental health awareness firmly established on the national agenda and mental health problems in the UK workforce costing employers almost £35 billion last year*, companies need to ensure that they have got their heads around mental health in the workplace.
A recent Twitter poll conducted by Connor established that over 56% of people don’t feel like their company supports its staff from a mental health perspective. Mental ill health does not equate to poor performance, yet statistics demonstrate that employers are losing a lot of talented workers due to a failure to effectively manage mental ill health.
Elaine, Head of People Development at Connor, the people and change experts, recommends the need for companies to take more proactive steps to invest in addressing and improving mental health for their staff as well as the benefits of doing so. “Employers need to encourage a culture of support. Line managers need to be connected to their staff so that they feel safe and supported. This will enable people to talk openly, share their stories and get the proper help and support they need.”
Tom Head of Organisational Design, Change and HR Services at Connor states:”Considering all the legislative and political changes happening, the role HR professionals have to play has never been more important. Connor is keen to ensure that its clients are adequately prepared to support mental health needs in the workplace, so that both their Companies and its staff will thrive.”
These are the practical steps Connor would recommend for employers to think about;
- Do they have an employee assistance programme?
- Have they ensured they have a culture of support and openness so that those needing help can feel reassured without feeling stigma?
- Should they offer training on external health issues to key line managers and have an in-house mental health first aider?
- Do they have places to signpost employees who may be struggling with mental health? These would include a list of relevant charities such as Mind and Samaritans, etc.
- Have they analysed their absence data and identified how much of an issue Mental Health is their business? If so, have they done a Root Cause Analysis?
- Have they access to a Mental Health Toolkit such as provided by Public Health England or Business in the Community?
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*According to research published today by Centre for Mental Health.