How to Create Change for the Better in Your Workplace
In previous times, the approaches implemented from small businesses to multi-national enterprises towards the wellbeing and health of its employees in the workplace has been respondent protection benefits. These included the allocation of health insurance or classical occupational health approaches like Employee Assistance Plans (EAPs). These initiatives were also primarily limited to the dynamic of physical health, entirely avoiding the elephant in the room that many seem to not want to acknowledge: people’s mental health.
No argument can be made against the fact that these kinds of benefits still have huge value in supporting employees. However, prevention before occurrence should be the main priority: its suits both parties: the employer and the employee. The argument for a corporate culture that promotes employee wellbeing as one of its core duties is now one of the main talking-points of business affairs in contemporary business.
Whilst these kinds of benefits continue to play a huge role in aiding employees, what they do not address is the essential need to create business practices which root out the causes of poor mental health from happening in the workplace in the first place.
Here at The Buxton Partnership, we found a recent report extremely encouraging. Carried out by AON Employee Benefits. Their Benefits and Trends Survey (2018) found that employers are now beginning to invest more proactively in preventative initiatives aimed at attacking mental health and stress, both of which have increased from 36% to 42% within the previous year.
The Need for a Shift in Approach
This shift in approach is timely and perhaps unsurprising, in part in reaction to the issue that there has been a sharp increase in the number of employers reporting employee stress and mental health-related illnesses – from 55% last year to 68% in 2018 (AON). This directly correlates with recent research from employee experience business Qualtrics, which discovered that 85% of UK workers say that work is causing them stress – which isn’t difficult to understand when considering the additional stresses most of the labour market experience in their own personal lives.
“…employers are now beginning to invest more proactively in preventative initiatives aimed at attacking mental health and stress, both of which have increased from 36% to 42% within the previous year.”
Additionally, there is also a growing awareness surrounding employee responsibility and their ability to assess and manage ill-mental health. Furthermore, a Thriving at Work Report released by the Government (2017), showed a clear recommendation that Health & Safety Executives revise its guidelines to begin to improve employer awareness on their duty of care to appraise and assess work-related mental ill-health, in the same way, they do physical health. Suggestions made included: examining the risks of mental health such as undue work pressure, poor line-management, poor treatment from management and unreasonable demands.
How to Adopt a Modern & Proactive Approach
Mental Health First Aid training for staff was cited in the AON Benefits and Trends Survey as a way to adopt a proactive approach – Could this be an option for you? (Even though it’s a cost, it’s a cost that can leave you with a more proactive and happier workforce!).
Equipping people with the ability to acknowledge the signs and symptoms of mental health issues can be particularly difficult, though, especially in the workplace, let alone at home. However, when it is noticeable understanding how to guide a person to seek professional help is something that can be relatively easily arranged, so long as the subject is willing to do so.
Our approach is to promote a culture that improves positive mental wellbeing. In order to do so, we do our upmost to create an environment which is inclusive, where management is always approachable, and a team-based workplace environment is recognised.