Employers want to deal with it... employees don’t want to talk about it. Is Mental Health the elephant in the room?


Contrasting reports out recently expose the considerable gap between employees’ willingness to be open about mental health issues in the workplace, and the concerns of employers about the impact of current and future mental health issues on their business.

Research from CV Library reveals that almost two thirds of employees feel embarrassed about informing their employer about mental health issues. A separate report by Badenoch & Clark, part of The Adecco Group UK and Ireland, reveals that more than two thirds of workers would not be comfortable telling colleagues about a sick day taken for mental health reasons.

Meanwhile, a recently published government report, Thriving at Work: the Stevenson/Farmer review of mental health and employers, estimates that poor mental health costs employers between £33 billion and £42 billion a year, with an annual cost to the UK economy of between £74 billion and £99 billion.

In contrast, Aon’s 2017 Health Survey shows that 95% of employers are aware of and concerned about current and future issues caused by employee mental health.

Plus, even more – 96% - agree or strongly agree that they are responsible for improving employee health behaviour and 77% have plans in place to improve existing health and wellbeing programmes in the year ahead.

CV Library’s research reveals employees are unwilling to be open about mental health issues in the workplace because they feel their employer would not be supportive, would judge them or that they would look weak. More than a third were fearful of losing their job.

With just over 70% of workers admitting that their mental health issues have an effect on their working life, there’s agreement that employers need to do more to address these issues.

Aon’s Health Survey also revealed that just 4% of employers don’t see a direct correlation between employee health and performance, and concludes that employers are paying more attention than ever to employee health, given its relationship to company performance.

Many employers have wellbeing programmes in place that take into account the core pillars of health: emotional, physical, social and financial. Aon’s findings also reveal that 43% of employers already have plans in place to support mental health issues further. 

Aon believes the shift is down to social and economic issues that include rising healthcare costs, the health and welfare burden shifting away from the state, increased awareness of the effect of poor health on performance and increasingly diverse and multi-generational workforces.

Mental health is seen as the top current concern for 43% of employers.

CV Library’s report states that employees would like employers to introduce measures to help mental health in the workplace that include promoting a healthy work/life balance, creating a non-stigmatised environment for mental health, providing referrals for counselling and talking more openly about mental health.   

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library comments on the findings: “Mental health in the workplace continues to be a hot topic, and this is because it is clearly not being dealt with effectively. Businesses should prioritise creating a culture where openness and honesty are encouraged.

“While losing out on staff temporarily may ring alarm bells for employers, it can actually help in the long run. Mental health should be dealt with in the same way as any other illness and it’s important to offer your employees time off should they need it. There are plenty of avenues to go down, and it’s imperative that you get it right. Otherwise, you could risk losing your employees altogether.”

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

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Employers want to deal with it... employees don’t want to talk about it. Is Mental Health the elephant in the room?
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