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Posted by Niche Recruitment
19th February 2020
How Are Employers Supporting Wellbeing and Mental Health At Work?
I recently attended the Swindon Mindful Employer Network on Monday 10th February. The event was centred around mental health, wellbeing and mindfulness in the workplace. The turnout was incredible; 100 HR professionals from companies across Swindon came together to learn about how we, as employers, can improve mental health at work.
Whilst, in recent years, there has been progress towards mental health awareness there is a long way to go when it comes to breaking down social stigma and starting conversations around this issue .
As part of the event, we were fortunate enough to benefit from the expertise of some incredible speakers including; Paul Farmer (CEO of Mind), Rosie Runciman (Team Doctor) and Debbie Jennings (Royds Withy King Lawyers). Although each speaker contributed to the discussion from their individual field of expertise, one statement was unanimous: mental health is a crucial priority and something that employers need to be supporting.
As an employer myself, I found the statistics on mental health in the workplace alarming;
- 57% of long-term sickness is caused by stress
- Employees are 11% more productive if they are happy
- The number one cause of mental disease is insomnia
- 1 in 4 organisations don’t monitor health and wellbeing in the workforce
- 300,000 people leave work each year because of mental health
- Around 15% of people at work have symptoms of an existing mental health condition
- There is a large annual cost to employers of between £33 billion and £42 billion
- The cost of poor mental health to the economy as a whole is more than both of those together. The cost of lost output is estimated at between £74 billion and £99 billion per year
*Thriving at work report – Mind publication with Government
What does this mean…
Of all these statistics one stands out to me more than the rest: 300,000 people leave work each year because of mental health.
As a Director at Niche Recruitment, I have spent my career dedicated to matching our candidates to their perfect roles and employers. I am incredibly passionate about helping individuals to find their place within the right organisations for them. To think that 300,000 people every year are leaving their places of work due to mental health is shocking and simply not good enough.
Thankfully, during the event I was able to discuss the recruitment industry; I began to identify key problem areas and suggested potential solutions.
One of the main issues bought to light, is that within the recruitment process there is still a significant stigma towards mental health. Candidates believe that if they have a mental disability/illness they are less likely to be hired for the role. Their fear of rejection means they’re afraid to disclose any mental health problems. Even though it’s illegal to discriminate based on disabilities, candidates still don’t feel comfortable disclosing this information.
Based on this I believe employers need to promote their positive attitudes towards wellbeing and mental health within their organisation. To become an employer of choice, we must have an openness to wellbeing and policies that reflect this. Candidates want to work for employers that listen to them and who genuinely care about their welfare.
When I present roles to candidates, we discuss job details and salary expectations as standard. However, often we find candidates are more interested in discussing the organisation’s values and company culture. Being able to discuss an organisations wellbeing credentials and approach to mental health, helps us promote the jobs we are recruiting for. Most importantly it helps us ensure that we place the right candidate in the right role with the right employer.
Food For Thought
In addition to looking at industry change, the event also encouraged me to look at myself as an employer. These key questions provide some food for thought…
- What are you doing as an employer to make a difference in mental health wellbeing for your staff?
- What are your wellbeing credentials and what is your commitment to mental health at work?
- Do you encourage openness, and do you listen?
- What is the effect of the workplace on employee’s mental health (negative or positive)?
- As a company , what positive impact can you have?
- What do you do as an employer to demonstrate your support for mental health?
It is our responsibility as employers to initiate change. To open conversations around wellbeing and to positively impact attitudes towards mental health at work. It is crucial, it is a priority and it is something we and Niche will be actively supporting.
Nick Wimshurst, Director at Niche Recruitment
If you would like to read the full report, please click the link below.