Mental Health Of Employees: Is HR Doing Enough?

Mental Health Of Employees

As an organisation, you have a duty of care to your employees, and this is undertaken in many ways. The most obvious duty of care that an employer has with respect to their employees fall under health and safety regulations. If an employee is injured at work or becomes physically unwell, there are likely procedures in place to aid and minimise the negative impact of these circumstances.

However, is your company, and your HR Department, doing enough to help with the metal health and wellbeing of employees?

There is a growing awareness of the importance of mental health and of the need for people to look after themselves and indeed, look out for each other. There is no denying that social media has provided a platform to bring people together and allow individuals to group together for support but equally, many feel that the immediate nature of the modern digital world is placing more people under added pressure to live up to expectations and keep pace with life.

There are many demands on people in the modern workplace

There are similar pressures in the workplace. Every organisation is looking to achieve more with less or to be more efficient in their output. If a company is utilising digital and technological advances to be more efficient in the workplace, employees may have concerns about their position being under threat. If a company requires employees to work longer hours or be more productive to remain competitive in the marketplace, employees will have concerns about their health, well-being and work-life balance.

Internal and external pressures place people under more significant pressure and it is only natural that some people will experience a deterioration their mental health. This is unwelcome news for a company. Naturally, most companies will consider their employees feeling under pressure in a manner that impacts on their health as being unacceptable but there is also the situation that employees who are absent from work or unable to operate at their normal standard will negatively impact on a firm’s output.

Growing calls for mental health provisions in the workplace

Whatever your focus is with respect to your employees, there is a need to care for the mental health of your employees. However, as of yet, there is no need to offer a mental health first aid provision with respect to the Health and Safety Regulations 1981. There is a growing movement to amend this and notable MPs alongside industry leaders have publicly backed the need for a change in law to improve understanding and support for first aid.

While many people will be uncomfortable with a mental health discussion being brought down to a matter of finances, there is no denying that companies must be aware of the costs associated with staff members who are not fit for work. According to figures provided by the Centre for Mental Health, UK employers miss out on around £35 billion every year due to mental health issues. This figure is comprised of:

  • £21.2 billion related to reduced productivity
  • £10.6 billion related to sickness absence
  • £3.1 billion in staff turnover

There has also been a study which suggests that around 300,000 individuals, suffering with long-term mental health issues, drop out of the working environment each year. This is bad for organisations and the economy while obviously being very damaging for the individuals and their loved ones.

There isn’t a need to focus on the costs of neglecting mental health to be aware that it is bad for your business, progressive companies know that creating a happy and healthy working environment is better for their business. With an improved level of morale in the workplace, it is likely that a firm will:

  • Lower their sickness absence rate
  • Improve their retention rates
  • Improve the level of employee engagement
  • Be recognised as being a reputable employer to work for
  • Create an environment where a firm can achieve success

If you are wondering how becoming more aware of mental health issues in the workplace will impact on your business, consider the requirements of first-aid. It is understood that smaller firms have different requirements in comparison with larger firms, and that there is not a “one size fits all” policy when it comes to caring for employees.

Smaller employers don’t have to have physical first-aiders on site at all times, but all firms are required to offer first-aid provision as and when required. It is likely that smaller firms will be required to offer a comparable level of mental health support, but for many employees, the fact that the company is engaging with this topic will be seen as a very positive step.

Every case is unique but there will be instances where knowing that support is available and that your organisation takes this matter seriously will be enough to assist an employee.

At Davenport HR, we appreciate employers are keen to provide their staff members with the highest standard of care and support. The mental well-being of employees is as important as physical well-being and it is essential that companies place a greater level of focus on this area. If you are looking for guidance in this area or you want to make sure you are fully informed of the latest regulations, stay in touch with Davenport HR and we will be happy to help.