Why Supporting Mental Health at Work is Good for Business
It often seems as though our mental health and wellbeing is less widely discussed than our physical health. You can find any number of articles online and in print, encouraging you to get up off the sofa and get fit. Far fewer on looking after your mental health.
However, recent research by the Robert Walters Group suggests that an overwhelming majority (92%) of employers believe awareness and attitudes towards mental health and wellbeing have improved in recent years.
The research also revealed that the vast majority of both employers (99%) and professionals (97%) agree that businesses have a responsibility to support the mental health of their staff.
Yet this near-total agreement on how important an awareness of the issues is, seems to contrast starkly with the fact that only half of businesses currently have a policy in place to support their staff.
84% of employers in the UK believe that staff who feel their mental wellbeing is supported at work are less likely to leave and seek another employer
“There are clear, extensive and well documented benefits of supporting the mental health and wellbeing of employees,” says Kirsty Adams, Global HR Director at Resource Solutions. “These are recognised by both professionals and employers, and while policies that support mental health and wellbeing will require an organisation to invest, those investments can yield significant positive benefits for everyone involved.”
Wellbeing, well business
While nearly everyone seems to agree that providing mental health and wellbeing support is a good thing for staff, there are also benefits to be had for the business itself. These will vary from one business to another, but the two common benefits that all businesses can expect are:
Employers and professionals alike (93% and 85% respectively) recognise the value that supporting the mental health of staff can offer, particularly in terms of improving the effectiveness of staff in their role. A happier employee makes for a more productive employee, one who looks forward to coming to work and finding the next challenge.
Effective mental health strategies can also play an important role in improving staff retention. The research found that 84% of employers believe that staff who feel their mental wellbeing is supported at work are less likely to leave and seek another employer; 83% of professionals agreed with them. If you’re happy in your work, if you feel supported through tough times and good alike, you’ll feel more invested in the place where you work, with a deeper sense of belonging.
Let your people know
Among the 51% of employers who do have a mental health policy, our research showed the importance of communicating the fact more effectively to staff. Our research found that just 38% of professionals could say whether or not their employer has a mental health policy in place, while 29% were unsure either way.
It’s clear that having a mental health and wellbeing policy in place seems to have benefits, both in terms of perception among professionals and in terms of staff performance and retention. It therefore stands to reason that if your business has a mental health policy you need to let your people know about it.
“There’s a growing awareness among employers of the importance of wellbeing and mental health for working professionals,” says Kirsty. “What will be essential in creating truly effective mental health strategies, however, will be identifying those strategies that are considered most effective by their employees.”