Tag: Mental Health

How can businesses improve inclusivity?

A recent audit of the FTSE100 found that neurodiversity and disability are the areas of diversity most likely to be ignored when it comes to recruitment and employee support. The audit, conducted by Agility in Mind, looked at initiatives announced by FTSE100 companies over the last five years concerning age, disability, gender, mental health, neurodiversity, LGBTQ+, and race.

The audit found that despite 99% of FTSE100 companies having an inclusive mission statement, only 37% have a substantial disability initiative, and only 4% offer a neurodiversity initiative.

In partnership with research house, Censuswide, Agility in Mind then surveyed 250 UK business leaders to explore the disparity between support for diverse groups. The survey found that only 16% of business leaders describe their neurodiversity initiatives as ‘highly effective’, compared to 26% in both race and gender.

Although 15% –  20% of the global population is thought to be neurodivergent, with conditions such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, or Tourette syndrome, only 21.7% of autistic people are currently working – making them the least likely to be employed of any disabled group.

Agility in Mind’s ‘Inclusive Growth’ playbook offers a six-step framework for managers struggling to implement this type of organisational change:

  • Remember, your organisation is unique, so simply copying other organisations may not achieve the results you want to see
  • Start with inclusivity in mind by bringing diverse views into the team managing change
  • Set out the characteristics of the organisation you want and share a clear vision for the future
  • Take small steps that are aligned with your vision to achieve real change
  • Iterate, ensuring you learn at each step, and share the lessons across the organisation
  • Make change visible to all, so everyone knows the progress you’re making.

Michelle Meakin, Business Services Director at Agility in Mind, commented:  “We’ve seen progress over the last few years with organisations of all sizes embracing change management processes to become more diverse. Core to this shift is in making sure that companies can build a culture of inclusion, making work accessible to everyone, which is able to scale as they grow.”

“However, where change is harder to track- such as with invisible disabilities or neurodiversity – businesses are still lagging. As the war for talent continues, organisations that are able to tackle this widespread issue are likely to see the most diverse – and productive – teams and reap the clear benefits of building an inclusive business. This is where the agile approach to change management comes to the fore; incremental change, a strong vision of inclusion and how to get there, and an openness to adapting the route are key ingredients to meaningful and lasting progress.”

Toby Mildon, Diversity and Inclusion Architect, said: “The disparity between commitment to nuances of diversity has been an ongoing issue. That only 4% of the FTSE100 offer initiatives to support neurodiverse employees, in comparison to the 47% that offer an LGBTQ+ empowerment initiative or are accredited by a national association for LGBTQ+ rights, is telling of how much work there is still to be done.”

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Companies need to build wellness culture into business

There is no doubt that the thought of returning to work-life after COVID-19 is filling many employees with dread. More than two years of pandemic related uncertainty and stress have taken their toll on employees’ mental health.

Lockdowns sent us into survival mode, and it is only now, as life starts to get back to normal, that we begin to process the reality of what we’ve been through. There may still be safety concerns. Cognitively, employees may feel safe, but they may not feel emotionally safe. In addition, new habits have had two years to develop, and they may be a challenge to break.

But there are practical reasons too. A recent survey of 1,000 workers conducted by messaging app Slack suggests that almost two in five workers are stressed or anxious about going back to the office after more than two years at home. Concerns about work-life balance, the cost of travel and food were among the reasons for their stress.

The study revealed that 75% of workers had experienced burnout, and one-third had put in extra hours.

The study also found that only two in five respondents think their employers value their mental health, indicating how essential it is for businesses to provide more help.

Employers need to recognise and empathise with the different reasons that workers may be reluctant or anxious to return to the office.

Seventy percent of respondents agreed that a four-day workweek would help their mental health and wellbeing. Almost 50% believe that a hybrid work situation is the best approach for mental health, yet only 25% can choose whether or not they will work in the office.

Chris Mills, of Slack, said: “An employee who is cared for and supported will be inspired to do their best work.”

“It’s positive to see UK workers highlighting that hybrid work and technology has an important part to play in their wellbeing.”

“To ensure technology continues to be an enabler of healthier workplaces, leaders can also set a good example. Building best practices, for instance on how to use features like ‘do not disturb’ and scheduled messages to avoid out of office messaging, can be a great place to start.”

Charlène Gisèle, High Performance Coach and Burnout Advisor: “It is more important than ever for employers to integrate and incorporate a wellness culture embedded within the company. Offering wellness solutions goes beyond a gym membership – instead fostering a wellness culture is what a company ought to aim for.

Instead of focusing on concerns employees can focus on the positive aspects of being back in the office: camaraderie, being able to see colleagues again, and having social work life back on the horizon are all great for mental health as opposed to social/work isolation which many employees have faced during lockdown.”

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Mental health decreased by 14% since start of pandemic

In a survey of over 1,000 employees to analyse how SME leaders in the UK adapted to the mental health needs of employees during the pandemic, GetApp found that 71% of employees received no mental health resources from their companies. This, even though good mental health decreased by 14% since the beginning of the pandemic.

The survey found that 18% of respondents told their leaders about their mental health issues. However, 16% of managers did nothing in response. The study further revealed that 11% of employees struggled with mental health issues, but their managers did not address their challenges.

Twenty-three percent of respondents were uncomfortable discussing their mental health conditions with their managers. A further 36% wouldn’t talk to anyone at work and would rather seek help externally.

Where managers did support their employees with their mental well-being, the findings were:

  • 55% took time to listen to their employees’ mental health concerns
  • 30% motivated their staff to take time off work
  • 27% scheduled regular check-ins
  • 42% of employees found the support very helpful compared to the 18% who found it unhelpful. The balance found the support somewhat helpful
  • 66% of employees who did receive mental health support received support via email, while 39% received in-person support, 24% received support through printed material, and 18% through virtual workshops

The study also found that 23% of employees now feel less connected to the company culture than before the pandemic. This is likely attributed to the fact that 27% of employees shared that their companies did not host social events, while 20% host them once a year. Nineteen percent host them once a quarter.

According to the respondents, the most valuable mental health resources were:

  • flexible work schedules (44%)
  • mental health days (36%)
  • access to a specialist to assist and provide employee support (24%)

Yoga and nutritional wellness programs were found to be the least useful resources.

David Jani, Content Analyst at GetApp UK, commented: “It was a surprise to see as many as 71% of our participants had not received access to workplace mental health resources at all during the pandemic.

This was also combined with a reluctance by around 23% to speak to a manager or decision-maker about declining mental health and 16% not receiving any response from their superiors when the issue was raised.

Having support from your company can be vital when experiencing mental health difficulties. This was observed from the 29% of workers that received assistance from their companies, with 42% of this group saying the resources they received were “very helpful” and another 38% regarding the assistance as “somewhat helpful” to their well-being.”

While UK employees appear to be reluctant to discuss their mental health in the workplace, effective support by employers is critical to the workforce’s mental health.

 

 

 

 

 

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95% of UK employees say their company doesn’t offer wellbeing support

The Employee Mental Health and Remote Working report conducted by virtual events and in-person team building company Wildgoose has revealed that one in six UK employees feel worried that raising mental health concerns with their company could put them at risk of losing their job. The report on mental health and remote working surveyed employees from 129 different companies on whether their mental health at work had improved or become worse during the last year. It also asked if those surveyed felt comfortable raising any mental health concerns with their employers and what they believed would happen if they did.

Results showed that 86% believed that their workplace is not a safe space for employees to be open about mental health.

According to the report, over the last 12 months, two in three employees have experienced worse mental health at work, compared to the previous year. As remote and hybrid working environments continue to be adopted by more UK businesses, evidence suggested that companies have struggled to adapt their mental health support processes, with the report revealing that one in three employees feel less able to raise mental health concerns during remote meetings, which has caused issues to go unnoticed.

The results also showed that just over one in eight companies in the UK don’t have a process in place for remote workers to report mental health concerns with the highest prevalence in SMEs, where this figure nearly doubled to one in five not having a process in place.

What employees want from their employers

Worsening employee mental health continues to be a growing concern and the researched showed that the change most desired by employees is for companies to offer more regular in-person meetings (36%) and for managers to receive better training on identifying signs of poor mental health (36%).

Just under a third of respondents (32%) stated they would like to see a process policy of reporting mental health concerns, which is not currently broadly offered, followed by assurances of job security after reporting.

Wildgoose Managing Director Jonny Edser commented: “As remote and hybrid working practices become more widespread, companies need to start doing more to ensure that employees are still receiving the same levels of mental health support. It’s essential that employers communicate with their staff, finding out how they would like to be supported. Perhaps they’d appreciate more regular workload reviews, weekly face-to-face meetings, or even the creation of better mental health policies. The most important aspect is that employees feel comfortable and safe to discuss any concerns.

Kristen Keen, founder and owner of Cluer HR, also commented on the report: “Unfortunately, there is still a stigma that surrounds mental health issues and a lack of education on the subject. To help improve employee wellbeing at work, both managers and the entire workforce should receive training, so that everyone can recognise and understand mental health issues. Plus, having 1:1 meetings with employees is a great way to encourage people to safely discuss any problems they are having.”

Full report available here: https://www.wearewildgoose.com/uk/news/employee-mental-health-and-remote-working-report/

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Businesses admit resignations due to mental health concerns

Research from FutureLearn has highlighted the importance of mental health first aiders in the workplace. A new survey of 1,000 key decision makers in business has revealed that over one in five (21%) business leaders state they are willing to re-evaluate their mental health policies, offering reassurance that steps are being taken to support their staff’s wellbeing in the wake of the pandemic and to curb the apparent “great resignation”.

Currently, there are no legal requirements for allocated psychological first aiders compared to the requirement for physical first aiders or fire marshals – despite being a business essential. However, with the employee experience now in sharp focus, businesses are proactively improving mental health support in the workplace to combat trauma felt post the pandemic. According to the report there has been an increase of 10% of businesses with support in place. This comes after 68% businesses admitted to not having mental health support for their staff pre-pandemic, with this number decreasing to 58% post-pandemic. With 12% of employees revealing they have left their job citing mental health as one of the main reasons for leaving, it is clear just how important mental health policies are when it comes to the retention of staff.

The report revealed that of the businesses who have made changes to their policies since the pandemic, 42% have already implemented online counselling for employees and 34% have already invested in mental health first aiders.

Yvonne Chien, Chief Growth Officer at FutureLearn commented: “We commissioned this survey to reinforce the importance of mental wellbeing in the workplace. We’ve seen how the past 18 months have impacted mental health. This national shift has only strengthened our belief in the significance of businesses having access to the right support.”

Conrad Vivers, Mental Health Champion at FutureLearn said: “I’m proud to be a part of a team to help change the conversation we are having about mental health in the workplace. Being a mental health first aider has given me the skills and insight to not only give 1 to 1 support for those in need, but also to confidently bring mental health as a talking point to meetings where people are at the core of the discussion. Through supporting people in the workplace with mental health challenges we’re impacting the evolution and elevation of society. The ripple effects of these actions lead to a safer environment for employees and help FutureLearn fulfil its duty of care towards employees. In some form or another most people need support. Even if it’s just to say: “me too, it’s been tough.””

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People living with dementia is set to triple by 2050

According to a new survey conducted by HIVE360, more UK workers are having to combine full and part time work with caring for an unwell or disabled loved ones. The ‘sandwich generation’ now looking after young children and elderly relatives, needs more support from their bosses post-pandemic.

According to David McCormack, CEO at HIVE360, the company has recorded a steady climb in the number of employees accessing specialist carer support. This data has been gathered from its employee experience platform called Engage.

David commented: “This hidden workforce is under enormous pressure and feeling the strain and are seeking out telephone advice and online guidance on how to cope and manage the impact on their physical and mental health and wellbeing, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.”

In a complementary report published recently by Aon, it is predicted that by 2040 one in six UK workers will balance their job with caring responsibilities. This figure means that unpaid carers will provide around £132 million worth of care per annum with 2.6 million people having given up work to provide care at home. The report also found that almost half of workers with caring responsibilities describe their situation as stressful, with 20% falling ill themselves.

David made further comment: “This represents a 12% increase since 2013. The UK’s population is ageing; around one-fifth of the UK population (19%) or around 12.3 million people was aged 65 or over in 2019, or around 12.3 million people. And it is projected there will be an additional 7.5 million people aged 65 years and over in the UK in 50 years’ time.

“Furthermore, the population of people living with dementia is set to triple by 2050, according to recent data published by Alzheimer’s Society.

“The sandwich generation is likely to grow in step with this changing profile of the UK population, and in turn, the numbers of workers juggling caring for a loved one. The new right for employees to take up to one week of unpaid carer’s leave per year announced by the government this month, is a positive step in the right direction towards giving the hidden workforce of carers the support, understanding and flexibility they need.”

 

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Employers are prioritising plans to improve productivity

Since the start of the pandemic, rising financial stress due to an uncertain economy has created a downward spiral on employee wellbeing that has impacted employee performance. A study by borofree revealed that an average of 3.05 working days were taken off by workers in Great Britain last year due to the financial stress felt by employees.

The study examined the plans that companies across the UK now aim to implement in order to improve employee productivity, financial wellbeing and increase morale in the workplace as business recovery begins to take shape.

The research, which was conducted online by YouGov, highlights that HR decision makers are feeling optimistic about building stronger employee productivity as the economy settles into a ‘new normal’ with over half (57%) believing that employee productivity is set to  increase over the next 12 months.

Action taken from businesses to increase employee wellbeing over the next year will be critical for them to regain strong post-pandemic productivity growth and recover from a challenging 18 months. In fact, 83% of HR decision makers surveyed revealed that their business will be prioritising plans to improve employee productivity over the next year. Improving pay and working conditions for employees is high on the agenda for companies looking to regain lost morale due to the pandemic, with almost a third (31%) stating that this will be a business priority for them this year.

Across Britain the study highlights that employers are searching for new ways to increase productivity. The research shows that wellbeing is now a vital part of ensuring that teams remain productive, with over one in five (23%) companies looking to introduce new or improved health and wellness benefits for employees to improve morale and productivity over the next two years.

Despite financial worries among the UK workforce being a cause of emotional stress, the study shows that offering financial wellbeing initiatives as part of a businesses’ productivity recovery plan is still being overlooked. Whilst financial stress is a contributing factor to absenteeism in the workplace, only 12% of HR decision makers are looking to introduce personal finance coaching and training to employees to improve morale and productivity amongst teams within the next two years.

Minck Hermans, CEO and Co-founder at borofree, comments: “Whilst it’s great to see that businesses are prioritising incentives to build stronger employee productivity following a challenging 18 months, it’s critical that they do not overlook initiatives to promote better financial wellbeing amongst teams.

Our findings show that financial stress can lead to increased absenteeism in the workplace and the effect of this will hit a company’s bottom line. For employees that seek a certain degree of financial security from their employer such as being able to absorb an unforeseen financial shock, only one in ten (10%) businesses surveyed have stated that they are looking to introduce earnings on demand and paid weekly options for employers within the next two years and just over one in ten (14%) confirmed that they’ll be introducing salary advance facilities (e.g., a loan a company can give an employee from their future salary).”

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70% of employees unhappy with leadership  

The Adecco Group reported results of its global study called Resetting Normal: Defining the New Era of Work. The report was said to examine the change in attitudes to work over the last year, as well as highlighting issues that companies need to address to stay agile in the current landscape. 

The study highlighted poor mental health as an emergent issue with more than half of young leaders (54%) suffering burnout. A third of workers also stated that their mental and physical health had declined in the last 12 months. The study stated that companies must re-evaluate how they support their staff and should provide wellbeing resources to their employees within the new hybrid working model.  According to the report, 67% of non-managers say that their leaders don’t meet their expectations for checking on their mental wellbeing.  

Leadership falling short  

Satisfaction with leadership is low, with only a third of non-managers feeling they are being recognised for the work in the business, and only half of all workers said that their managers encouraged a good work culture.   

Findings from the report stated that motivation and engagement is low with less than half of employees being satisfied with their career prospects in the company they work for with nearly 2 out of 5 considering new careers and moving to jobs with more flexibility.   

The Adecco Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Alain Dehaze, said: “For those who are not bound to being physically present to perform their work, it is obvious that we will never return to the office in the same way and that the future of work is flexible.  

Our research clearly shows that “one size will not fit all” when it comes to addressing employees’ needs and we’re increasingly seeing a leadership struggling to balance remote working and care for their teams. Now is the time to start bridging this gap by developing and equipping leaders and workers alike with the skills and capabilities they need to reignite motivation and build a cohesive company culture that maintains and develops a successful, resilient and healthy workforce.” 

In summary of the report:  

  • 82% of the workforce feels as productive or more so than before the pandemic 
  • Globally, 53% of workers want a hybrid working model where more than half of their time spent working is remote 
  • Long hours increased by 14% in the last year, with more than half of young leaders reporting that they suffered burnout  
  • 73% of workers and leaders are calling to be measured by outcomes rather than hours, while only 36% of managers are assessing performance based on results  
  • Satisfaction with leadership is low with an increasing disconnect with employees made evident. Only a third of non-managers are believed to be getting the recognition they deserve  
  • Anxiety about returning to the office is highest in Australia (53%), followed by the UK (52%) and Canada (51%). 

Do you have news to share? If so, please email debbie@talintpartners.com

 Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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Staff wellbeing tops employee concerns  

A recent report called the Healthier Nation Index published by Nuffield Health stated that more employees are demanding that their employers take more responsibility for their physical and mental wellbeing.  

The research found: 

  • More than 21% of those surveyed (8,000 respondents) believed employers should implement mandatory reporting on the physical and wellbeing initiatives they have in place to improve the wellbeing of their staff 
  • 52% stated that they were aware of the measures they could take to improve their mental and physical health 
  • 37% stated that employers should take responsibility by making resources available on how to boost mental and physical wellbeing 
  • 46% said that free health checks for all staff should be provided by employers 
  • 54% said that work was having a negative impact on their mental health 
  • Half of those surveyed stated that their workload created a barrier to undertaking physical exercise. 

Darren Hockley, Managing Director at  DeltaNet International commented: “Improving both mental and physical health is rising up the corporate agenda. If employees feel overworked or stressed, then they won’t be as happy or productive. This will only lead to other issues for the company, such as sick leave or them resigning and moving to another organisation that prioritises wellbeing.   

“Mandatory reporting on physical and wellbeing initiatives is a great way for organisations to take more responsibility for their employees. Offering that support through wellbeing seminars, mental health and wellbeing training or even mental health support where staff can talk to a specialist can make a significant difference to employees.” 

Extra leave given in support of mental health  

Nike recently announced that their head office employees will be given a week’s holiday in support of their mental health.   

Suzanne Staunton, Employment Partner at JMW Solicitors, commented: “It is unlikely that (many) UK employers will provide their staff with a week’s mental health break. However, anecdotally, over the past 12 months, we saw that number of employers have given staff a day or two additional mental health days or an extra day holiday. Those employers who implemented such schemes reported an increase in morale and productivity.”  

Returning to work post “freedom day” 

Data published in the Supporting Your Remote Workforce in 2021 and Beyond report found that 40% of those who are returning to office-based working are concerned about contracting COVID-19 from colleagues.  

Data from CPD Online College reported that the top concerns for those returning to the workplace were: social distancing (60%), workplace safety (56%), and workplace cleanliness (55%) at the top of the list. 

With these employees concerns in mind, it is imperative that HR and employers think about how to properly support staff wellbeing when staff returns to the office, as well as how to help alleviate their concerns. 

Liz Forte, Health and Wellness Director at Compass Group Business and Industry, shared three top tips:  

  1. Embrace the hybrid office: the hybrid should be seen to inspire staff to work together again and reconnect. This could assist with easing staff back into office life. Because there is a clear shift towards employees wanting a hybrid way of working, offering this to staff is a great way to encourage them to split their time between home and the office, thereby getting the best of both worlds.  
  2. Be aware of anxieties: Forte explains that it is crucial to be aware of your employee’s anxieties and concerns. Employers should communicate cleaning protocols and implementing visible cleaning teams during working hours could put staff at ease.  
  3. Support staff lives: providing work perks that encourage living a healthy life outside of work and that also support health and wellbeing will help improve performance as staff return to their desks. Offering classes which give employees the opportunity to try new hobbies or skills add to a positive experience at work. Data has shown that this could also be a good tool for attracting and retaining talent. 

 

Photo Courtesy of Canva.com

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COVID-19 restrictions are lifting, and workplaces are reopening, but recent research reveals that three-quarters of UK workers fear going back into the workplace because it poses a risk to their health and safety. David McCormack, CEO of employee benefits and outsourced payroll provider HIVE360, says employers should take a simple seven-step approach that will support effective management of the workforce’s return to work.

Seventy three percent of workers admit they fear a return to the workplace. Responsible employers need to take action to support workers and ease their worries, to ensure they feel secure and comfortable whenever in the workplace, and know they have their employer’s support and commitment to maintain a safe environment.

The foundation to this is our seven-step return-to-work action framework:

  1. Communicate: Ensure workers know it’s ok to feel anxious about the return to the workplace. Encourage them to talk about their feelings so you can reassure them and take any additional action to ease any worries.
  2. Stay in touch: Make a point of checking in with staff regularly and ask how they are coping.
  3. Be flexible: For those feeling uncomfortable about being in the office, give them the option to continue working from home some days each week. For those anxious about a busy commute to work, be open to an early or late start and finish time for the working day.
  4. Be safe: People are counting on their employers to help them get back to work safely, and by putting employee health, safety and wellbeing at the heart of the return-to-work planwill help reduce any stress or anxiety:
  • Be COVID-19 aware, safe and secure. Employers have statutory duties to provide a safe place of work as well as general legal duties of care towards anyone accessing or using the workplace
  • Carry out a risk assessment of the entire workplace and implement measures to minimise these risks
  • Create a clear policy of behaviour in the workplace and share it with all employees. Policies should include the rules on wearing facemasks, social distancing, hand washing and sanitising, with the relevant equipment available to all. Include clear instructions on what people should do if they or someone they live with feels unwell or tests positive for COVID-19.
  1. Be caring: With concerns about the effects of COVID-19 on society and the economy, mental health is a growing problem, but people continue to feel uncomfortable speaking about it. This is unlikely to change, so make time to show you are an employer that recognises and understands by introducing and communicating the tools, support and measures available to them to help address any fears. Give them access to specialist healthcare resources, information and health and wellbeing support.
  2. Encourage work/life balance: Poor work/life balance reduces productivity and can lead to stress and mental health problems, so build-in positive steps to help the workforce achieve it by encouraging sensible working hours, full lunch breaks, and getting outside for fresh air and exercise at least once a day.
  3. Tailor solutions: Show that you understand that everyone’s personal situation is different and that you will do your best to accommodate it. Remind people of their worth as an employee, and the positive attributes they bring to the team.

Added benefits

Employee health and wellbeing support and benefits are a ‘must have’ rather than a ‘nice to have’. Onboarding and career progression, reward and recognition policies, training and development, employee benefits, work/life balance initiatives, financial, mental health and wellbeing support, are all essential components of an effective employee engagement strategy. Together, they improve and maintain a positive working environment.

HIVE360 is an expert in recruitment agency PAYE outsourced payroll. Our HMRC-compliant solution guarantees a speedy, transparent service, with no nasty fees for workers. It also delivers efficiency gains from payroll, digital payslips, pensions auto-enrolment and pay documentation support.

HIVE360 goes further. Our unique, customisable employee pay, benefits and engagement app Engage is provided as a standard element of our outsourced payroll solution. It gives workers access to an extensive range of health and wellbeing benefits and employee support services, including:

  • 24/7, confidential access to mental health support, counsellors and GPs
  • Thousands of high street and online discounts
  • Huge mobile phone savings
  • Online training resourcesand access to the HIVE360Skills Academy
  • A secure digital payslips portal
  • A real-time workplace pension dashboard to support employees’ financial wellbeing.
  • An incident reporting system to ensure the safety of employees in the workplace, which allows workers to – anonymously – raise serious issues or concerns with their employer directly through the app.

HIVE360 is a GLAA (Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority) license holder and is championing a new model of employment administration, redefining employment and pension administration processing. Visit: www.hive360.com

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