According to the ONS, mental health is estimated to be behind 12.7% of all sickness and absence in the UK.
At any one time, one in six people in the UK will suffer from a mental health problem, and it’s estimated to cost British businesses £8.4 billion every year.
According to the mental health charity Mind, there are three broad areas employers can address that will help them develop and maintain a mentally healthy workforce.
- Ensuring a positive employee experience
- Promoting a healthy and supportive workplace culture
- Actively managing a supporting staff mental health
This isn’t just about mental health. It’s simple good practice to strive for an environment where employees feel valued, see their work as meaningful, feel supported and connected to their colleagues.
And it’s not only an ethical responsibility, but sharp business sense to ensure that managers are given mental health training, advised on how to identify red flags and respond in a supportive, proactive way when they occur.
Recognition of the need to be more open about mental health has been a persistent theme in the media in recent years, but the stigma around asking for help persists.
Depending on sector, studies show that anything from a quarter to 80% of employees would be uncomfortable speaking to their employers about a mental health problem.
Your HR data should be working for you to provide useful indicators that flag where support might be required. Obvious examples might be where an employee’s absenteeism takes a sharp upturn.
An employee changes their home address details and soon after, their performance drops off dramatically. Or they’re clocking in record shows a steady increase in lateness over the past six months.
Technology isn’t going to solve this issue, but where employees are still unlikely to ask for help, it can help you be a more supportive employer. Your HR software should be able to automate notifications that indicate to HR the potential need for a closer look.