We need a new approach to employee mental wellbeing

Joel Gujral, Founder & CEO at MYNDUP

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for HR teams to successfully manage employee mental wellbeing, especially with hybrid working in full swing. Just half of UK employees describe their mental health as good, a 14% drop since the start of the pandemic.

Line managers no longer have as much face-to-face time to spot signs of stress and as a result, 95% of employees feel their companies don’t do enough for those struggling with mental health. It’s clear we’re facing a mental wellbeing crisis.

Just like working patterns evolved over the past two years, so has mental health. Nobody has had to deal with a global pandemic before. And new workplace challenges often seem to appear on a monthly basis – over a third of businesses are worried about the quality of life of their employees as a result of rising living costs.

Yet, many HR teams are stuck with cumbersome mental wellbeing processes, struggling to overcome historic attitudes and relying on occupational health. This not only costs vast sums of money, but they’re not fit for purpose – many don’t take into account different accessibility needs for instance.

To help employees cope with the wellbeing crisis, HR teams need to go above and beyond and take a new approach to employee mental wellbeing.

Never a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach

Standardised Employee Assistance Programmes or insurance do not take into account individual experiences or mental health issues – there will never be a one-size-fits-all approach to mental wellbeing. Mental health affects people in many different ways.

Instead, HR teams should invest in fully rounded support that offers proactive solutions and connects employees to a range of quality initiatives. This means no confusing application downloads, and no need for direct contact with HR or management teams when looking for support.

Offering integrated services all in one place – such as therapy, counselling, or mindfulness and life coaching – means employees can choose the best type of treatment for their needs, on their terms and privately. Not only does this increase confidence in helping employees reach out for help in the first place, it keeps employees engaged with the whole course of their treatment, and enables flexibility to dip in and out for support when required.

It also gives HR teams the headspace they need to ensure they’re providing the best possible options to their workforce. Integrated systems free up time for HR teams to work with employees to tackle how mental health may be affecting them, rather than spending hours organising activities that might not be relevant to the individual.

And it’s not just employee happiness at risk if businesses choose to implement outdated mental health initiatives. New research from Deloitte reveals the cost of bad mental health has increased to £56bn in 2020-21, compared to £45bn in 2019, a clear indicator for HR teams to update processes.

Happy workers make thriving businesses

It’s clear employee happiness has a positive impact on business performance, but the major benefit of supporting employees’ mental health is improving the quality of their day-to-day lives. It’s therefore in the best interest of employers to re-think and take a new approach to employee mental wellbeing.

Author: Editorial Team

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