The figures around mental health still astonish me. It’s estimated that 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem at some point in our lives. If we’re not struggling ourselves, it’s likely that a colleague or a friend will be. One of the key questions we ask organisations is the extent to which your well-being activity supports good mental as well as physical health.
Do we really still need a business case for this? For me the figures speak for themselves: £billion…
At CIPD we’ve been ramping up how we promote good mental health. We already provided support to people who were struggling, but now we’ve made our offering a lot more proactive.
We’ve made good use of the #TimetoTalk resources. Back in January we did a desk drop to all of our 300+ staff. We encouraged people to take five minutes to have a conversation about mental health, in particular the myths and facts around it. We started conversations on our intranet discussion board and people were actively engaging throughout the day. People discussed what really mattered to them, from how to access the support we offer as an organisation, to what else we could offer which would really help people better manage their work and personal lives.
Most importantly we made sure our internal and external communications were aligned – as the professional body for people management and development we know we need to practice what we preach! Our flexible working practices and free, healthy lunch have always been valued, but we knew there was more we could do – especially those things that are quick and low cost but could make a big difference to someone’s day.
People from all over the business have taken the lead where they’ve seen an opportunity. Our facilities team turned two unused areas into phone booths for private conversations. This could be anything from calling the employee assistance helpline, to calling your doctor, to arranging an appointment at your bank. Having this facility means people can address personal issues on their mind, and it’s good for our organisation as it means they can focus more on their work when at their desk. The usage is based on trust.
We realised that if we’re encouraging people to disclose an issue, we have to make sure we have the right support mechanisms in place. Like most organisations, we have a team of people trained up as first aiders, but they are trained on physical first aid. We’ve invested in mental health first aider training for this cohort as well as for anyone else who’s flagged an interest. This isn’t about them becoming counsellors – it’s about making them equipped to be able to spot signs of issues and feeling able to have a conversation with people, signposting them to the appropriate support.
The scope of our well-being days has been extended to promote good mental and well as physical health. We’ve introduced Reiki, a social club and exercise classes – our canteen turns into a Zumba studio.
In terms of what’s next, we ask people what they want and get great staff feedback through our surveys. We know that everyone’s needs are different so we’ll be changing and evolving our approach as the needs of our people and our organisation changes.
CIPD is in the Best Companies to Work for 2015 and has maintained IIP Gold
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I found that there are 16 hr practices discovered by CIPD....This is from the TALENT Management and HRM LITERATURE......is it POSSIBLE for me to know all those 16 HR practices.....and which practices is more dominant from the LITERATURE....
12 May, 2015 13:49
It is encouraging to read this article. Employers have a large part to play with respect to their employees mental health. One suggestion is to think about what targets and KPI's have been set, what the consequences could be and to ensure everyone takes appropriate rest breaks. In a work ethos that is rushed , taking time out could benefit all. Having flowers on desks also promotes a sense of wellbeing.
13 May, 2015 10:28
It is absolutely vital that mental health is brought into the public domain and we keep talking about it. Until mental health is discussed as readily as physical health then nothing will change. There is still so much stigma around conditions such as depression and stress and a reluctance to talk about the various mental health conditions because people are frightened about the repercussions to their career. I work for a small charity which is committed to tackling work and health related problems that affect people who want to get back to work and we receive many referrals from GP’s for people who are dealing with mental health issues. These are often exacerbated by a lack of compassion and understanding by employers who do not know how to cope with this situation. The existing pressures in the workplace are then magnified because one of the team is absent and this can cause resentment from colleagues and management who have to deal with the added work pressure, which of course can have a negative impact on the individual when they return to work and thus a vicious circle ensues.
We need to keep talking, we need to reduce the stigma, we need to think about the work environment and most of all we need to create an culture where people feel safe to talk about this subject.
As health and wellbeing is so important, have CIPD considered including this in their curricula? We can then ensure those starting out on their HR journey understand how important it is to have a workforce who are supported and will be treated with dignity and respect if they disclose they have a mental health issue. This could reduce absenteeism and prevent presenteeism. Surely this could only be a good thing?
27 May, 2015 08:39
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