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Fear of judgement, job security and what could happen can be reasons why an employee doesn't feel like they can talk to their employer.

Mental Health is the Elephant in the Room

There is still a lot of stigma around mental health in the workplace, but it affects most people at one point in their lives. 41% of employees have experienced poor mental health with work as the contributing factor in the last year. (BITC and Bupa 2020)

It is tricky for employers to integrate an open and honest culture where employees can talk about their problems or admit when they are feeling overwhelmed. Fear of judgement, job security and what could happen can be reasons why an employee doesn’t feel like they can talk to their employer.

30% of staff disagreed with the statement “I would feel able to talk openly with my line manager if I was feeling stressed”. (Mind)

Bridging the Gap between Employer and Employee

Employers may be unaware of issues employees face or how they are feeling. Even when an employer is aware, they don’t always have the support or know what they can do. 56% of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don’t feel they have the right training or guidance. (Mind)

So, with this in mind, what can you do as a responsible employer? 

Focus on what you can control

Create a culture where people can be honest about their feelings without fear of fallout. Taking steps to ensure employees feel valued and included will be promoting positive mental health support in the workplace. Ensure employee expectation is clear and engage staff with the business. Let them know how they are performing and offer company updates when necessary.

Understanding we are all human

Life happens, and people are only human. Understanding this is important when it comes to managing people. On average, we spend 1/3 of our lives at work. To get the best out of your team, you need to create a supportive and inclusive environment.

Non-monetary employee benefits can be key

Employee benefits such as EAPs, (employee assistance programmes) can be good tools to offer support. Packages that include counselling, legal advice, financial advice, vouchers to save money or even money towards activities outside the workplace can be great for employee wellbeing. 

Employers Framework

There is also a mental health at work commitment employers can sign up to and follow. It is a simple framework that gives a roadmap to better mental health outcomes for employees. This framework follows six standards for employers to lead by:

  1. Promote mental health in the workplace by developing & delivering a systematic programme of activity.
  2. Proactively ensure work design & organisational culture drive positive mental health outcomes.
  3. Promote an open culture around mental health
  4. Increase organisational confidence and capability.
  5. Provide mental health tools and support.
  6. Increase transparency and accountability through internal and external reporting.

To find out more and commit to the framework follow this link https://www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/commitment/ 

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