Mental health insights, Fools set stools for wise men to stumble over
Tuesday 19th March 2019
Your employee wants a bar of chocolate but they have no change. You dig into your pocket and give them a pound coin so they can grab one from the vending machine. They return with their chocolate two minutes later and explain that the vending machine gave them £4.20 change. This is the average return you can expect from every pound you invest in the mental health and wellbeing of your team.
Yet there are still far too many organisations that treat their employees' minds as an afterthought - if they consider them at all - and many remain ignorant of the financial benefits to the investment. Fools set stools for wise men to stumble over. And you could call an employer a fool if they considered the mental health of their employees to be anything less than "make it or break it" for the success of their organisation. Yet here many are, a bunch of fools... setting, ignoring and tripping over stools.
The truth of it is that poor mental health is a major contributor to sickness absence, staff turnover and presenteeism in the workplace; the combination of which costs UK businesses between £33 and £42 billion a year.
As a Mental Health First Aider in an organisation that sells Mental Health & Wellbeing eLearning, I am fortunate to be part of a community that cares. But my experience shows me that many businesses shrug off mental health; it's disposable because it's invisible. Then again, many of our clients acknowledge its importance to us but they are too uncomfortable to approach it with their staff. So once again, mental health is discarded.
There is also evidence of the matter being met with frustration and even apathy from employers. 'Mental health' and 'wellbeing' are popular phrases at the moment and as a result they are at risk of losing the sincerity of their meaning through overuse. But we need to stress that this is not a passing fad. We must keep talking about it. We must.
The organisation Mind reports that 60% of employees would be more motivated if their employers supported their wellbeing, which makes sense. Why would an employee want to give their time, energy and innovation to an organisation when their happiness is inconsequential to their employer?
Please note, you don't need to be an expert on mental health, you just need to support the initiative. If your workplace has its employees' wellbeing at its heart talent will blossom, productivity will soar, loyalty will strengthen and your company will reap the rewards. Remember, you get your £4.20 and your employee gets their chocolate bar.