Making mental health a leadership priority

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It has never been more important for businesses to really take stock of this pandemic and the overall impact to their businesses. Absolutely there will be discussions, investments & policies/strategies created for finance, IT, sales & marketing because of the last 15 months. But what about the health and wellbeing of your employees?

According to Deloitte annual survey poor mental health costed employers £45bn in 2020. This figure may also not be the whole picture as 67% of employees have stated they are not comfortable disclosing poor mental health being the real reason for their absence with their employer.

Organisations could significantly reduce the financial impact on their businesses by supporting their staff with wellbeing and promotion of positive mental health by making Workplace Wellbeing Strategies a priority. This strategy should be well thought through with appropriate investment in place to implement successfully.

Driving the right culture in your organisation is crucial if you are to make a positive impact. This should be true from board level all the way throughout the organisation.

Line managers at all levels of your business play an integral part of this plan. They are the ones who have the biggest impact and influence on the performance of any business. An individual’s experience of a business culture is directly affected by their line manager. Failure to appropriately recruit, train and develop your line managers can have serious consequences on individuals and the business.

Support and education to help us manage our mental health for all employees should be standard in a business. We generally have good self-awareness in relation to our physical health, but less so with our mental health and wellbeing. It can be extremely helpful to build up a picture of what is driving our wellbeing: sleep, exercise, social connections, stress management, sense of purpose, helping others. Our wellbeing is highly personal and individual, yet unless we have learned to manage a specific mental health challenge it is unlikely, we have gained literacy in relation to what is driving it. Once we have this knowledge, proactively managing our wellbeing becomes a logical next step.

We find ourselves in a time of opportunity where choices that are made now could determine the success of business and communities alike. Businesses can either invest and secure the success of their business or make the choice not to invest and hope that ‘Fruit Fridays’ will be enough to look after their employees health and wellbeing.  So I have 1 simple questions for business leaders, what is your choice?

Thanks for listening.

Claire Bennett

Mental Health & Wellbeing Consultant

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