Someone outside the workplace
I recently read an article about the relationship between businesses and their staff. It talked about a study by the Institute of Directors that surveyed 1150 employees and 586 UK employers. The key facts of the article were:
- 75% of employees would prefer to discuss their mental health with someone outside their workplace.
- Only 23% of companies had a mental health program or company wide policy.
- Less than 7% of business leaders had discussed emotional or mental health with their employees in the last year.
- 51% of employees felt that their employer had some responsibility for their emotional well-being.
- 19% of employees felt that they got enough emotional support.
I wondered a little about the impacts on businesses of these facts. You would expect to see increased attendance and increased staff retention from companies that had some kind of support in place. I guess though from a company perspective that this can be seen as an expensive option. In some cases it might be. There are big players out there who offer a service to companies for this kind of support. They involve 24-hour helplines where staff can call in and talk for a while and an assessment is done. Those companies then place the staff member with a counsellor. This is all done completely separately to the employee work place and all is confidential from the employer.
It does occur to me though that not all companies have the ability to place this amount of resource into helping in this way. There are other ways though. Agreements can be made with counsellors close to the employer so that a service can be offered. This can be as small as just employing the counsellor for a set number of sessions for a single employee and setting up some kind of invoicing arrangement. It could also be something slightly larger whereby line managers or HR departments have access to a referral system so that employees who may be struggling can be referred to a counselor with their agreement. In this way most of the benefits of counselling are gained and the cost of the 24 helpline, along with the mark up on the sessions themselves is lost. Of course you compromise on the fact that employees do not have that completely confidential start but for some companies that may be a cost effective way forward.
What about employees then I wonder. They may be struggling to attend or perform at work. The issue may be work based or personal. In these days of a struggling NHS it can be hard to gain support in a timely fashion. How much use would it be to these employees to be able to gain access to counselling in a timely fashion? How would they then feel about their employer? Might they then with this support be able to continue to attend work and maintain their performance? I would suggest that this would be considerably more likely with timely support than without it.
Whether you are an employer or employee – if this article struck any kind of chord with you and you wish to set something up to help yourself or your company then please feel free to contact me.