Despite the fact that the vast majority of employees consider psychological safety in the workplace important, only a small proportion of organisations are taking proactive steps to support the mental health of their staff. That’s one of the key takeaways to emerge from new research by a leading learning organisation.
According to the survey of 1,000 leaders, managers and employees conducted by Censuswide, on behalf of City and Guilds Group, a whopping 94% of employees consider psychological wellbeing in the workplace to be important. However, the same survey found that just 10% of organisations proactively support their staff when it comes to the state of their mental health and treat it as a business priority.
In terms of accountability, the survey found that 43% of senior managers expect the psychological safety of employees at work to be dealt with by HR, while over half (56%) of employees believe it is the responsibility of line managers and senior management.
‘Lack Of Understanding Leading To Inaction’
Speaking about the findings of the research, John Yates, managing director of corporate learning at City and Guilds Group, said that while many businesses recognise the importance of ensuring psychological safety for employees, there is a lack of understanding about who is responsible and that is leading to inaction.
“Without defining what psychological safety means to their business and who is accountable to address any risks and issues, organisations will struggle to achieve a safe environment for their employees and ultimately risk harm to the wellbeing of their workforce, productivity and their bottom line.”
Worryingly, one in five (20%) organisations said they would only take appropriate action once a psychological safety issue had arisen. Similarly, 22% of senior managers said they would only be spurred into taking action if a high-profile press incident occurred.
Furthermore, the survey also found that 63% of business leaders believe that social media makes managing the psychological safety of employees more difficult.
“While it might seem that social media hovers like a dark cloud in the workplace, advancements in technology are only going to evolve and avoiding issues like these will no doubt create problems further down the line,” said Yates.
A Wake-up Call For Employers
In November last year, we wrote about how work-related mental health issues now account for over half of work absences. It’s a reality that should act as a wake-up call for employers – especially when you consider that 15.4 million working days were lost in 2017/2018 alone due to work-related stress, anxiety or depression.
The discussion about who the responsibility for ensuring the wellbeing of employees lies with is one that will inevitably continue into the future. But as it is increasingly falling on the shoulders of employers, Group Income Protection is something that more and more are taking advantage of.
In fact, one of the reasons why SMEs offer Group Income Protection is because they believe it gives them a competitive advantage when it comes to recruitment and retention.
Are you proactively supporting the mental health of your staff? Could you be doing more? Maybe you’re not sure what options are available to you.
Contact Premier Choice today and find out more about Group Income Protection and get a free, no obligation quote.
Claire Ginnelly is the Managing Director of Premier Choice Health and has been in the private medical insurance industry since 1991. All her experience has been gained working for large insurance companies managing the distribution of health insurance products through intermediaries. She has held senior positions within Standard Life Healthcare, as Head of Intermediary Sales, and Groupama Healthcare, as Head of Distribution.