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Saturday, April 18, 2015   

Apparently 1 out of 3 bosses don't believe it's an employer's responsibility to support the positive mental health of the company's employees. 

Legally, they are right - for now - but what about the pure economics?

The case against supporting positive mental health

"We make significant Employer NI contributions - that should be funding it".  A good point, but the reality is that the NHS can't support the growing mental health issue that sees 91 million workdays lost per year. It doesn't have the funds and it is fundamentally not set up to innovate new solutions.  If the prevailing practices work, why is the UK losing 91 million workdays per year to mental ill-health?  QED.

"Our staff should leave their problems at the door when they come into work"  A ridiculous point, but scarily common. It is virtually impossible for any of us to detach from issues that are affecting our sense of mental wellbeing.  And what if the stress or anxiety is being caused by an issue at work?

"We don't have any spare budget  - particularly not to fund something with no tangible financial benefit".   The single biggest issue - read on.

The case FOR supporting positive mental health

"I don't need stats or spreadsheets to tell me that, if we support our employees in a way that  means they are happier, healthier and feel more engaged, we create a win-win that sees our business reaping the benefits - morally and financially".  So said Duncan McGregor, president of one of the Sandvik companies piloting the GENIUS programme.

Mr Mcgregor, along with Steve Powell (HRD) and a number of the senior management team instinctively understood that investing in positive mental health just makes good sense.  Here's some of the benefits Sandvik realised as a result of effectively making the I AM GENIUS statement:-

1. Higher retention of key employees.  Aside from lost knowledge and business momentum, the average cost of replacing an employee equates to £5,750 (CIPD).  In a skills-short market, keeping your best people is a key competitive advantage.

2. Reduced absenteeism.  The cost of mental ill health is £1035 per employee per year.  (Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health). The GENIUS pilot with Sandvik resulted in dramatic reduction in long-term absenteeism. The cost of the solution was £180 per employee per year.

3. Reduced presenteeism (at work / not functioning to full capability).  58.4 % of lost productivity is down to 'presenteeism' (Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health).  All Sandvik employees  (and their managers!) reported significantly improved performance.

4.  Greater staff engagement.  Increased productivity, more input and ideas to improving performance.  All managers who had team members engaging with the GENIUS programme reported vastly increased levels of engagement.

5. Enhanced employer brand  / EVP.  Companies with a weak EVP (employee value proposition) have to pay on average 25% MORE in salary to attract  / retain staff than a company with a strong EVP.

If someone in your workplace is asking for greater evidence of the benefits of supporting positive employee mental health, click the link and point them in the direction of this article.  I AM GENIUS = "I support positive mental health in the workplace"


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