What next for workplace mental health in 2023 ?
The workplace has gone through transformational change over the last 3 years; the pandemic, post pandemic, political and economic challenges. But, has the approach in your organisation to workplace mental health adapted accordingly and most importantly is this having the desired impact on employee satisfaction, including recruitment and retention ? Are the services provided for mental health support being accessed early, activating a focus on prevention ? And, can you demonstrate a return on investment in whichever way you have chosen ?
The cost of poor mental health has risen, but workplaces are not adapting their response.
There is much uncertainty, however what we do know is that between 2019 and 2021 the cost of poor mental health to employers increased by 25% to £56bn(1) and the main contributor to this has been presenteeism, now estimated to be at least 4 times the cost of absenteeism. However, the highest increase was the cost of turnover of staff leaving due to mental health or wellbeing reasons. This is a worrying trend that employers cannot afford to ignore. Workplaces that do get a programme right can expect an ROI of £5.30 for every £1 invested, but many are unsure what the right programme really is for them and it is unlikely to be the same as it was in 2019. Many workplaces have adapted the way that mental health programmes are run and may even have increased spend, but often evolution has involved running the same activities, to the same audiences, but with a virtual or digital delivery component, rather than rethinking what, to who and for which outcome.
An independent review of your mental health strategy can have people and financial benefits.
Taking a step back and reviewing your existing holistic programme, hearing the employee perspective, considering policy and practice as well as training and reviewing within the context of industry best practice, can be enlightening. This can set the course for change in the coming period, directly targeting the outcomes that you are focussed on. It also provides the framework to review activity moving forwards and make the adjustments and changes necessary, so you can better gauge investment needs and performance in the years ahead.
Engaging an external partner, who has expertise in workplace mental health, to support with this review can be helpful in providing an impartial diagnoses, bringing structure and experience and increasing trust and confidentiality around employee feedback.
The Mental Health at Work Consultancy service uses an established diagnostic framework to assess how well your current mental health strategy is working and where there might be opportunities for optimisation. It has four main parts and we use a range of methodologies including surveys, facilitated focus groups and analytical frameworks:
What are your current goals and objectives around workplace mental health ?
Do your policies and procedures support your mental health strategy ?
What are your employee’s views on mental health in your organisation ?
What are the metrics and KPI’s that you are or could measure to support your strategy ?
We know that every workplace is different and therefore needs a flexible approach, so we spend time up front understanding your organisation and your needs and will adapt this approach accordingly, taking into account structure, regions, markets and culture. The output is a workplace mental health status report, an improvement plan, giving a range of supplier neutral opportunities and a mental health scorecard for you to use to assess impact moving forwards.
We would of course be delighted if you choose to work with us on implementing a programme, but we know there are many options for this phase including existing relationships and in house teams, so we are clear to make a distinction between our consultancy and our programme work to leave you to choose what is right for you. We’ll work in partnership to support you through the next steps.
“Mental Health and Employers: the case for investment Pandemic and Beyond,” Deloitte March 2022