HR Series: Does your business openly discuss mental health and implement ways to reduce stress?

Hr Series Does Your Business Openly Discuss Mental Health And Implement Ways To Reduce Stress

​Sara Fife, our Business Support Manager, hosted a roundtable luncheon today with HR professionals from the Engineering industry. The topic of discussion was Managing Mental Health in the Workplace. Guy Robbins Customer Director at Benestar provided great insight, examples and theory to the group on a very important topic that effects one in five Australian workers, and costs Australian businesses $10.9 billion every year.

For the past 20 years Guy has worked in the Employee Assistance industry – first as a clinician and since 2005 in business development and customer relationship management. Since joining Benestar in 2015 he has worked as a beyondblue facilitator to help businesses raise the awareness of mental health and build healthier, happier and more productive workforces.

45 per cent of people in Australia will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. Mental health conditions are common and don’t discriminate – even the most resilient person can be affected by stress related to their work, as well as other life challenges.

Guy highlighted to the group that stress is the number one modifiable health risk. With appreciation that most jobs involve some degree of stress, he provided the group with proactive ways in which mental health and stress can be managed at a leadership level.  

Champions– Every business should have at least 1 champion in a senior position of the organisation to drive a positive and open workplace culture.

Values– When a company develops a values-driven culture, employees find alignment between their personal values and the organisation's values creating a motivated workforce.

Leadership–  A key component for building trust with others is empathy. Providing a safe environment where employees feelings are genuinely heard and considered will strengthen relationships across the business, increase collaboration, and improve productivity.

Education– Employees should be educated on mental health. What is a mental health condition? What are the risk factors/triggers? What are the protective factors? How to develop protective factors.

Benefits for cultivating a mentally healthy workforce:

  • For every $1 invested in mental health initiatives...there’s an average ROI of $2.30

  • Improved productivity

  • Increased staff engagement

  • Talent retention

  • Reduction in turnover (across the board)

  • Ethically responsible

  • Legally obliged

  • Employer of choice with current and potential employees

“You don’t need to be a large business to support mental health in the workplace, in fact, small businesses receive even larger returns when they invest in mental health, as its easier for them to involve their people in the process”Guy said.

Often businesses who may not have openly explored ways to reduce stress or open the conversation about mental health are not sure where to seek help to start building a healthier workplace.

Everyone has a role to play in creating a healthy workplace. Every workplace is unique, so each businesses approach needs to be tailored to fit their workplace.

Useful tools for building or maintaining a healthier workplace can be found online through reputable sources such as:

beyondblue – Working to improve the mental health of workers in Australia and promote the benefits of mentally healthy workplaces.

HeadsUp– Website developed to provide practical information and resources on a broad range of workplace mental health strategies.

We would like to like to thank the HR professionals who attended our luncheon today and Guy for his knowledgeable insights into a topic we take seriously here at Aspect Personnel.