Managers Put Employer's Interests Above Staff Wellbeing, Says BITC Report
- Date: Monday 22nd October 2018
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Although awareness of mental health issues at work is high, employers need to urgently ramp up the breadth and quality of support they provide to staff, including “high-quality” training for line managers, according to the third workplace mental health report by the Business in the Community.
Mental Health at Work 2018 Report – Seizing the Momentum found that 64% of managers put the interests of their organisation above staff wellbeing at some point, while 12% admit to doing so “every day”.
The proportion of managers who have had mental health training stands at 30% in 2018 from 22% in 2016, but BITC says that progress is slow and that “it is not acceptable for 67% of line managers to have received no training in mental health”, either as part of general management training or a specific mental health course.
The report is based on the online National Employee Mental Wellbeing Survey, compiled via a YouGov panel of 4,626 full and part-time UK employees chosen to be representative of gender, age, race, industry sector, region and business size.
Despite the welcome growth in awareness of mental health – where 71% of respondents say they would recognise the symptoms compared to 64% in the 2016 survey – the survey found that 61% of employees have experienced a mental health issue where work was a contributing factor.
Concerningly, 11% of respondents who disclosed a mental health issue subsequently faced disciplinary action, demotion or dismissal.
The report contains five anonymised case studies of workers whose disclosure of a mental health issue led to a worsening of their situation at work.
BITC also highlights a “disconnect” between what senior leaders believe about their organisations and the reality of employees: while 58% of senior leaders think that their organisation supports its staff, only 42% of employees with no managerial responsibility felt the issues were being addressed.
In other findings, the report also points to a lack of measurable evidence of what interventions are effective and no consensus regarding guidance on “reasonable adjustments” for mental health at work.
It also identifies that younger staff are more vulnerable to mental health issues, with 37% of those aged 18-29 have been formally diagnosed with a mental health condition, compared to 29% of employees over 50.
It also highlights that one-quarter of employees are struggling to make ends meet and financial concerns have caused three-fifths to experience mental health symptoms. The figure is even higher among younger workers.
The report reveals that Public Health England is planning a three-year mental health marketing programme called “Every Mind Matters” which is due to debut in spring 2019, to raise awareness of the fact that looking after mental health is as important as physical health.
The report also looks at the particular experience of BAME workers, LGBT+ staff and those working for SMEs, and also address conditions in particular industries.