Mind webinar: 'HR policies for improving mental wellbeing and employee engagement'



hello and welcome to the second in minds webinar series around supporting people with mental health problems in the workplace my name is Paul Farmer I'm mines chief executive and I'm really pleased that you've been able to join us today for what I think is going to be a really interesting hour of debate and discussion and the focus of this webinar today is particularly on those of you who work in in human resources in HR but we know that people who don't work in HR line managers and employees have joined us today and your contributions will be most welcome throughout the event and our particular focus is on how organisations businesses public private and voluntary sector can build good quality policies to improve mental wellbeing and employee engagement and we have here our panel Eugene Emma and Jonathan to tell us more about the approaches that that they see really makes a difference to improving the quality of that intervention and the quality of that support for people who experience mental health in the workplace those of you who don't know sir my enjoyed probably Britain's best-known mental health charity we're here supporting anybody who experiences a mental health problem to get the help and support that they really need and over recent years we've done quite a lot of work looking at how organisations can support people with mental health problems more effectively in the workplace and over the course of the last couple of years our taking care of business campaign has really identified a whole range of reasons good quality business reasons why this is a case so we now know that one in six workers is dealing with anxiety depression or stress we know that from our survey published last week that work is the most stressful factor in many people's lives and perhaps most worryingly of all there remains a culture of silence the stigma that surrounds the subject of mental ill-health is translated often into the workplace with an incredible 90% of people that we spoke to in our recent survey saying that when they were ringing in with a mental health related sickness absence they didn't mention that fact that it was mental health-related so we know we've got a big job to do here we also know that there is a business incentive for the country for UK plc to address this with 26 billion pounds a year lost every year every year to the UK economy but we also know positively that many managers really want to get this right and they want to improve the quality of their team's mental health and mental well-being but they often don't know how to do it so we we've done quite a lot of work looking at this as an issue and that's one of the things we're going to look at in a lot more detail today how open and supportive workplaces can really benefit everyone and we know from the work that we've done and we know from talking to many businesses and employers up and down the country but this approach really can make a difference creating that idea of a mentally healthy workplace increasing employee engagement are two sides of the same coin and I think we're going to hear later on particularly for Jonathan about the approach that he's taken to really make that work we also know that if you do look after your staffs mental well-being it improves morale loyalty innovation and productivity and ultimately that has an impact on the bottom line so there seems to be a growing strong case for really prioritizing mental health in the workplace and for HR managers Mandy I think is increasingly the case and we're finding many more organizations coming to a seeking advice on how to get this right so in the course of today we're going to hear from our panel of experts we're going to tell us a little bit more about their approaches and also their learning from their organisations and the people they work with to make sure that we can offer you the most helpful hints and tips for how to get this right the chat room is live as we speak and I can already see quite a lot of people coming in with questions so please do get your questions in and we've allowed plenty of time in this session to allow for as many questions as possible so that's the format for this afternoon's event without further ado let's let's get on with it with this with the talking and let's hear first of all from Eugene Farrell from actor PPP Eugene tell us a bit more about the business case for this issue thank you Paul and I just wanted to start off with a quote actually work is more fun than fun interesting one when I read this and I thought wow that that really says a lot about being engaged at work no coward must have really enjoyed the work that he did to find it more fun than fun and I'm not saying that all employees should make their their work more fun than fun but but it's definitely about good engagement work stress is nothing new this is it's not a new issue we've been talking about this for many years I think what is new is that the economic climate is really starting to bite now it's affecting the workplace and it's affecting workers and what we're seeing is people are trying to do a lot more work with a lot less that's having a detrimental effect upon their their psychological health their mental health and also their physical health work stress affects their productivity creativity attendance motivation and ultimately customer satisfaction and those are going to be bottom-line issues for organizations but we want to have a flourishing workplaces an engaged workforce is productive they're creative they're positive so positive emotions create much more creativity emotional positivity and employees who are positively engaged who have a positive mental attitude much more likely to see their employer as being much more supportive as doing a lot more for them and they're going to find that a much better place to work also engaged employees are going to be something like five times more committed to the workplace there are going to be about a third less likely to take time off SiC and engaged employees and more than twice likely to be their top performers so there's some really good cases for having engagement to the workplace but also they need to be resilient and resilience is about themselves it's about the workplace and it's about how they're supported in the workplace as well as many of the other factors that are related to work itself but the well-being agenda is very much part of employee engagement as was mentioned earlier by Paul there they're very much connected so engagement well-being is the same thing and connected together and psychological and mental health well-being is as important as physical well-being mental what is really important I think is that culture attitude and desire are really part of the engagement agenda for an organization to change it perhaps needs to look at its its culture it needs to think about its attitude and it needs to have a desire to change not just that the fluffy things but also but a transformational change within the workplace and that needs a board commitment from the top downwards so that there's a real sense of the organization being engaged in wanting to change or being committed towards its its mental well-being and its physical well-being and these are really important factors for organisations to consider when they're looking at their engagement around the organization organizations tend to underestimate their the amount of mental health in the workplace around about half of employers believe that none of their employees are likely ever to encounter any mental health issues and yet as Paul said one in six are likely to so there's a gross underestimate of what actually happens also we need to think about how HR can fit into this agenda and the HR have a very big part to play in helping managers with engagement by creating mental health work not too healthy workplaces but also in driving the engagement agenda than being a champion for that within the workplace and helping the workplace to transform and to change Eugene thanks very much indeed and I think that really sets the scene for the business case and particularly this idea of making sure that you've got support from the top of your organization and we very much like to hear from you if you've got exam or questions about how you can help make that happen I think particularly for HR managers that's often one of the biggest challenges that you might face Mme Moe is positing campaigns manager at mind and it's very much the brains behind our taking care of business campaign and what have we learned from other organizations about what really helps what we've learned is that if you really want to do this well you need to have a comprehensive strategy that involves a three pronged approach where you promote well-being for all of your staff you tackle the work-related causes of mental problems and then finally you have the policies and practices in place that mean you can support your staff if they start experiencing a problem and obviously for HR professionals your role within this I think is about if you have a strategy how do you ensure consistency across your organization and how do you I think it's really important for you to capture and share the best practice that is happening in your organization and then finally it's about being there and being able to intervene and support staff and managers when they're dealing with this on a day to day basis and I'll talk more about this in a moment but first of all I just wanted to talk about some workplace triggers now we all have mental health it's not spoken about it's taboo but we all have it and we move up and down it we're on a spectrum and we move up and down it for any number of reasons and since you know when you think about how much time we spend at work the fact that it can have an impact on our mental health is not unsurprising and if you look at this list of some of the things that can cause distress long hours and no breaks unreasonable deadlines and workloads poor communication poor relationships job insecurity and change management I think for a HR professional it's to think about are any of these present in my workplace at the moment and if they are what am i doing to manage them or what should I be doing so moving on to how you can make the three-pronged approach come alive in your workplace I think when it comes to promoting well-being first of all it's about getting buy-in at all levels now Eugene has spoken about the business case in terms of reducing sickness absence the business case in terms of boosting and pull agent there's also an added dimension to this when speaking with your senior team it's also about being an employer of choice look around your industry and sector are your peers and competitors investing in staff well-being if they are then it's about matching them because obviously you want to attract but people too and if they're not doing it well you could lead the way and be that employer of choice and then it's about getting buy-in from your line managers they're going to be implementing this strategy day to day so you need to speak to them about what they might find challenging and then see how you can support that is it about training is it about clear policies and guidance templates and so on and then it is about that strong message from the top it's about them it's about the senior team promoting the right kind of culture that invests and values and staff and then it's also about them modeling and encouraging the right behaviors in terms of encouraging were sensible working hours and lunch breaks and then supporting flexible working where possible and having clear policies on this so people and different teams experience the same sort of arrangements and then it's about promoting open dialogue and involving staff in organizer in how the organization is is run and what forums are available for people to raise issues to feed into change management and so on and then investing in your staff in terms of prioritizing learning and development that's really important to boosting employee engagement and then promoting physical and social activities at mind we have yoga we have lunchtime walks last year we held an old school sports day which I'm really well with a staff and we'll be repeating that again this summer so it's looking at how you can build you know strong teams build cohesion it's really important and then it's about encouraging peer support and buddy systems and these can be as as in formalin and for or as formulas you like informal sort of peer support people holding lunch-and-learn workshops where people share their top tips around time management smarter working or you could just have a space on your internet where people share their top tips you could then introduce buddy systems for new starters or when people change their roles you can a bit more formal such as action learning groups at mind we have these in place for managers and heads of departments so you have small groups of four to five people that meet every six weeks and you bring a workplace issue that the others help you work through and it's really useful in terms of effectively using the skills and knowledge that you have in your workplace already and then moving on to tackling the work-related causes of mental health problems the first step is really taking stock of your organisation's mental health and well-being do you already hold a staff survey each year that asks about well-being and employee engagement if so you might want to review the questions I know some organizations have asked questions about do you feel committed to the organization would you go the extra mile so they've had quite high employee engagement scores but when they added some additional questions around do you feel that the organisation invests in you do you feel supported by the or by the organisation they came out with some different scores so it may be looking at reviewing what you ask and then coming up with your action plans and then reviewing them regularly and then it's about thinking about the policies and that you have in place the interactive stuff well being the obvious ones are around health and safety equality diversity but then there's other ones around performance management and bullying and harassment so it's just having a look at all of your policies and seeing if they are harmonized around mental health and then it's about ensuring line managers are supported to manage the mental health of their staff on a day to day basis we know that managers can often have different styles and how they approached team management but it's ensuring that all staff get a minimum level of pastoral care so I think will be really useful is to have templates and suggested agendas for line managers to follow for example in my team I'll have monthly catch ups with my team or we'll ask about well I'll ask about their general well-being a review of the last month what went well what didn't the support that I've given them to get feedback if anything wasn't helpful then looking at their progress against their objectives whether they've had a chance to do any personal development and they want to discuss their so having a really holistic kind of talk about how they're getting on in the workplace and then it's about supporting managers to promote healthy behaviors amongst their staff and managing workloads and also considering the physical environment you know is it overcrowded noise temperature all these things are really important to managing stress in the workplace then it's about routinely publicizing the supports that your organization offers and using your internal comms can you put posters up in the workplace around your Employee Assistance Program do you have screen savers where you could have messages you know beamed once a month talking about the support that's available I know one company that used the spare space on their wage slips to include information about well-being so there's ways that you can think about how best you can get these messages out to all of your staff and then moving on I just wanted to talk about how you can support your employees now if you've been promoting well-being and tackling the causes of work-related mental health problems then hopefully your staff will feel comfortable speaking up sooner about a problem and a really useful tool when people do talk about problems that are experiencing at work there's a wellness recovery action plan where you can explore how their mental health and their poor mental health impacts on their performance what our workplace triggers what our early warning signs for you to look out for and then what are the helpful steps for you to take and then what steps can the individual take at mind we've always had these available for staff experiencing mental health problems and then we child in a few teams including my own looking at introducing it for all staff where you would then just talk about your experience of pressure and stress and anxiety in the workplace and actually they're really useful to have a very clear framework to work from in terms of you know supporting your staff and getting the best from them and then from the wellness recovery action plan you can then explore workplace adjustments that you might need to put in place to support someone if they are experiencing distress and this is very individual but things around changing people start and finish time working from home or more flexible working or changes took their workstation can they be somewhere less busy obviously it's about working with the individual and and seeing what they would find helpful okay and I thanks very much indeed and I think there's something about thinking about the mental health of all stars that is a really powerful way of starting to address this issue Jonathan Bowers is the looks after UK fast and if you haven't heard of UK fast it's a rapidly growing internet hosting business growing to the size of now about 200 members of staff and so I suppose Johnson you're going to give us a picture about what what what how you've managed to address this issue of mental health amongst to a growing workforce yes thank you Paul what we've noticed is an extraordinary thing has happened and that the fight-or-flight mentality or instinct has actually entered the workplace only not in the way that nature intended we were given adrenaline you know our bodies to escape from life-threatening situations but actually we create that adrenaline almost every day with in the work environment whether it be because of a broken printer or because of a tete-a-tete with another employee we we miss deadlines or we stress about various aspects of what happens within the workplace and we create adrenalin that doesn't get used in the right way now what we've discovered at UK first is that that knocks your concentration in knocks your confidence in the short term it can knock your concentration for four to five hours if somebody's read to you within the workplace that can knock 40% of your concentration in the long term it's hugely knocks your confidence and that we've been lucky enough to learn from and seek out advice from a lot of much more successful people in ourselves and one of the best pieces of rice that we've received is from Richard Branson which is about giving praise to employees not criticism and he says that people with a under criticism but they thrive under praise just like a plant might with water and it's a great piece of advice that we've taken further within the workplace one of the key things that I'd like to look at today is is the emotions that people 3 and replacing those Tony Robbins another great advocate of positive thinking who has helped the likes of Barack Obama through to Andre Agassi says that we can only feel one emotion at any time and we can feel stressed or or we could choose to feel fun instead and I think that's a really crucial message because at UK first we replace stress with a sense of ownership that brings along a great sense of fun within the workplace so I'd like to talk about those two things first of all ownership and the structure that Lawrence and Gail Jones who founded the UK first have created within the business and is again it's not something we created ourselves it's something that we've looked to other people for and we actually found within Timpson the the humble Shoe Repairs company that has 900 stores across the UK and they work in an upside-down management framework so their CEO just like our CEO now is at the bottom of an upside-down pyramid without customers and our customer facing team at the top of that pyramid the most important people in UK faster those that deal with customers every day or what we might call the coalface of business 73% of our people operate at that area and we give them as much ownership as we possibly can this has amazing results because it reduces bottlenecks which makes them more productive it makes people happier when they're achieving more and it empowers those people to make the decisions that they need to make every day and that in turn grows their confidence an interesting thing that John Timpson said was that strategists wrongly assume that all business intelligence resides at head office and that's a big message for us that actually the people on the frontline of those that can help you grow the business so you have to empower those people who know exactly what's going on to help you to do that the second aspect for us alongside that infrastructure for the business is creating an environment that people will thrive within in terms of doing that we've had I suppose of any ambitious plans we create a workspace and it feels like home for us you work a third of your life you play a third of your life you sleep a third of your life and we want to make that third of your life at work as pleasurable and enjoyable as possible in fact we want to make it just like home life because people perform best when they're relaxed so most of our team actually walk around the office in their socks or maybe bring in work slippers as we mentioned today we also have a second environment that we take people to which is a training center out of Snowdonia it's really important to us to take people out of a work environment to find out more about them to find out what drives them to see which challenges they're most excited about and also put people outside of their comfort zones so they can see the ways that they can overcome challenges and reduce stress in the future so we take people to our training centers Snowdonia which has 315 acre lake and is at the foothills of snow in itself we kind people have known snowed and we do raft building orienteering archery and the biggest thing there is to find out what puts a smile on people's faces it's not the fastest person up snowman that matters most it's the attitude that people take on any challenge that's really important to us because that helps us understand how to motivate them and look after them in the future and people are probably the thing we focus on most probably with an obsession at UK fast and so much so that 18 months ago we took on a personal trainer into the business and to literally work with every person help them become healthier help them think about ways that they can use the energies within them and look at nutrition and the ways that they look after their bodies and their own health he's had an incredible effect at Joe house within the business and people know we've got to netball teams two football teams we have 35 people doing the Tough Mudder later this year 50 people doing the Manchester 10k and there's an amazing sense of community and it's not based around ability it's based around everybody getting involved and we also have a team chef and a company masseuse at different ways that we can reduce stress within the business and add something extra that people really enjoy I suppose the other major thing that we we do is we find incentives and motivating people incredibly important and we like to reward really hard work and so we have many company too UK Fest is a festival we run every summer out of Snowdonia we have the use of a huge amount of field we put entertainments in there we put bands on at night laura's our gail the two founders they find out the whole thing from the first sausage roll and beer that people have right through to the last entertainment on the final day and it's an amazing way for people to not only come themselves as employees but bring their families with them bring their friends so everyone can experience I suppose the fun side of business we also have a summit in the Alps every year last year it was the R&D team that went out to Verbier had got the chance to play hard and work hard out in a fantastic environment and this year just in a couple of weeks it's the communications and marketing teams that are going out to do that and I suppose one of the big questions that we do get asked is does it work what effect does it have and we while we look a little bit about the effect that motivation obviously has on people we can see that everyday in the games we play in the office the energy we create overall the the infrastructure and the environment we've created have contributed to a business that's gone from two people in a back bedroom with 10 pounds of their pocket to 200 people with our own office space and 20 million pound turnover last year so I think that says a lot did the profit that the company makes is most often plant back into the business in order that we can develop that environment and so we're a lucky business but I think we're lucky because we work hard at being lucky Johnna thanks very much indeed and I'm just interested whether you can attribute how much of that growth in your turnover and your profit do you think you can attribute to the very creative way you manage it you look after your staff well the creative way we look after our staff is the bedrock of our culture it's our core values it's all right purpose as a business and they're the things that drive people forward so really but getting the culture right is everything by the revenue and the turnover so I would say you can probably actually all of it okay thank you so it's now time to look at your questions and please do keep them coming in we've already got a significant number of questions for the panel to answer so we'll get through as many as possible and let's start off with this question of senior leadership Murray asks mental health isn't a priority at my company can you give me some advice on how to get the senior team to see this as important Eugene what's the what's your top tip for this good question that one and I think it's really important that that the senior at the senior management in the organization get to see for example statistics on what mental health is looking like in the workplace not only from both audits but also absenteeism and etc and get them involved in what the cost looks like for that for his business so that they could do something have it high on the agenda to do something with but also that they get a commitment and an involvement really to driving policy and culture forward so that's about engagement that's about looking at programs they could take on within the workplace and that's about being committed themselves to making change in the workplace and that takes really some work from from managers from HR to make sure that that's on the board agenda and regularly on the board agenda and we've seen examples of organizations where that senior leadership really makes a difference absolutely national careers are quite you know quite good at prioritizing that the mental health needs of their staff EDF energy have also been highlighted as best practice bTW so there are companies that do see this as quite central to achieving their business outcomes and I guess how you get senior leadership on board is what is what we were discussing earlier about the business case of if you don't act it will cost you if you start being proactive you'll reap the benefits in terms of minimizing the negative and boosting employee engagement then also that added thing around an employer of choice so there's a recruitment argument isn't there as well as they found that Jonathan though it's it's drawing people into your business absolutely we find that more and more people coming for assessment days and interviews now citing one of the reasons as the fact that we're a top employer with best companies for instance and I think the answer to these questions about showing the senior management productivity and for us as a business we're very lucky that right from the top down people take this incredibly seriously but you know there are statistics by the positive group that say that even somebody witnessing somebody else being rude to somebody it knocks their concentration by twenty percent for two to three hours know somebody being rude to somebody knocks that person they've been rude to his consultation for forty percent for two to three hours we all know that really people say that women can multitask but I don't believe that anybody can I believe that we all need to be focused on our business and on what we're doing and when productivity gets knocked in that way it's bound to have a knock-on effect on what we produce a happy employee who's engaged and love what they're doing always produces more than somebody who feels disgruntled okay let's go on and look at now with the question of employee engagement and we've had a number of questions about how to engage employees and this is often one of the hardest areas especially if your organization doesn't have a kind of culture of building of building that so mean it says we find it really hard to get employees to engage with us we've set up group emails and social media but we find it hard to get employees to invest in communication with us what can we do to improve this Jonathan what would you do well one of the most successful things for us is food actually it's feeding we found for a long time that getting feedback from the team because feedbacks the way we've grown both from our clients and from our team but getting it from the team would have to involve pieces at lunch time potentially or a nice dinner at Lawrence a girl's house in the evening and over many an informal dinner party have we formulated new ideas for the business so definitely giving a vested interest to people helps we started a print out newsletter that we send out to everyone's homes and all that parents and families homes as well and part of it includes the Employee of the Month which the whole team votes on so we created ways for the team to get involved with a vested interest that they themselves made them be chosen as the person and in a way we're lucky where we have 200 people which sounds like a lot but for us it's very manageable in terms of everybody knowing everybody and everybody knowing the effect they can have on the business and the rewards they can get from the business and then there's a balance isn't there between what you can do online social media or obviously has a role to play because many people spend a lot of their time sitting at their desk but but also that face-to-face component how would you balance those two I think it's just important to have a range of ways for people to get involved what I would be concerned about if they are finding that people aren't engaging what's the under underlying reason for that now when we talk to employers about starting to address mental health in the workplace we would say to me you need to get your house in order you need to get all your policies and practices in place you need to get your staff views and then you need to go out and start promoting well-being because sometimes if you start doing that promoting well-being in there are issues in the workplace people won't engage because they will see it as tokenistic so I think it's maybe trying to diagnose why people aren't engaging and what might be some of the barriers mmm-ma not um and over there it says I think buddy schemes are a good idea so that's another kind of way of bringing people together could you just talk a little bit about that do you think they were good idea absolutely I'm actually an official buddy to free people with in mind I volunteered to be a buddy when we had new starters coming in in a newly formed well non restructured department I'm then also buddy within policy and campaigns or Awards apartment we have an officer who doesn't work within my team so that was just about kind of sharing you know my expertise in terms of Polish in campaigns and then offering support outside of the lie management structure and then a colleague in another department approached me when they became promoted when they were promoted to a manager and said oh can I come to you with some you know with any issues I think you know peer support and body systems are really really important because it's about maximizing and utilizing the skills and experience that you have and for anybody of dealing with a work issue someone else has faced it and they'll have a good tip so I think they're really useful and you can make them as as formal and informal as you as you like it I think it's about you know again offering a range of ways okay Eugene um we've got so we've got face to face food buddies how how do you think where's the role of HR in getting these conversations going and particularly it might be easier to work to improve mental well-being but inevitably people come to HR when something's going wrong so what is the how do we get the role of HR in terms of supporting my managers right and tom has asked that one of his colleagues is feeling out of control and stressed but they feel they can't talk to Ally manager about it what can we get in a child due to health it's going to stuff such as HR professionals get stuck in the middle of that don't know they do indeed ant and I'd agree with you they're a place where problems are brought to be resolved and the role of line management is really important and I'm trying to hear that somebody can't feel that they can talk to alone management that's something definitely for an organization to work on to ensure that the people feeling empowered and able to have that conversation in the workplace particularly with their line management but I think you know when when these situations are existing then HR has a role you might want to look at how you can support people with their occupational health service for example it's a good place to bring people to and to help them or if they have an Employee Assistance Program that might be a good suggestion that they can confidentially go and and seek some support if those don't exist in HR can champion the role in too I get those into the workplace to support the organization and and help move those forward as well as training line managers but it's a really really important role in training line managers beyond their technical ability – they're more softer skills so that employees feel yes I can talk to my line manager my line manager understands and I manage my line manager will do something to help me and support me and in this kind of circumstance would you encourage do you think HR teams should play a role in bringing the employee and the line manager together or is that we should don't be supporting the line manager to make that first step how do you get that thing I think that's a really important part of the organization that is you know empowering the line manager and helping them with their skills to do that and and I would I would suggest that yeah bring them both together support the line manager to support me to the employee but not necessarily take that situation over so that then the line managers not doing that role and it's not really learning by doing that particular type of support they can be supportive for this one almost like a buddy like you were talking about and then they'll feel more confident to support them the next situation that they see and the other kind of tool in the toolkit for HR staff is often the idea of a reasonable adjustment being able to offer staff a reasonable adjustment somebody has a mental health problem qualifies for that yeah what wins reasonable reasonable that's always a difficult one to measure I think that organizations need to look at what the employee can do not what they can't do and start from that and move forward and do everything in their power in terms of reasonableness the test of reasonableness is is very difficult you can't say really maybe definitely what's reasonable but the organization doesn't have to change everything so the employer doesn't need to feel threatened and the employee actually can feel having a dialogue about what I can do and what will work for me and having that two-way conversation will enable a reasonable adjustment to happen that both parties can be happy with and that plays in doesn't it you know Jonathan's point about um you know accentuating it focusing on the positive what people can do Emma we've got sure we've got some examples of good quality reasonable adjustments mental health yeah I mean it's it's they can be really simple and very individual I mean I know one person who experienced anxiety who just said to a boss I really need you to say thank you after I do something and to smile at me and say good morning because if you don't I worry I've done something wrong someone else who took there at their lunch break in 3 20 minutes slots over the day so they could take time to manage them into health and take time out when they were feeling a bit under pressure so again they're really cost effective but it's just having that conversation some people also when they're feeling under pressure can find it hard to prioritize their workload so I know that when I'm feeling a little bit under it my manager will put in place fortnightly catch ups in between our monthly catch ups and there'll be a kind of kind of doctor surgery what is anything you're finding challenging can I support with this right you know and she can help me kind of action through some of those things so there's things like that they're really really useful and really effective great so that and that was Tony's question asking about how how you can help start with reasonable adjustments and that also links to the initial conversation about mental health and how do you start to talk about it in the workplace I mean Jonathan do you talk openly about mental health you talk about well-being or do you are you talking are you really you know using different language some of the to encourage people to think about this well we we believe that there doesn't need to be a divide between the workplace and the home so it's there for any conversation that an employee has with somebody else maybe their manager or another colleague can be it can be a personal conversation can tackle difficult issues and we actually made sure that no one manager looked after more than six people within the business in order to make sure that everybody has the space and the time to take onboard the challenges that their team is face and and we look at ways when somebody does bring a challenge to us that might relate to depression or stress or or any other mental illness and that we find the best people to help them work through that challenge quite often personal trainer Joe that his background is not just in personal training within gyms but it's in personal development as well so he very much act as a well-being champion within the business super buddy and yeah because often it's it's much feel safer for somebody to go to somebody outside of their own department to talk about their challenges rather than bring them up within that environment however we've created environment where every manager is receptive to that we actually psychometric test everybody that comes into the business and in terms of managers we look for people with an incredibly high caring gene we don't managers in our business wouldn't make it another businesses but and as a manager because they may not be demonstrative or loud or pushy enough in some ways but they care about their teams of the nurture them well no I was just gonna say that Oh to actually will support staff with developing an action plan when they're dealing with a home issue so they take quite a list if you it's not then for the line manager to you know act upon it but it's to then support the person because obviously home issues can have an impact on work issues so they take quite quite a positive approach to that what a great question from Jamaal here he says a line manager at my workplace has started to performance manage one of her staff that member of staff has now told her that she's been feeling really stressed what should we do Eugene well that's a that's a really good question that for an employee when they're being performance managed it is stressful you know there's a much more focus on what they're doing there's much more focus on how they're doing things and that can feel a very kind of pressure point at that particular moment in time I think it's important for that for the line manager to understand that and to set out very clearly what the expectations look like for the individual how those are going to be met and so that's very open and very transparent and also to understand that the employees kind of feel anxious is going to feel stressed about this and maybe you know as part of that management is to give them that little bit of space to allow them just to be able to work in the way that they're going to work but be realistic about what can be done and what can't be done and and make it very very clear with with very clear kind of points along the way so that the milestones can be measured and the employees got things to aim for and things to work towards but don't feel so great you know that it's a huge big thing to change that it's it's a series of steps to get to where they need to get to not one huge thing which can become overwhelming and there's a balance isn't there between the quality of the policy and the quality of the line manager and really getting that right a good policy and good line management to to provide that right kind of balance yeah the policy kind of sets the rules as maybe to how you can follow but how that how those are done and how the manager might implement that and work with it you know in a good organization that have quite a lot of really leeway to achieve what they need to do and to support the employee and that's not about you know getting rid of employees from the workplace that's about making sure that their performance is the right performance for that organization and it's got to be better for them and the organization in the long term also I mean from the question it's not clear if they were experiencing some stress or pressure before the performance management started and I think sometimes poor performance and experiencing a mental health problem the lines can get blurred so I'd want to also explore if this was an issue that led to the under performance and then it's about looking at what support you can put in place to offset that so then you can also look at you know their performance as well and you must have employment and performance issues in UK fast occasionally yes we do and but I suppose we look at it a slightly different way first of all I totally agree that transparency and a very positive way of looking at how to improve that person's performance is the key to making it work but we have a philosophy that you get the right people on the bus and then you can move them into different positions so actually if somebody's not performing in a particular role it might be that that role just doesn't inspire them enough for them they've they've hit their challenges there and they want a new challenge so we're constantly looking at ways to to move people around business there are people in the company who joined six or seven years ago and have had six or seven roles within the business and they may not necessarily be promotions they may be just a different change of perspective a fresh new look at a different skill but something that helps them to keep developing I think the biggest performance issues happen when people start to feel stagnant and they don't feel as though they're developing themselves we're coming towards the end of this webinar so thank you very much indeed for all the questions that you've submitted and I'm going to put our panel on warning to answer Daniels question as a last question which is what you what would you say are the top tactics employers can use to create a mentally healthy workplace and how can a child take the lead on this so I'd like the panel to have a quick think about that but before I ask them to – to answer this and if you if we haven't been able to get to your question and please do email them in to work at mind dot uk' and in addition to that you might like to take advantage of a number of these additional forms of help and support including quite a wide range of free resources that are available on our website and if there are issues that you might want to raise or find out more about then our e-newsletter is going to be providing you and many hundreds of people already signed up for it with hints and tips throughout the year in terms of how you can improve your business's workplace in the context of mental well-being and positive mental health and of course huge them as the issues that we just haven't had a time to get to this this afternoon but you'll be able to find lots more of that on the website and through the e-newsletter in addition to that if there's any issue where you're not sure about a particular mental health issue or the nature of it the minds website is a hugely valuable source of information about different mental health issues about what what what rights and entitlements you might have both from an employer and an employee point of view and we know that particularly this environment that that's something that often can act both as a as a help but also can sometimes be seen as a barrier in in terms of really progressing a positive mentally healthy workplace and mentally healthy environment so back to the panel for some last thoughts Jonathan your top tactics okay well I would say that HR or poor people as we prefer to call it the they're the guardians of the culture so they're the people who are most responsible for making sure that people live their business life in the way that they're similar and symbiotic within the whole company so I think core values are one of the crucial ways to do that and I think if a business doesn't have a set of core values whether they're aspirational or truly all embedded within the business and then integrate them core values of being supportive passionate professional dynamic and innovative and within that one of the crucial ones fall from melton or mental illness is supportive and a wimple or on that basis and we promote internally that people should support everyone within the company and I think you can gear your core values towards adding support in well-being I'm a top tactic absolutely I was going to say workplace culture because you can have policies in place if they're not enacted they might as well not be there if you want to ask about mental health and people aren't comfortable speaking you won't know what the issues are so for me culture is everything and it's a child's world to normalize it to get it on the agenda to review it have action plans and so on and so forth and really support line managers on a day to day basis so yeah absolutely it's key UG well I'm gonna go with line managers and I'm gonna go with education and training actually if there's a lot of misinformation about mental health and stigma still exists and I think if line managers understand mental health more understand what to look for and how to support people then they're going to be much better placed to have a mentally healthy workplace so there you have it some tactics and top tips from our panel but also some really helpful ideas about how to create more mentally healthy workplaces I think this has been a really interesting and helpful very much like to thank all of you who have contributed to to this webinar and we're very much looking forward to seeing your feedback and if you want to share this webinar indeed the one that we held last week please do do email it ran to colleagues this webinar will be available in a couple of hours time for future viewing and we're very keen to ensure that some of the messages reach as many people as possible so please do that that's that's absolutely free of charge and we hope that the messages can reach far and wide you wouldn't necessarily thought that in a conversation about mental health in the workplace we would have had so many references to fun but I think one of the key messages that I take it out from this this session is that there are many ways in which positive mental well-being in the workplace can make a huge difference both to the productivity and to the effectiveness of the organization but also it creates the right climate the right environment for those people who may be encountering mental health problems to be able to thrive in in that positive working environment so thank you very much indeed for joining us thank you to our panelists this afternoon and we very much look forward to hearing from you over the next few months thank you very much

2 thoughts on “Mind webinar: 'HR policies for improving mental wellbeing and employee engagement'

  1. I have long term depression and anxiety after being suspended for 19 months, when suspension was lifted. Although many components had changed within my role., I was supported by given stack of materials to retain, and shadow others .x3 attempts to get back to my role I relapsed due to not being heard with regards to my needs ( adaquateTraining and development). Informed get better first and we will discuss how they can support me….confusing as I have given detailed information of exactly that,but not heard. After my x3 attempts to get back to a role I loved. Just tick box exercise. Never been sick in my life ever, my attendance complimentary,never given a warning, until I was suspedended,after complaining about my manager …leaves a bad taste.

  2. This is excellent as a civil servant with fluctuations in mental health I think Dhr inappropriate government offices should watch the video.

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