In January 2017 the Prime Minister commissioned an independent review called The Stevenson/Farmer review into how employers can better support the mental health of all people currently in employment. The report was published in October 2017 and we’ve put together the reviews’ highlights and suggestions here.
While there was a large section about the role of the public sector organisations in supporting their employees (and of the role of Industry groups, trade unions, professional bodies, workplace regulators), we only focus here on recommendations for SME’s.
How does poor mental health display itself during employment:
- Sickness absence: Mental health is one of the greatest causes of sickness absence in the UK. While the overall rate of sickness absence has fallen by 15%-20% since 2009, absence due to mental health reasons in this period has actually risen by around 5%.
- Presenteeism: Presenteeism is defined as showing up to work when one is ill, resulting in a loss of productivity and sometimes making an individual’s condition worse.
- Limiting progression: Employees tend to perceive that having a mental health condition could hamper their progression: 35% of people think they would be less likely to get promoted if they had depression, resulting in a loss of diversity and skills throughout organisations.
- Impact on wider workforce: people not being supported with their mental health by their employers can have a knock on effect on other members of teams/organisations if problems are left un-managed e.g. if someone isn’t supported with the right adjustments to stay in work, they may need to take time off, meaning other team members have increased workload. There are also turnover costs from the recruitment and training new employees when someone is off sick from work or leaves the organisation.
- Impact on employee turnover: An employee may leave their employer if they feel unable to continue at that organisation due to poor mental health or the impact of work on mental wellbeing. There will be costs to the employer of finding a new employee and making them fully effective.