Workplace Wellbeing in Ireland – Are you Supporting a colleague’s Mental Health?

A recent survey of 400 companies in the UK tells us that “74% of employees say that their mental health is impacting their career, but a third do not expect support at work.” Additionally, 64% of workers felt that they were responsible for supporting their colleagues mental well-being at work, but only 55% said they actually felt confident doing this.”

Organisations who don't put adequate resources in place to address employee mental health compound the existing mental health challenges of employees, by making them carry the additional burden of supporting each other's mental health.

We may all have different ideas about what adequate resources are when it comes to workplace wellbeing in Ireland, but surely these resources should not be piecemeal and should at a minimum:

·         Raise awareness of what mental health is and is not, across the organisation, so that it becomes something that people are not afraid to talk about

·         Get a measure of resilience and wellbeing at individual (confidential) and organisational levels so that the real issues can be addressed

·         Empower people to understand and therefore manage well, their own wellbeing, so that they can be engaged, contribute and flourish

·         Educate supervisors, managers and leaders to have the courageous conversations that are required to support another’s mental health

·         Put mental health on the workplace agenda and keep it there

Organisational responses to the current challenges of absenteeism, presenteeism, quiet quitting and unprecedented staff turnover, as well as a 25% increase in mental health conditions since COVID (WHO - March 2022) cannot be overcome by ‘Wellbeing Washing’ - paying lip service to employee and organisational wellbeing.  Inevitably though, their people will recognise when real efforts for wellbeing are made and they understand that the reality of a happy, engaged, healthy and creative workforce is infinitely better than the fakery involved in pretending to promote wellbeing.

Organisational culture and psychological safety are both important aspects to consider ahead of any wellbeing programme being implemented, not least because some programmes currently being offered can be limited in their impact. Secondly, the right resilience programme will help to address such things as culture and climate, as well as psychological safety and leadership approach to wellbeing.

Organisations who are considering resilience training should ask questions. How can you start to create a culture of wellbeing in your organisation? Can you measure resilience at individual level? Can you provide targeted coaching to optimise resilience for individuals? Does the organisation understand its impact on staff who are under strain, or, in crisis? Have you considered how culture impacts mental health across the organisation? How this impacts absenteeism etc.? Do you know what poor mental health is costing the organisation? Do you know that you can take a proactive approach and make data-led decisions – before your people are in strain, or, worse still, in crisis.

Do you know that putting in place a workplace wellbeing with measurable outputs can have tremendous impact for individuals and the organisation, not least the significant return on investment that results from implementing the right resilience programme for your organisation - a resilience programme based on evidence.

In my view, measurement is the foundation for any successful wellbeing initiative – an initiative that is data led and with meaningful, achievable, and measurable impacts.

It’s time for meaningful, evidence-based action.

Contact me to find out how I can support you in measuring and optimising resilience for your people.

Angela Gavigan