This week, organisations across the country will be recognising Mental Health Awareness Week and Hays is urging others in the industry to better support the mental health needs of staff.
According to the mental health and wellbeing charity Mind, approximately 1 in 6 people of working age will be affected by a mental health condition in any given week. With awareness of its prevalence and impact increasing year on year, it is an issue that employers should look to address openly and sensitively.
Hays recently invested in supporting a group of Hays employees to take part in a mental health first aid training course run by AXA in conjunction with Mental Health First Aid England. The course aimed to help the group to identify, understand and help colleagues who might be struggling with or developing mental ill-health.
The mental health first aid course was the first step for Hays in developing a network of mental health first aiders across the UK&I business. This week a number of initiatives are taking place in Hays offices across the UK to build awareness of positive mental health practices and Hays is hosting a webinar to help offer practical advice to clients too.
Trisha Brookes, Director of People & Culture at Hays UK&I, commented:
“As a business we cannot claim to be experts in mental health and wellbeing, however we are certainly making steps to better support the needs of our employees. The introduction of our mental health first aiders will help towards spotting early signs in the workplace, and to help us feel more confident about signposting people to the help and support they need to aid their recovery. We’ve also introduced a wellbeing newsletter, financial wellbeing support, a new benefits scheme and new flexible working initiatives to help improve mental health and wellbeing at Hays.
It’s important that as an industry we can better assist the needs of our employees. Recruitment is a fantastic industry to work in, but it can also be a pressured sales environment. It may be small steps initially, such as talking more about mental health and what’s available to help, or ensuring managers have access to training in order to better spot signs of mental ill health. We can all do more to encourage positive mental health practices within our businesses.”
Hays also recognises the importance in committing to mental health and wellbeing when attracting and retaining quality talent. According to the Hays What Workers Want 2018 report, 73% of prospective candidates will only consider applying to organisations that have a public commitment to Equality, Diversity & Inclusion.
Barney Ely, Director of Hays Human Resources commented:
“Emphasising your commitment to creating an inclusive culture during your first point of contact with a potential candidate, and ensuring you deliver on it once they are an employee helps ensure your workforce feel valued, supported and able to be honest about how they are feeling.
From the offset you should make it clear that any mental health issue they wish to discuss will be treated with respect and understanding, not intolerance. Implementing this culture change may be something of a lengthy process, but as openness about the subject becomes more commonplace staff will find it easier to be honest about their mental health, meaning that problems can be identified and help sought much more quickly.”