Posted on 21/03/2019 by Tracey George MIRP
We were delighted to welcome back Lara Roche from The Talent Sphere on Thursday 14th March for our first HR breakfast seminar of 2019 on how HR can use resilience to help overcome the workplace mental health challenge. We were joined by over 50 HR professionals from non-profit organisations at the Little Ship Club, with beautiful views of the Thames.
Lara discussed the difference between lifetime and non-permanent mental health conditions and shared NHS statistics on the prevalence of mental health conditions in the general population. Sadly, the reality is probably a lot worse than these statistics suggest, as many people struggle on their own with mental health issues and never go on to seeking support from their GP’s or other mental health services.
In the corporate sector pressure comes in the form of ultimately trying to increase sharehold value/profit, but in the third sector the pressures are often very different and are more closely linked with the impact of social change or to find cures for illnesses for example. These issues are more complex and can often be highly emotive which can increase stress levels significantly.
70 million UK work days will be lost this year due to mental health, resulting in productivity implications. Many people will avoid reporting mental health as the reason for a sick day. HR need to find a way to reduce the likelihood, minimise intensity and the duration of mental health challenges.
It has been proven that resilience is not a permanent personality trait and that people can learn to improve their resilience through the use of thoughts, actions and behaviours. Lara discussed how organisations can put together a strategy for resilience which includes, enabling leaders, coaching, training, individual and organisational health.
By training and coaching staff, it can empower them, enabling them to tackle challenging situations in the workplace. By giving leaders training it can help them feel in control, which in turn will reduce stress.
Many organisations have some kind of wellbeing strategy to promote work life balance, this needs to be flexible and not a one size fits all approach (eg gym membership.) You should ensure you are measuring uptake of any initiatives and give staff a framework in which to use it. Eg if you offer gym membership but expect staff to work long hours and don’t offer flexible working, then uptake will be low.
Organisations could also form a culture or wellbeing committee and offer battery boost sessions or incentives that cater for everyone, eg, not always down time in the pub after work, vary the sessions for all, these do not have to be costly.