In 2018, 26.8 million working days were lost to work-related ill health according to Health and Safety Executive figures. Stress, depression and anxiety were among the highest contributors to workplace absence.
Today’s ‘In the Loop’ looks in more detail at absence-related issues.
Happier staff means bigger profits
As a small- to medium-sized business owner, you know as well as I do the impact that repeated absences can have on your business’s continuity and profitability. When your workforce is smaller, any absence has a disproportionate effect on performance.
Good employers should want their employees to enjoy what they do. They should want them to want to come to work every morning.
Anne Mulcahy, the former CEO of Xerox, summed it up well: “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person—not just an employee—are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.”
Your duty of care
Their welfare isn’t only your ethical obligation but it’s also your legal obligation, and employers are duty-bound to help their employees in this regard.
Work-related mental health issues must be assessed to measure the levels of risk to staff. Where such risks are identified, steps must be taken to reduce them.
As an employer, you must help not only manage and reduce stress by mitigating risk and improving conditions, but you must also make adjustments and help someone manage a mental health problem at work.
The Stevenson Farmer Report, ‘Thriving at Work’ (2017), was independently commissioned to review how employers can help their employees in this area.
It recommends core standards for employers to meet, including forming a ‘mental health at work’ plan, promoting communications and open conversations, raising awareness, reducing stigma and providing a mechanism for monitoring actions and outcomes.
The benefits of an EAP
One way to meet all these core standards and to help your employees in a proactive way is to offer your employees an Employee Assistance Programme, or EAP. I talk about this a lot. That’s because it works.
Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) are employee benefit programmes offered by many employers.
EAPs are intended to help employees deal with personal problems that might adversely impact their work performance, health and well-being. EAPs generally include assessment, short-term counselling and referral services for employees and their immediate family.
I’ve seen and heard about the positive outcomes of EAPs from my own employees, and we offer a programme to everyone at Peninsula. It reduces absenteeism significantly. It helps people work through their problems in a confidential way. It destigmatises mental health problems and offers a practical solution to those who may be struggling.
It makes a massive difference to my employees’ lives and it can to yours.
As for the cost, it works out at pennies per month per employee. It’s a win-win situation for both employer and employee.