Are line managers properly equipped to support workplace wellbeing?
According to research from The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and Management Today, line managers are not being given enough support to protect employees’ mental health and wellbeing at work.
The survey of more than 400 employees and managers found that while employers are already required by law to provide advice or training on health and safety, only 31% of line managers say they feel they have been sufficiently trained to recognise poor mental health in their direct reports.
The poll also found that 57% said their organisation offers no mental health and wellbeing training or support for managers and among those that are offered training, 79% said it was optional.
With 80% of employees saying they feared colleagues’ negative perceptions or being seen as incapable in their role if they highlighted their mental health concerns, it is clear that organisations need to work harder to build a culture of acceptance around workplace mental health.
Reviewing the survey outcomes, IOSH, said: “Our findings evidence that much more work needs to be done from the top. Organisations need to take a more proactive approach to building and maintaining a positive, supportive workplace culture – early action can make a vast amount of difference in helping avert any issues or nip them in the bud before they escalate. Businesses also need to work hard to break down the taboos surrounding mental health and create more open lines of communication. They need to support their managers to fulfil their role by equipping them with the skills and knowledge to promote positive mental health, but without placing unrealistic expectations on them.”
This latest survey from IOSH reinforces research from The Chartered Institute of Management, published last month, which found that nearly half of managers have never received training on managing mental health in the workplace and less than a third have received training in the last twelve months.
UK EAPA chair, Eugene Farrell, said: “Clearly, the first step in addressing this issue is to ensure that all line managers receive training in how to manage mental health in the workplace. But there is also a vital, often overlooked, second step, which is about ensuring that line managers continue to receive proper support and coaching, after the initial training, to enable them to deliver their role and better support their direct reports. EAPs are ideal vehicles to provide this through its managerial support service, and at the same time will ensure that all services available to employees are linked together.”