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Are line managers properly equipped to support workplace wellbeing?

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

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.”

UK EAPA elects new Chair, Eugene Farrell

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

UK EAPA elects new Chair, Eugene Farrell

The UK Employee Assistance Professionals Association is pleased to confirm the election of Eugene Farrell as its new Chair.

The election took place last week at the Association’s Annual General Meeting, held at the Health & Wellbeing at Work conference on 5 March 2019. Speaking on his election, Eugene, who is the Mental Health Lead at AXA PPP healthcare, said:

“There has never been a time where mental health has been talked about and promoted as much as it is now. EAP’s have a very important role to play in the promotion and support of mental health in the workplace and are a key component of mental wellbeing for many organisations.

“It is a challenging time too, with growing awareness creating greater demand upon wellbeing services and their delivery. Workplace demographics are changing with increasing numbers of young professionals joining the workforce. Having grown up using the internet, mobile devices and social media, they expect to be able to access support services via mobile apps and web-based platforms as well as more traditional routes.

“I am looking forward to working with the Board to continue establishing UK EAPA as the voice for the EAP industry, by demonstrating the value and return of EAP programmes and promoting the role of EAP’s in the workplace.”

A full report on the new Board and the recent AGM will be made available to members in the coming weeks.

New ROI tool removing barriers to employer workplace health promotion

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

New ROI tool removing barriers to employer workplace health promotion

The final report from the Institute of Employment Studies (IES) on Designing and Testing a Return on Investment Tool for EAPs has now been published and is available to download from the UK EAPA website.

Created by the IES on behalf of UK EAPA, the tool responds to a lack of evidence for the cost-effectiveness of workplace health initiatives, as identified by the Stevenson-Farmer, Thriving At Work report.

An interim study report highlights that, despite evidence of the business case for investment in employee mental health promotion, previous data have not sufficiently related to the conditions of UK small- and medium-sized businesses – data are from large businesses in the United States.

Therefore, this tool aims to capture data of sufficient quality to demonstrate cost-effectiveness and workforce health benefits. IES drew on analysis from the field of human capital to calculate reliably the organisational productivity gains associated with improved wellbeing as a result of the use of EAPs.

In order to estimate the direct and indirect costs of sickness absence to an employer, the tool adds realism to cost estimates borne from the human capital approach, by making assumptions about the balance between direct and indirect costs.

Early indications from the data collected from the tool suggest that the ROI of EAPs is positive, even with lower absence and utility figures. IES will publish core findings of the study later in 2019.

IES Research Fellow and co-author of the report, Zofia Bajorek, commented: “There is a wealth of evidence available to suggest that the health and wellbeing of the workforce is important to focus on, yet the personal and financial costs of poor mental health for individuals and their employers suggest that more needs to be done to help those with mental health problems at work. In this context, it is important to ensure that health and wellbeing interventions should be evidence-based to be of greatest value to organisations.”

Neil Mountford, Chair of EAPA, commented: “While EAPs are among the most commonly used wellbeing interventions in the UK with close to half of the workforce (a total of almost 14 million) having access to an EAP, very few providers or employers have been able to collect data beyond basic take-up and satisfaction surveys.

“Data from the first users of the tool have shown that EAPs have a significantly positive return-on-investment in terms of organisational, as well as individual, outcomes. As we gather more data from EAP providers, IES will be able to further develop the tool and provide more in-depth analysis of financial outcomes – meaning increasing levels of credibility for the figures and their use with senior management and for wellbeing strategy investment.”

New guidance on Mental Health First Aid in the workplace

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

New guidance on Mental Health First Aid in the workplace

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England has this week launched best-practice guidance for employers and employees on implementing Mental Health First Aid in the workplace.

This follows the HSE’s recent enhancement of its First Aid guidance to clarify the existing need to consider mental health alongside physical health when undertaking a first aid needs assessment. It now states that employers should ‘consider ways to manage mental ill health in your workplace which are appropriate for your business, such as providing information or training for managers and employees, employing occupational health professionals, appointing mental health trained first aiders and implementing employee support programmes.

Developed in consultation with leading employers, the new guidance provides information on strategically embedding MHFA England training. It includes advice on the recruitment, promotion and support of staff trained in Mental Health First Aid as part of a whole systems approach to workplace mental health.

Alongside this, strengthened guidance on the role of the person trained in Mental Health First Aid skills has also been published to support employees. This covers the boundaries and responsibilities of those qualified at different levels; as Mental Health First Aiders, Mental Health First Aid Champions and Mental Health Aware.

Together the new guidance documents are designed to support employers of all shapes and sizes in acting on the HSE’s recommendation. According to the regulator, 15.4 million working days are lost due to mental ill health every year, and with its updated guidance, there’s now a need for employers across all sectors to understand how Mental Health First Aid training should be implemented in the workplace.

To date over 15,000 organisations across the country have trained staff in MHFA England courses using it as a way to ensure their first aid provision protects both the mental and physical health of their employees.

Andrew Kinder, UK EAPA executive board member, said: “EAPA supports this initiative from Mental Health First Aid England to fill the gap that the HSE identified regarding the ongoing support and supervision needs of MH First Aiders. It is vitally important that MH First Aiders receive proper support to deliver their role following their initial training. EAPs are ideal vehicles to provide this and at the same time will ensure that all services available to employees are linked together.”

Download the new guidance for employers at: www.mhfaengland.org/mhfa-centre/resources/for-workplaces/implementing-mhfa-employer-guide  

The enhanced guidance for Mental Health First Aiders can be found at: www.mhfaengland.org/mhfa-centre/resources/for-workplaces/mhfa-guide-to-your-role

EAPA supports mental Health and Wellbeing event in Barcelona

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in Events, News

EAPA supports Mental Health and Wellbeing event, 8-10 April 2019, Barcelona

UK EAPA is delighted to be supporting the marcus evans Mental Health and Wellbeing: Impact on Business conference, taking place 8-10 April in Barcelona. The event explores the importance of having a wellbeing strategy in place to make a difference to overall performance, employee engagement and safety.

Building on marcus evans’ very successful HSE events’ series, this latest conference will discuss mental health and wellbeing in more detail. The event brings together health and wellbeing directors from around the world and the speaker line-up includes:

  • Dr. Shaun Davis, Global Director of Safety , Health, Wellbeing & Sustainability, Royal Mail Group
  • Dr. Mahua Ganguly, Group Employee Health Manager, Nestlé
  • Marie-Louise Chandler, Head of Quality, Health, Safety and Wellbeing, NATS
  • Dr. Judith Grant, Director of Health and Wellbeing, Mace Group
  • Dr. Claire Douglas, Head of Quality, Health, Safety and Wellbeing, SCS Railways
  • Wessel Drent, Manager Occupational Health Europe, Asia & International, LyondellBasell
  • Matthew Rae, Director, Safety and Wellbeing, Vodafone

Attending this event will enable you to:

  • Discuss the right recipe for implementing a well-being programme
  • Embed well-being into the operating model of your organisation
  • Explore mental health first aid and discuss what it takes for it to work
  • Develop evidence-based solutions in fatigue management
  • Prepare your organisation to adapt to the impact of new technologies and work-life habits

As a supporter of the event, EAPA is pleased to be able to extend a discounted rate to all EAPA members who may be interested in attending the event.

You can register HERE using code: BS167-EAP.

Getting evidence on good mental health ROI

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

Getting evidence on good mental health ROI

While support for employee mental health and wellbeing generally has become the norm, there’s still a lack of hard evidence of ROI – limiting investment and making the HR approach look woolly. We’ve reached the stage where depression and anxiety is talked about, out in the open rather than dealt with behind closed doors, and people are more able to be people, not forced to adopt a rigid employee persona.

According to the Government’s Thriving at Work report, the cost of poor mental health among employees is costing employers between £33 and £42 billion. UK employers bear much of the burden of the costs of ill-health in general, chronic disease and incapacity, and HR need to have a better grasp of which particular interventions help them mitigate against these costs. In other words, talking about new attitudes to mental health, providing yoga sessions and free fruit, may feel the right thing to do, but there need to be hard numbers on Return on Investment.

There’s been some research on the ROI of some workplace health interventions over the last 30 years. But much of it originates in the USA where employers bear significant healthcare costs and have a direct financial interest in improving workforce health and promoting early intervention. The more reliable research includes a study by the large US insurance firm insurance firm LifeSolutions which found a return of between $5.17 and $6.47 (in terms of increased work productivity) for each dollar spent on the EAP. An academic study involving work with the Australian Fire Service found that mental health training for managers led to real impact on work-related absence and an ROI of £9.98 for each pound spent; while the Government’s Thriving at Work highlighted a significant return for employers investing in mental health interventions: an average of £4.20 for every £1 (with a range up to £9).

And while EAPs are the most commonly used workforce health intervention in the UK with close to half of the workforce (a total of almost 14 million) having access, very few providers or employers are able to collect systematic evaluation data beyond ‘take-up’ or utilisation statistics and satisfaction surveys. To help bridge this gap, EAPA launched the EAP calculator in October last year. Independently developed by the Institute of Employment Studies (IES), this new tool can be used by HR professionals to estimate the value of their EAP investment. Since the launch, there are now 529 users with the average return on investment calculated at £10.44 per £1 investment.

The more the calculator is used, the richer the dataset becomes. In turn this data can be used to revise and update the methodology, building the rigour and realism of the figures put forward to senior executives in boardrooms. There’s then a clear basis for investment in more specific mental health initiatives for employees. And over time, as the UK dataset grows and the anonymous data is collated and analysed, there is the detail needed for organisations and HR teams to benchmark returns and value against comparative employers in their sector and region.

The web tool available here and is available to everyone. We encourage EAPA members to try the EAP calculator and share with their clients to help build the data available. The full calculator has more detail, variables and greater intricacy and can handle employers with over 15,000 employees. Plans are underway to make the full calculator available in the coming months and we will keep members updated as this progresses.

Celebrating Anastasia Rush

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

Celebrating Anastasia Rush

I am writing on behalf of UK EAPA to express our deep sadness at the passing of our colleague Anastasia Rush of Hellas EAP in Greece.

Anastasia was one of the great figures of our industry and a true pioneer who brought EAP to Greece and whose drive and passion for mental health helped advance the development of the industry across Europe. As well as being a clinician she was a formidable businesswoman and a real force to be reckoned with. Those of us who encountered Anastasia, often during one of the European or U.S. conferences, will have fond memories of great times spent in the company of an indomitable and inspirational character. The positive impact that EAP continues to have on thousands of lives in Greece and beyond is a tribute to her personal philosophy and will serve as a fitting legacy.

Our thoughts are with Anastasia’s friends, family and colleagues at this time.

Neil Mountford, Chair, UK EAPA

New research from Aon shows debt, relationship breakup and bullying are the top employer concerns about employee mental health

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

New research from Aon shows debt, relationship breakup and bullying are the top employer concerns about employee mental health

Aon, the global professional services firm, polled employers online and during a recent seminar where Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind and co-author of the government’s Thriving at Work report presented his findings. Of the 92 employers surveyed, 39 stated that money and debt were their biggest concerns for employee mental health, 27 said divorce and separation, and 26 said bullying and harassment was the biggest issue.

Loneliness is also a factor in today’s workplaces, with 22 employers highlighting it as a factor. Working carers, bereavement, technology, home/lone working and the menopause are also of concern. The poll enabled employers to highlight other mental health issues. These were addiction, which eight employers noted as an issue, along with gender, sexuality and race.

Aon has also published a paper, The Contemporary Drivers of Mental Health, showing the issues that can contribute to or cause poor employee mental health. It details how understanding and addressing concerns with a broader, more comprehensive approach is required to help prevent issues from occurring, detecting any problems early on, providing rapid interventions and supporting employees who have longer-term issues.

Charles Alberts, head of health management at Aon and EAPA executive board member, said: “There are many drivers of poor mental health both in and out of work and because mental health has a dynamic nature, employees will have different levels of mental health at any given time. Some of these issues may be newly identified and therefore not yet fully considered by employers; others may be taboo, exacerbating the original personal issue and creating a culture of silence that can be more difficult to tackle.”

Beyond the effects of poor mental health on the individual, mental health is a significant issue for businesses. It can increase presenteeism and absence, negatively impact productivity, morale and engagement, amounting to an average cost per employee of between £1,205 and £1,560 per year, according to Deloitte. This cost is for all employees, not just those who are ill.

“It is not difficult to see why so many people may be impacted by poor mental health. Relate research, for instance, shows that 18% of relationships are in a distressed state at any one time1. Relationship failure is second only to bereavement as a cause of mental distress. Of concern, too, are the 1 in 9 people in the UK who currently combine work with caring responsibilities for elderly relatives. By 2040, when the 65 and over age bracket will account for 25% of the population, that 1 in 9 is projected to be 1 in 6, according to Eldercare. The issue is even more daunting for those tasked with caring for elderly parents alongside children – the so-called ‘sandwich generation’ of approximately 2.4 million people in the UK,” added Charles.

“Within any organisational demographic there will be thriving workers, struggling workers and those with mental illness, so interventions are needed such as designing a positive, open and supportive culture around mental health and mitigating any psychosocial risks in the workplace itself. EAPs can play an important role in supporting an organisation’s mental health strategy, both in terms of ensuring early detection of mental ill health, as well as providing access to treatment and services to support recovery,” he said.

 

EAPA UK AGM 2019

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in Events, News

EAPA UK AGM 2019

EAPA UK is pleased to announce that, for the eighth year running, it will be participating in the annual Health and Wellbeing at Work event which will take place on 5-6 March 2019. As in past years, we will be exhibiting, contributing to the speaker programme and also hosting the UK EAPA AGM at this event.

Health and Wellbeing at Work is all about improving the health and wellbeing of work-aged people. The conference will explore a wide range of issues and includes a focus on national developments, service innovations, examples of best practice and latest research.

UK EAPA chair, Neil Mountford will be leading a debate on Wednesday 6 March at 11.05 as part of the Mental Health stream on how occupational health and EAPs can respond to the new NICE guidelines for depression. Past chair and EAPA executive board member, Andrew Kinder will also be speaking on Wednesday 6 March at 14.50 on the topic of bereavement, loss and grief within the workplace as part of the Emotional Wellbeing and Resilience stream. Click here to view the full programme.

The UK EAPA AGM will also take place at 5.15pm on Tuesday 5 March and we hope as many of our members as possible will be able to attend. More information on the AGM will be provided in due course.

In the meantime, registration for the event is now open. Register before 15 January to receive the super early bird rate.

 

Mental health affecting nine in 10 workers

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

Mental health affecting nine in 10 workers

Research published last week by management consultancy firm, Accenture has found that two thirds (66%) of UK workers report having had a personal experience with mental ill health. This rose to 85% when individuals were asked if someone close to them had experienced mental health issues and 90% said they had been “touched by mental health challenges”.

It is encouraging that 82% felt more able to talk about such issues than they did a few years previously and that more than a quarter (27%) of respondents said they’d seen a positive change in employees speaking openly about mental health. However, 61% have not spoken to anyone at work about their mental health and 51% believe raising concerns about it might have a detrimental effect on their career.

“It’s clear that mental health is not a minority issue; it touches almost all employees and can affect their ability to perform at work and live life to the fullest,” said Barbara Harvey, a managing director and UK mental health lead for Accenture.

“This latest research highlights the need for employers to proactively manage mental health in the workplace by changing the organisational culture to be more open and supportive. EAPs are an important part of the mental health toolkit and can play a crucial role in addressing issues early before they escalate to a more serious level. We encourage employers to put in place an ongoing promotional strategy that showcases the services and support available to all employees through an EAP rather than it being seen as a safety net to help those when they have reach the point of being unable to cope,” said Neil Mountford, chair, EAPA UK.

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