Industry news: Morneau Shepell acquires LifeWorks

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Industry news: Morneau Shepell acquires LifeWorks

It was announced earlier this week that Morneau Shepell Inc has completed its acquisition of LifeWorks Corporation Ltd.

Stephen Liptrap, President and Chief Executive Officer of Morneau Shepell Inc. said: “This acquisition brings together the best user experience and clinical support to achieve complete mental, physical, social and financial well-being for people everywhere.”

LifeWorks CEO, Jamie True will join Morneau Shepell as Chief Digital Officer, leading the strategy and development of the enterprise cloud-based platform.

Read the full press release here.

Employee Assistance Programmes are becoming an anywhere, anytime benefit

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Employee Assistance Programmes are becoming an anywhere, anytime benefit

Last week, UK EAPA chair, Neil Mountford wrote for the Reward and Employee Benefits Association (REBA) about the latest trends in EAP. In the article, Neil discusses how EAP continues to evolves to meet the changing needs of workplaces and employees and how this can make a real difference to performance.

“The biggest impact is in a re-positioning of how an EAP is used, away from the last resort for serious issues and concerns towards being a more everyday source of advice and support – less the counsellor and more a friendly colleague who has the right answers,” he explains.

The article highlights examples from EAPA members to demonstrate how this is working in practice such as Health Assured’s evolving Health e-Hub, which delivers support videos and webinars on demand; mini Health and Wellbeing checks; online Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and interactive engagement features like four week wellbeing challenges. These are all linked back to relevant EAP services as needed.

Another example is the LifeWorks app, which is based on the principle of prevention first. By being proactive in offering preventative check-up ‘life support’ services, a far higher proportion of staff initially sign up and begin to access the personalised ‘health coaching’ resources on offer.

Read the article in full here.

Line manager support is vital to workplace productivity for people with depression

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Line manager support is vital to workplace productivity for people with depression

According to new research from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), employees who work in an environment where managers feel comfortable to offer help and support with their depression are more productive and take less time off work.

Published in medical journal BMJ Open, the LSE’s research revealed that employees’ productivity levels improved by 6% when they were open about their depression at work. Researchers also found that their levels of absenteeism were reduced by as much as 11 days over 24 months.

The study examined depression in the workplace in 15 countries, including the UK, looking at the impact of manager reactions and support on absenteeism and presenteeism.

The researchers found that 53% of people in the UK reported that their manager had offered to help with their depression. Denmark had the most open managers, with only 2% of respondents saying that their manager had avoided the issue. In the UK this figure was 3%.

The LSE study cited separate research that found around 70% of people with mental illness, including depression, conceal their condition. Fear of stigma and discrimination in finding and keeping jobs contributed to this.

“As evidenced by this study, providing the right advice and support for employees with depression is vital,” said Neil Mountford, chair of UK EAPA. “More training for line managers will help with recognition of the early warning signs as well as improved signposting to support services such as EAPs, benefiting both the employee by ensuring they get the help they need and the employer, with fewer days lost to absence.”

Read more about the research study here.

New report shows failure to address sexual harassment in the workplace

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New report shows failure to address sexual harassment in the workplace

In a new report, the Women and Equalities Committee finds that the Government, regulators and employers are failing in their responsibilities to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace.

Following a wide-ranging six-month inquiry, the Committee finds that sexual harassment at work is widespread and commonplace but there has been a failure to tackle unlawful behaviours, despite the Government’s obligations under international law.

The Committee also added that employers and regulators have ignored their responsibilities for too long and often legal protections are not available to workers in practice.

40% of women and 18% of men have experienced unwanted sexual behaviour in the workplace according to a poll by ComRes for the BBC.

Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Maria Miller MP, said: “It is utterly shameful that in 2018, unwanted sexual comments, touching, groping and assault are seen as an everyday occurrence and part of the culture in many workplaces.”

The report calls on the Government to focus on five priorities to put sexual harassment at the top of the agenda for employers: a new duty on employers to prevent harassment, a requirement for regulators to take a more active role, making enforcement processes work better for employees, clean up the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), collection of more robust data on extent of sexual harassment in the workplace.

UK EAPA chair, Neil Mountford said: “It is of grave concern that this is still happening in the workplace and that affected employees are not receiving the help and support they need from their employer. It is clear from this latest report that employers need to take affirmative action to ensure policies and support are in place to demonstrate that sexual harassment will not be tolerated.

“There are also a number of ways employers can ensure support is available to their employees when they need it. Make sure that victims of any harassment know who they can talk to in confidence about the issues they are experiencing, whether it’s HR, their manager or by providing access to a 24/7 helpline, such as an employee assistance programme (EAP).”

Read the full report here.

EAPA supports the Mad World Summit, 9 October 2018

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in Events, News

EAPA supports the Mad World Summit, 9 October 2018

UK EAPA is delighted to be supporting the Mad World Summit, taking place on 9 October in London. Good mental health in the workplace is fundamental to business success and Mad World is playing a key role in this by putting mental health at the heart of the business agenda.

The focus of the event is about moving from stigma to solutions when it comes to workplace wellbeing and attendees will hear from an outstanding line up of speakers including:

  • Sir Ian Cheshire, Chairman, Barclays UK & Campaign Chair, Heads Together
  • Prof. Sir Cary Cooper CBE, 50th Anniversary Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester & President, CIPD
  • Professor Dame Carol Black, Principal, Newnham College & Expert Adviser to Public Health England & NHS England
  • Dr Charles Lattarulo, Global Director of Healthy Minds Program, American Express
  • Dr Shaun Davis, Global Director of Health, Safety, Wellbeing & Sustainability, Royal Mail Group
  • Dr Kai Haas, Managerial Occupational Physician/Health Management, Airbus
  • Mia VanStraelen, HR Director, IBM
  • Kimberley Swift, Health & Wellness Manager, PepsiCo
  • Becky Thoseby, Group Head of Wellbeing, Department for Transport (DfT)
  • Dr Pablo Vandenabeele, Medical Director – Mental Health, BUPA

The comprehensive agenda, which features keynote presentations, roundtables and networking opportunities, has been designed to benefit delegates in four ways:

  • Learn how to integrate mental health into existing wellbeing strategies
  • Gain inspiration from innovative leaders
  • Uncover the right solutions for your organisation
  • Share ideas and experiences with peers

“We are really pleased to be a part of Mad World. It’s vital that businesses have the right plans in place to support their employees and develop positive mental health throughout their workplaces. As partners of the summit, we can continue to raise awareness and understanding around the role EAPs can play in helping organisations to achieve this,” said Neil Mountford, chair of UK EAPA.

As a supporter of the event, EAPA is pleased to be able to extend a 30% discount on the delegate price to all EAPA members who may be interested in attending the event in October. Keep an eye out for a member update coming out soon with details of the discount code or email info@eapa.org.uk for the code should you wish to book sooner.

BiTC Mental Health at Work Survey 2018

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BiTC Mental Health at Work Survey 2018

Now in its third year, Business in the Community’s Mental Health at Work survey, in conjunction with Mercer, is the UK’s biggest survey of mental health at work. Everyone has mental health in the same way as everyone has physical health. Mental ill-health is one of the biggest public health challenges facing society and research shows that one in six workers are experiencing stress, depression or anxiety at any one time. Business in the Community want to find out how employers are supporting people in order to develop recommendations for business to improve.

The 2017 survey findings highlighted:

  • Three out of every five (60%) employees had experienced mental health issues due to work or where work was a related factor
  • 84% of managers accepted that employee wellbeing is their responsibility yet less than a quarter (24%) had received any training in mental health
  • Shockingly in 15% of cases where employees disclosed a mental health issue to a line manager, the employee subsequently became subject to disciplinary procedures, demotion or dismissal.

“UK EAPA welcomes and supports the BiTC Mental Health at Work survey and the insights it provides into how attitudes towards mental health in the work place are changing,” said Neil Mountford, chair, UK EAPA.  “EAP is a key resource and source of support on these issues which is available to an increasing number of employees and we would like to encourage our members to support and promote this year’s survey.”

The survey is open to anyone in the UK who is employed or self-employed and over the age of 16, all responses are anonymous and the survey can be completed at www.thewellbeingsurvey.org.uk.

The survey will close on 27 July with the report and recommendations due to be published in October.

The importance of promoting EAP services

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The importance of promoting EAP services

A US study published last week has revealed that the promotion of EAP services in the workplace has a significant and positive impact on overall EAP usage.

The study examined utilisation data from US EAP provider, KGA to explore the impact of different kinds of promotional activity on increasing and decreasing the use of EAP services. Analysts reviewed the utilisation records over a two-year period for 82 employers, with 150,000 total covered employees. Interviews were also conducted with HR managers which uncovered themes around the challenges to promotion and the potential tactics that could be most effective.

The analysis of 5,985 EAP cases found that promotional materials were the number one source of referral into the EAP, with one in three cases citing it.

“This latest study highlights the importance of an effective promotional strategy in driving user awareness and engagement with EAPs,” said Neil Mountford, Chair of UK EAPA. “We know from our members that employers who engage in regular EAP promotional activity, particularly online through webinars, email promotions and apps, can see a significant uplift in usage.”

“We urge employers to consult with their EAP provider and tap into their experience and expertise in creating promotional plans tailored to the needs of the organisation. EAP providers can also advise on which channels have been proven to work most effectively and can help develop the messaging around EAP promotion so that it addresses the specific priorities and concerns of their workforce,” he said.

“The more effort an organisation puts into promoting the EAP programme and driving engagement and utilisation, the better its data will be. This can provide valuable insights into how employees are feeling as well as point to early warning signs of recurring themes around physical or mental wellbeing and general workplace issues and ensures that the right areas are prioritised by the organisation. At a time when mental wellbeing is top of the HR agenda, there has never been a better time to look at EAPs and broaden perceptions around what it can do and how it can fit in with a wider wellbeing strategy.”

Collaborating to create healthier workplaces

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Collaborating to create healthier workplaces

Earlier this week, UK EAPA was pleased to welcome Nick Pahl, CEO of the Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) as the guest speaker at the June 2018 Branch Meeting. SOM is the UK organisation for all doctors and health professionals working in or with an interest in occupational health. During his presentation, Nick highlighted the work of SOM and some key issues facing the occupational health sector, sparking an insightful discussion around the areas where UK EAPA and SOM might collaborate to further educate practitioners, purchasers and the Government on the value and respective roles of EAPs and OH in contributing to healthier workplaces. Attendees also explored the ways in which the two organisations can better interface with one another to improve overall effectiveness for the sector.

During the meeting, there was also discussion of a possible joint approach to the Government’s Work and Health Unit which has been jointly sponsored by the Department of Work and Pensions and the Department of Health. Other issues raised included the need for further research to improve the evidence base, how EAPs and occupational health can work more preventatively and tax incentives for employers.

“I would like to thank Nick for joining us and engaging our members and their occupational health colleagues in a really interesting discussion around how we can work better together. We will be meeting again to work through some ideas for collaborative projects and will report back in due course,” said Neil Mountford, chair of UK EAPA.

The slides from Nick Pahl’s presentation will be made available via the EAPA website.

Q&A with Nick Pahl, CEO, Society of Occupational Medicine

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Q&A with Nick Pahl, CEO, Society of Occupational Medicine

Nick Pahl, CEO of the Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) will be our guest speaker at the branch meeting taking place next Tuesday 19 June. Here, Nick provides an insight into some of the key trends and developments in occupational health, particularly around mental health at work.

What are the key trends in the development of OH that are forecast over the next few years, particularly in the area of mental health?

Occupational health services cover around 50% of the UK’s population. I expect that coverage to increase, to cover more small and medium enterprises. This may be facilitated by new incentives that the Government will create following current policy activity in this area.

Considering the time it takes to train skilled professionals, I would expect this expansion to be facilitated via the use of lower skilled occupational health professionals, such as occupational health technicians. I also hope and expect that that there would be great emphasis on a multidisciplinary occupational health team using nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists and technicians, as well as doctors. This team will ideally link seamlessly with EAP providers and HR services.

Without doubt we will see greater use of IT, both in terms of hand held / smart phone records held by workers to assist with workplace health issues and, integration of occupational health IT activity with other employee support.

In terms of mental health, I unfortunately think that the rapid change in the “nature” of work will accelerate, with a response from workers in stress and anxiety as they perceive less control over their work and sense of purpose. There will also likely be a continued rise in the numbers of the “precariat” and people close to the poverty line who do not have access to workplace health. This is a challenge that I hope the Government responds to.

What are your views in response to the Thriving at Work report?

I welcome the focus on mental health at work. Along with musculoskeletal conditions, mental health is one of the two main issues UK workers face. Disclosure of mental health issues is important, as openness towards mental health issues is a key barrier to positive progress in this area. Of course, we all need to learn to be resilient to deal with life’s challenges and we need to be careful not to medicalise mental health issues if at all possible.

It is great to see the Government responding in full to the report’s recommendations. However, I am concerned that encouraging demand for mental health services is not matched by resources for supply. There also needs to be a focus on good jobs and job design so that problems don’t emerge from structural issues. The role of the manager is critical to ensure good mental health at work – to manage well, and give control to workers. But there is a limit to what managers can do. I’d like to see a greater evidence base for mental health first aid training, which is seeing considerable resource investment in this area.

How are EAPs viewed and what’s the general level of awareness?

EAPs have a key role to play in improving mental health at work. It is not a total panacea but it can really assist with issues that contribute to poor mental health through counselling and advice on debt, legal issues relating to divorce and other “outside-work” issues.

SOM members are aware that EAPs really make a difference providing proactive and direct support for the benefit of employees. I’m sure that EAP services are clear on what advice is given and how that matches company needs but that needs to be explicit, in particular for companies that have both an OH and EAP offer.  I know occupational health professionals would welcome greater collaboration between EAPs and OH – and for there to be a greater joined-up strategic approach to improving mental health.

What do you see as the key strengths of an EAP service?

A key strength of an EAP service versus an OH service is that EAPs can be available very swiftly (such as via phone). They also work hand-in-hand with OH to help create an environment where employees feel supported.  It’s worth reminding ourselves that each workplace is different and an exercise of health surveillance is a key first step to assess what services a workplace needs is important.

Finally, I would expect EAPs and OH to work together further in the future and I hope the discussions between EAP providers and SOM are fruitful, to facilitate this further.

You can hear more from Nick Pahl at the branch meeting next Tuesday 19 June at 11.00 at the Linnean Society on Piccadilly. Members are encouraged to bring OH colleagues as guests for this part of the meeting. To confirm your attendance, email info@eapa.org.uk.

40% of GP appointments now involve mental health

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40% of GP appointments now involve mental health

A survey of more than 1,000 GPs conducted by mental health charity Mind has revealed that two in three GPs (66%) say the proportion of patients needing help with their mental health has increased in the last 12 months. In the light of these results, the charity is calling for better mental health training for GPs as four out of five doctors surveyed agreed there should be a wider range of options for mental health training.

“It will also be important to increase awareness among GPs about the services provided by EAPs so that they can encourage patients, where appropriate, to check if they have access to such provision and support services via their employer. This type of joined-up approach is crucial in helping us to better address and support mental health and ensure conversations start as early as possible,” said Neil Mountford, chair, EAPA UK.

“This latest survey again highlights the need for employers to recognise mental health in the same way they do physical health. Actively addressing mental health in this way will benefit businesses financially by reducing the costs associated with absenteeism and presenteeism and reputationally as they are recognised as a caring and ethical employer. EAPs have a significant preventative role to play and we urge employers to work with their providers to raise awareness about the services and support on offer,” he said.

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