July 29, 2019
Employers admit company culture causes stress at work
Employers admit they need to do more to increase workplace resilience despite increased awareness of the impact of mental health issues in the workplace, claims a report from MetLife UK. Research for the report Mental Health and Stress: Building Employee Resilience in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, claims nearly six out of ten employers admit they have to increase the focus on helping their staff to build resilience and 66 percent say organisational resilience has to be driven by the company’s leadership. But nearly a third of employers admit their company’s culture creates stress at work and employees questioned for the study say employers are not honest during recruitment about the demands on staff and the impact in stress.
The report, which includes a foreword by Sir Kenneth Olisa, OBE, The Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, highlights progress in addressing the issue of stress at work – 64 percent of employees say their firm offers support now compared with just over half when MetLife first researched the issue. Increased awareness of the impact of mental health issues at work is driving positive change but employers need to do more to increase workplace resilience, a new report from MetLife UK says.
Research for the report claims 57 percent of employers admit they have to increase the focus on helping staff build resilience and just 40 percent believe they are doing enough. 66 percent employers questioned say organisational resilience has to be driven by the company’s leadership.
MetLife UK’s report Mental Health and Stress: Building Employee Resilience in the Fourth Industrial Revolution highlights the issue of organisational culture – 34 percent of employers say workplace stress is being caused by the way their company operates. The report highlights a difference in views between employees and employers – just 37 percent of employees believe their employer was honest at the recruitment stage about the demands on staff while 56 percent of HR leaders believe the stress risks are made clear.
However, the report claims there has been progress in addressing the issue of stress at work with 64 percent of employees saying their organisation now offers support compared with 51 percent when MetLife first researched the issue in 2014.
“What employees feel is real.”
Adrian Matthews, Employee Benefits Director, MetLife UK said: “What employees feel is real, and despite views from management that they are taking action, it is clear that more needs to be done. This shouldn’t deter employers. Whilst some programmes come with a cost, many initiatives can be created and implemented that do not.”
“Employers are saying that they need help: 84 percent said there is no clarity on best practice to address mental health issues in the workplace. It may be that the explosion of interest in the topic is leading employers into inaction, and this is a very clear opportunity for employee benefits consultants, in tandem with insurance providers to step up and help.”
Sir Kenneth Olisa, OBE, The Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, writes in a foreword to the report: “Workplace stress management isn’t just a matter of social justice, it is also a matter of competitive advantage.”
“The practical advice in this report is a good basis for a strategy to change the way we work. Having a three to five-year objective is crucial and companies need to ask what success looks like. The message of MetLife UK’s report is clear – don’t relegate stress management policies to the appendices of your Employee Handbook. Bring the topic to the front and encourage everyone to read it and to act upon it.”
Building trust across the organisation can help boost engagement.
Strategies outlined in the report include focusing on the role of the line manager and recognising the pressures they are under by supporting them with training and Employee Assistance Programmes. Organisations should enhance communication and ensure employees are aware of the support available. Group Risk providers such as MetLife UK have dedicated Client Relationship Managers who can help ensure communication strategies are maximised.
Organisations need to decide what they are going to measure to help drive resilience and should encourage employees to complete surveys so leadership teams can correct strategies. Building trust across the organisation can help boost engagement. Creating a common purpose across all age ranges and recognising employees’ natural working styles will also make a major contribution.