Self-evidently, all dynamic and progressive companies will invest in their people and processes. Coaching, training and development, visioning, goal setting and even more esoteric help such as mindfulness or company choirs are all necessary and beneficial actions. Yet some employees will be temporarily lifted or re-invigorated yet slump back into cycles of presenteeism, time off, lack of focus or even a complete withdrawal from work.
Why? Well due to mental health challenges. This topic is now being discussed openly and according the the Centre for Mental Health a value can even be assigned to it.
Mental health problems in the UK workforce cost employers almost £35 billion last year, according to its research – Mental health at work: The business cost ten years on – published 2017.
This means that mental health problems cost £1,300 for every employee in the UK economy. By far the largest part of the business cost is in the form of reduced productivity among people who are at work but underperforming: presenteeism. This costs businesses twice as much as sickness absence relating to poor mental health. The remainder of the cost relates to turnover – people leaving their jobs as a result of poor mental health.
So where does your duty of care as an employer end?
Clearly, you can put systems and processes in place to support your staff and not undermine any issues that you may be aware of. But what about those you are not aware of? How do you support team members who have hidden issues? Team members who wear such effective masks that all seems well on the surface whilst they are really struggling internally. There has been a large campaign to show the new face of mental health issues based around suicide. Photo and video clip after photo and video clip of happy smiling people have been posted on social media with the tag line of “This was the day before XX took their own life. This is the true face of mental health issues”.
Often the issue is that the person themselves does not know ‘what is wrong’ with them. They may have an obvious stressor such as going through a divorce, relocation, illness, financial struggle or similar. Or they may just be overwhelmed, burnt-out, depressed and in a cycle of struggle where they seem OK and can function relatively normal then hit a wall and just shut down, walk away or worse.
What all coaching, training and development up to now has lacked is the ability to, once identified, address the underlying root of any psychologically based ‘fault line’ leading to a those struggling being caught in a repeat pattern of unwanted thought, behaviour and habits. Invariably leading the employee to feel that they are living a lie, hanging on by their fingernails or just so feeling so low that nothing really lifts them so they turn to behaviours to mask the feelings that can in turn lead to unwanted addictions. Severe mental health issues must be addressed separately and of course, as they require a level of dedicated focus either by the employee having regular therapy outside of the workplace or taking themselves to a place to completely rest and reset.
But a coaching programme that has a pathway to uncover the root cause of unwanted thoughts and behaviours and then offers practical, non-stigmatising and workable solutions to such issues is surely needed in our workplaces today?
Unplugged Coaching offers just this solution.
Offed by experienced coaches, steeped in a background of business success, it means that the realities of the workplace and the pressures and cost of not getting the help you need are also understood.
To use the Titanic analogy, it is no good rearranging the deckchairs on the deck with T&D if the ship itself is sinking. If someone with an underlying issue (which they themselves may not be able to quantify and thus end up feeling more of a failure because they can’t ‘snap themselves out of it’) doesn’t get this kind of help then they may end up losing their job or having much time off work.
Not good for them and certainly not good for the business either.
Addressing such issues will create a more productive, happy and loyal workforce. And happier, healthier human beings who will make their lives, the lives of their loved ones and communities an all together better place to be.
A strong ship for all. Sailing to a better destination.