The mental wellbeing support UK employers are providing is simply failing to resonate with their employee’s needs, a new study from Kooth Work has revealed.
Bupa Global Executive Wellbeing Index for 2022 placed employee mental health and wellbeing as the top priority for 47% of global businesses this year. Around half of organisations questioned expected to see a rise in the amount they spend on providing support and, again, around half plan to increase the number of roles with a responsibility for mental wellbeing in their organisation.
Despite this commitment to mental wellbeing in the workplace, a staggering 82% of employees do not believe enough is being done and 40% were unaware of the support available to them. This suggests that employers are paying for support that no-one knows even exists.
This lack of awareness, along with the stigma often associated with asking for help, could also explain why a mere 5% of respondents had used an employee assistance program (EAP).
Tim Barker, Chief Executive Officer at Kooth Digital Health explained:
The current investment UK organisations are making in mental wellbeing is simply missing the mark. It seems that well-intentioned actions from employers don’t always correlate to well-supported employees.
Tim Barker, Chief Executive Officer at Kooth Digital Health
Almost three-quarters of employees (72%) say they always work or work most of the time while they’re unwell. Over a third (37%) showed moderate to high levels of burnout, with half displaying signs of being at risk of depression and 62% reporting some level of anxiety. In addition, over two-thirds of employees had experienced discrimination in the workplace, which has negatively impacted their mental health.
It’s crucial that they gain a clearer picture of the mental wellbeing issues of their workforce before presenting the solution. We would strongly advise that organisations not take on new wellbeing initiatives, services and support, without first understanding where to focus their efforts. To apply a solution without understanding the problem equates to a serious mismatch and could compound issues around absenteeism, presenteeism and staff churn.
Over half of those who participated in the Kooth Work study called for UK employers to do more to identify, understand, and meet their needs, with 42% stating that they are under-served by the support options available to them. When asked what support would resonate with them, they said they would prefer a mix of solutions – both in-person and virtual – that more accurately reflect their need for accessibility (29%), flexibility and convenience (49%). Crucially, almost three-quarters (71%) of employees feel that anonymity and confidentiality are most important when it comes to accessing mental health support.
UK employers cannot rest on their laurels, if they are serious about supporting their workforce with mental wellbeing, they must truly understand their needs.
To read the full findings in Kooth Work’s “Missing the Mark” report visit: https://work.kooth.com/missing-the-mark-flourish-findings-report
Workplace Wellbeing Professional is an online magazine featuring news and analysis on a broad range of employee wellbeing topics, focused on a UK based audience.