Workplace mental health and wellbeing policies explained
How are your employees doing?
And we don’t mean performance metrics in a spreadsheet somewhere — how are they feeling?
The past 2 years have been difficult for many people financially, emotionally and physically. It’s therefore more important than ever for employers to understand employee wellbeing and actively support it. As well as being vital to a workforce’s wellbeing, there are also business benefits.
Only around half (51%) of business have a strategic approach to employee wellbeing. Yet mental ill health is the UK’s fourth-most common cause of short-term sickness absence and the biggest cause of long-term sickness absence.1 Plus, COVID-19 has exacerbated mental ill health — up to 10 million people in England potentially need mental health support following the pandemic.2
Taking care of employees’ mental health can have a major return on investment not just in improved staff wellbeing but also potentially meaning:
A workplace mental health and wellbeing strategy is a plan, pathway or roadmap for how you as a business manage employees’ mental health and wellbeing.
Above all, it doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. However, it’s key to bringing to life and embedding a culture of workplace wellbeing so every employee can thrive.
Mental health is a complex topic; however, a wellbeing strategy doesn’t have to be. For example, simple steps employers can take include:
None of these require major strategic business change but, as above, ensuring employee wellbeing can make a real difference to your staff.
Perfect for those unsure where to start or wanting to review their existing approach, our Workplace Health and Wellbeing Review examines your current workplace wellbeing strategy, then discusses how you could make changes to improve employee wellbeing.
Our wellbeing specialists work with you to make these improvements over 12 months, offering advice, training and support at every step.
At initial review, we determine what already exists and areas that aren’t being met, based on:
We’ve used these to create six standards to promote optimal employee health and wellbeing:
Our team provides a clear structure and approach that leads to real, tangible success. Companies who complete a Unum Workplace Health and Wellbeing Review see notable benefits.
For instance, at initial review, we found 74% of companies met standard four — having good working conditions, benefits and a positive work/life balance. Whilst this is a good score, after companies worked with us throughout the year, we were able to increase this to 100% at final review.
At Unum, we’re proud that, for companies that completed a Workplace Health and Wellbeing Review, the percentage that:
Meanwhile, our return-to-work support team helped 95.5% of people referred to us for mental health concerns return to work or achieve an agreed result, even as such referrals rose by 27% between 2020 and 2021.
As mentioned, part of your workplace wellbeing strategy might include promoting resources available to employees. This includes those accessible to employees covered by certain Unum Group Risk policies, such as:
Promoting workplace wellbeing makes your company a better, more attractive place to work. It’s good for current employees and for attracting future hires.
Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 is between May 9th–15th. The annual event focuses on achieving better mental health — but this shouldn’t be limited to just one week. However, it can prompt employers to create a mental health strategy to give employees long-term support.
1 Health and wellbeing at work 2022, CIPD, p.6
2 Up to 10 million people in England may need support for their mental health as a result of the pandemic, Centre for Mental Health, October 2020 3 Happy workers are 13% more productive, Saïd Business School, Oxford University
4 A study of employees' job satisfaction and its impact on their performance, Bhanu Misra and Sandeep Sehgal
5 The Importance of Workplace Wellbeing on Staff Retention, Employee Benefits
6 From Perception to People Insights — How do you monitor employee wellbeing?, The HR Director
7 Access to the service is facilitated by Unum at no cost to the Unum customer. Unum is not the provider of the service but can withdraw or change the service at any time. The service is entirely separate from any insurance policy provided by Unum and is subject to the terms and conditions of the relevant third-party specialists. There is no additional cost or increase in premium as a result of Unum making this benefit available.