CIPD and Mind Publish Guide to Mental Health for Line Managers

CIPD and Mind Publish Guide to Mental Health for Line Managers

The CIPD and UK mental health charity Mind issued a new resource this week, the People Managers’ Guide to Mental Health, to help managers better identify and address mental health issues in the workplace, People Management reported on Wednesday:

Among the publication’s suggestions were using regular catch-ups and supervised meetings to monitor staff wellbeing and being alert to potential workplace triggers for distress, such as long hours or unmanageable workloads. The report also recommended businesses work to address the stigma still attached to mental health and encourage people to talk openly about their needs. The publication stressed that managers must be prepared to broach important dialogues and offer support. …

Following a disclosure of mental ill-health at work, managers should be prepared to make reasonable adjustments – such as relaxing requirements to work set hours in favour of flexible working, giving employees time off for appointments related to their mental health, such as therapy or counselling, and increasing one-to-one supervisions with staff.

The guide is written for readers in the UK and refers to some laws, regulations, and conventions specific to that country, but the bulk of its advice is applicable to managers anywhere. Research conducted last year by the UK health provider Bupa found that more than one in three line managers would have difficulty identifying mental health problems among their staff, while 30 per cent would not know what to do if a member of their team had a mental health problem.

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Survey: Most UK Workers Aren’t Using Their Full Leave Benefit

Survey: Most UK Workers Aren’t Using Their Full Leave Benefit

A recent survey by Glassdoor finds that very few employees in the UK are using all of their paid leave entitlement, while 40 percent of them are using less than half of it, Personnel Today’s Adam McCulloch observes:

The average figure of holiday taken by UK employees was 62%, while 91-100% of holiday entitlement was taken by 43%, the study found. A remarkable 13% reported only taking 20% of their allowance. The online survey carried out in April garnered responses from 2,000 full and part-time employed adults and also gauged the amount of work people said they did while taking time off. The results revealed that 23% of those on holiday regularly checked emails and 15% continued doing some work out of fear of being behind on their return and of missing targets.

Young workers were the least likely to take their full holiday entitlement, with only 35% of 18-24 year olds and 40% of 25-34 year olds taking all of their allowance. Half of employees (50%) said they could completely relax on holiday and that there was no expectation from their employers that they should be contactable. However, 20% reported that they were expected to be reachable and available to carry out some work if needed.

The underuse of vacation time may be a factor in the high levels of overwork and overload UK employees report, which cause stress and contribute to mental and physical health problems. Nearly one third of workers said in the latest edition of the CIPD’s UK Working Lives report that they suffered to some extent from “unmanageable” workloads, while 22 percent said they often felt “under excessive pressure,” another 22 percent said they felt “exhausted,” and 11 percent reported feeling “miserable” at work.

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CIPD ‘Working Lives’ Survey Points to Overwork, Wellbeing As Key Challenges for UK Workforce

CIPD ‘Working Lives’ Survey Points to Overwork, Wellbeing As Key Challenges for UK Workforce

The UK Working Lives report, billed by the CIPD as its first comprehensive survey of the British workforce based on its new Job Quality Index, was released on Wednesday. Surveying around 6,000 workers throughout the country, the report aims to produce a clearer and more objective picture of the quality of the jobs available to employees in the UK, “using seven critical dimensions which employees, employers and policy makers can measure and focus on to raise job quality and improve working lives”:

The health and value of the modern economy has long been gauged purely on quantitative measures such as gross domestic product, growth rates and productivity. A concerted focus on advancing the qualitative aspects of jobs and working lives will prove to be the next step forward.

Overall, the picture the report paints of the British workplace is positive for a majority of employees: Most said they were satisfied with their jobs, while 80 percent said they had good relationship with their managers and 91 percent said they had good relationships with their colleagues. Nearly 60 percent said they would choose to work even if they didn’t have to. Nonetheless, substantial numbers of respondents identified overwork, stress, and mental health concerns related to their jobs, pointing to shortcomings in the impact work is having on their quality of life.

Three in ten workers told the CIPD they suffered to some extent from “unmanageable” workloads, while 6 percent said they were regularly swamped with “far too much” work each day. While 30 percent reported feeling “full of energy” at work most of the time, 22 percent said they often felt “under excessive pressure,” another 22 percent said they felt “exhausted,” and 11 percent reported feeling “miserable.” And although 44 percent said work had a positive impact on their mental health overall, a full 25 percent said the opposite. In terms of their physical health, only 33 percent said they thought work had a positive impact versus 27 percent who said its effect was negative.

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CIPD’s Peter Cheese: Brexit Is ‘Another Ripple in the Pond’ for HR

CIPD’s Peter Cheese: Brexit Is ‘Another Ripple in the Pond’ for HR

Peter Cheese, CEO of the CIPD, gave a keynote presentation at CEB’s ReimagineHR event in London on Wednesday to talk about the impact of Brexit on HR and workforce development in the UK. Here are some of the key issues and insights that came up in his conversation with CEB’s Talent Solutions Architect Jean Martin:

The biggest risk from Brexit is paralysis.

Prior to the presentation, a quick show of hands among the HR leaders attending the event showed that most were taking a wait-and-see approach to Brexit and had not made definite plans for how to deal with the aftermath. One of the confounding factors in responding to Brexit is that nobody really knows how the results of June’s referendum will ultimately shake out. Cheese described a recent event he attended at which the editor of the Economist polled the room as to whether they thought Brexit meant Brexit (the UK leaves the EU and that’s that), Brexit meant breakup (Brexit leads to a larger-scale disintegration of the EU as other countries pull out), or the UK wouldn’t ultimately go through with Brexit at all. Each answer got about a third of the vote, he said, indicating that even the most informed observers of the situation have no idea what to expect. So the biggest risk for organizations, he stressed, is in not planning, not acting, and behaving as though the outcome is entirely outside their control. To survive and thrive in a post-Brexit world, organizations need to adopt the mindset of leaders, rather than victims, of change.

Brexit reflects an environment of eroded trust, which has many other implications for business and HR.

One of the circumstances that enabled the Brexit referendum to pass was a high level of public distrust in institutions—the EU, the government, the media, business elites, and so forth. This distrust of “the establishment” has manifested itself in numerous societal challenges, not only in the UK but in other countries as well. In a time of frequent and disruptive change, trust issues become very dangerous, as Cheese noted that people become more resistant to change in the absence of trust, and organizations today need employees, middle managers, and leaders to be fully open to change in today’s work environment. Workers also need to feel that their organization trusts them, he added, or they will be less likely to speak up at a time when their input is more valuable than ever. Young people, in particular, won’t stand for not being listened to.

One solution to this trust deficit is transparency, Cheese said. Corporate scandals have eroded public trust in business, yes, but so has a lack of transparency and accountability. Organizations should be more open about their people, their diversity efforts, and how they are investing their resources. On the other side of the coin, they must demonstrate real willingness to listen to their people. After all, with so many new channels of communication available to them, employees are talking whether or not their employers are listening. To fix this situation, the CIPD chief recommended, leaders need to show humility, starting by listening and engaging with their people and building an environment of trust.

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