I was reading an article from the UK about a lady who had a mental health crisis working in the retail industry, with a strict employer who constantly demanded their minimum wage employees push clients to spend thousands of pounds in one transaction. She talks about the high turnover rates among the 100 plus employees, and the impact the working environment had on her mental health.

And it got me thinking – how many employers are there out there who spend such a huge portion of their time, effort and resources focussing on creating sales, to generate higher and higher income, while at the same time they completely forget that the ways in which they treat their staff can end up costing them much, much more. Turnover is just one aspect of this – the cost of recruitment, and time spent hiring and training up a new employee. But then if it’s not a good working environment, it won’t be long before they are spending on more sick leave and having to replace that employee too. Not to mention the costs involved if someone actually puts in a stress claim! That can be a huge drain on the business.

Bottom lineAnd it’s not necessarily that managers or businesses are bad or evil. They are people too. And they are likely doing their best to keep everything running, to keep people in jobs. There is a lot of stress involved there too, and sometimes, in cases like this it can filter down to the frontline staff. Before you know it it’s a downward spiral.

BUT!!! it can so easily be reversed by:

1. Training managers in how to better support people within the workplace.

2. Making sure the managers have the support of the executive team – that they are committed to addressing mental health and wellbeing

3. Communicating the plan clearly to all staff, and following through.

Not only will this directly help the bottom line in terms of generating more income – the evidence is very clear that with a healthy and happy workforce, productivity, customer service, and all the other good stuff increases dramatically. But it will also have a huge impact in terms of the money saved in all those places where it is just being drained at the moment.

And besides the financial incentive, what about the fact that the people working in the business are real people too, with thoughts and feelings? Work is such a huge part of our lives, why not make it a pleasurable place to be, rather than one staff dread coming to each day. Now of course it doesn’t mean that you’ll stop all mental health problems – people are still people, and they still have personal lives too, but when someone does have something difficult happening in their personal life, the approach of the manager at work can make all the difference as to whether they spiral downwards and end up needing time off or whether work can become a haven for the person. This makes all the difference not just for the person, but for the business too.

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

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