Intelligent CXO Issue 19 - Page 52



Underinvestment in ‘ frontline ’ managers will lead to a mental health crisis in employees

According to a recent WorkNest poll , almost eight in 10 ( 79 %) employers and HR professionals have not provided line managers with training to support employees with their mental health and well-being . This is despite most ( 93 %) employers being aware of their mental health and wellbeing responsibilities .

Notwithstanding the effects the pandemic has had on employees ’ mental health regarding loneliness , 38 % of employers and HR professionals also admitted to not taking steps to combat employees ’ loneliness and isolation when working from home .
While two-fifths ( 42 %) of employers and HR professionals have implemented measures to combat loneliness and isolation , only one in 10 ( 12 %) of those that have not implemented such measures said they were planning to tackle it .
Research into Google ’ s online search habits also shows a significant growth of employees suffering from loneliness over the past four years , emphasising the necessity of providing employees with mental health and well-being support .
Online searches for ‘ loneliness working from home ’ rose by 76 % over the past four years ( data analysed between August 2018 – July 2022 ). Further data also revealed that ‘ loneliness or isolation in the workplace ’ searches online increased by 26 %. With some employers yet to implement measures to tackle the loneliness of workers , it must get pushed higher up the priority list .
Rob Evans , Senior HR Consultant at WorkNest , said : “ It is worrying that a large majority of employers have not provided training to line managers to support employee mental health and training . For managers , learning to deal with and address any well-being issues in staff is vital to creating a well-supported team .
Mental health affects how everyone thinks , feels and acts , but it also helps to determine how employees handle stress , relate to others and make choices . In addition , ensuring employees feel safe to communicate and express any issues they are experiencing is crucial . Finally , line managers need to understand any impacts their team ’ s mental health may have on normal day-to-day activities in the workplace .”
Line managers play a principal role in supporting employee well-being . By getting to know their team well and encouraging open communication , line managers are better placed to spot any changes in team members ’ behaviour .
If equipped with the right skill set , they can manage issues and offer support before the employee reaches a crisis point . However , due to the pandemic and employees working remotely and in a hybrid manner , mental health issues have been much harder to spot as the opportunity to notice visual clues that are far easier to detect in the workplace can be missed .
Evans continued , “ Upskilling line managers with mental health and well-being training could be an easy win for employers ; however , it ’ s still not the full solution . Employers and HR professionals must build a culture in the organisation that encourages open communication so employees feel comfortable raising any issues .
" We predict these softer skills in handling mental health and well-being in the workplace will increase in demand as the cost-of-living crisis starts to bite .” x
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