Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Reducing the cost of mental health problems at work – what can companies do?

an article by Piers Bishop (WeThrive Ltd, Brighton, UK) published in Human Resource Management International Digest Volume 23 Issue 4 (2016)


The number of companies reporting mental health problems among staff is increasing. The author argues that initiatives to help staff cope with these difficulties are too late and that it is the duty of organizations to develop a workplace culture and environment where people can be motivated but calm and that other benefits will also flow from this.

The paper reports findings from the CIPD, HSE and NHS as background to a discussion of how auditing unmet human needs might be expected to improve mental health at work.

The paper suggests that a relatively simple and inexpensive approach could change the landscape of human emotion at work and that the process would embed a new culture of understanding and coaching in management.

Research limitations/implications
The conclusions would not necessarily extend to repetitive manufacturing processes and implementation would be difficult in organizations wedded to early twentieth century “scientific” management principles.

Practical implications
The paper has implications for organizations operating in the “knowledge” economy where the management has an interest in developing and retaining a happy and energized staff.

Social implications
The paper has implications for people whose lives are affected by stress generated by the working environment and culture.

This paper fits two identified needs: to suggest better ways of supporting staff who might develop mental health problems at work and to suggest a framework that will fill the gap left by the approaching demise of the annual review or appraisal process.

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