Workplace resilience needs to be ‘led from top’ says report.

Six out of 10 employers recognise the need to do more.

A report from MetLife UK has found that while there is an increased awareness of the impact of mental health issues at work employers need to do more to increase workplace resilience. The company’s research found 57 per cent of employers admit they have to increase the focus on helping staff build resilience while just 40 per cent believe they are doing enough. Nearly two out of three (66 per cent) employers questioned say organisational resilience has to be driven by the company’s leadership.

MetLife UK’s report Mental Health and Stress: Building Employee Resilience in the Fourth Industrial Revolution highlights the issue of organisational culture – more than a third (34 per cent) of employers say workplace stress is being caused by the way their company operates.

The report highlights  a difference in views between employees and employers – just 37 per cent of employees believe their employer was honest at the recruitment stage about the demands on staff while more than half (56 per cent) of HR leaders believe the stress risks are made clear. However, the report shows there has been progress in addressing the issue of workplace stress with 64 per cent of employees saying their organisation now offers support compared with 51 per cent when MetLife first researched the issue in 2014.

“What employees feel is real, and despite views from management that they are taking action, it is clear that more needs to be done,” says Adrian Matthews, employee benefits director, MetLife UK. “This shouldn’t deter employers. Whilst some programmes come with a cost, many initiatives can  be created and implemented that do not.

“Employers are saying that they need help,” he added. “84 per cent said there is no clarity on best practice to address mental health issues in the workplace. It may be that the explosion of interest in the topic is leading employers into inaction, and this is a very clear opportunity for employee benefits consultants, in tandem with insurance providers to step up and help.”

Strategies outlined in the report include focusing on the role of the line manager and recognising the pressures they are under by supporting them with training and Employee Assistance Programmes. Organisations should enhance communication and ensure employees are aware of the support available. Group Risk providers such as MetLife have dedicated Client Relationship Managers who can help ensure communication strategies are maximised.

Organisations need to decide what they are going to measure to help drive resilience and should encourage employees to complete surveys so leadership teams can correct strategies. Building trust across the organisation can help boost engagement. Creating a common purpose across all age ranges and recognising employees’ natural working styles will also make a major contribution.

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