A survey by Robert Half has found 96 per cent of Australian employers agree there are benefits to a mentally-fit workplace. The research also revealed 92 per cent are offering mental health initiatives to their staff and80 per cent think company-sponsored mental health initiatives are more important today compared to three years ago. The survey clearly shows how Australian companies are not only increasingly aware of the mental health of their employees, but are actively investing in workplace initiatives to have a ‘mentally-fit’ workforce as companies understand the positive impact it has on not just employee wellbeing, but also the organisation’s bottom line. When asked what were the biggest benefits of reducing workplace stress, more than half (58 per cent) cited improved employee wellbeing, while 55 per cent say improved staff morale.
There are measurable results for the business as well, including: increased productivity (53 per cent), improved employee motivation/engagement (45 per cent), decreased absenteeism (34 per cent), decreased costs from sick pay, insurance costs, and work-related health costs etc. (33 per cent). In terms of reputational impacts, one in four (26 per cent) say having a mentally-fit workplace enhances the company brand as an employer of choice.
Nicole Gorton, director of Robert Half Australia said: “Companies that are proactive and dynamic in their approach to mental health initiatives will undoubtedly see tangible results over time as employee wellbeing is crucial to business success. With a mentally-fit workforce, these organisations don’t only have more productive and engaged teams, but with these initiatives becoming more popular, these initiatives are also helpful for companies to attract the best talent and keep their staff on board.”
The research shows the majority (92 per cent) of Australian companies are offering mental health initiatives to their staff. Some of the most popular initiatives being offered by companies are: flexible working arrangements (55 per cent), employee assistance programs (53 per cent), counselling services (46 per cent), access to onsite mental health professionals (32 per cent), and hiring contract/temporary workers to alleviate high workloads (18 per cent).
Furthermore, more emphasis is being placed on the significance of mental health, as eight in 10 (80 per cent) Australian employers think company-sponsored mental health initiatives in the workplace are more important today compared to three years ago, with over one-quarter (28 per cent) agreeing mental health initiatives are “much more important”.
While the importance of mental health initiatives in the workplace is increasingly recognised among Australian companies, this is a “work in progress”. While most have already introduced initiatives for staff, 93 per cent of Australian companies think the following mental health initiatives should be introduced: mental health training for staff (37 per cent), hiring contract/temporary workers to alleviate high workloads (35 per cent), access to onsite mental health professionals (29 per cent), counselling services (24 per cent), flexible working arrangements (19 per cent), and employee assistance programs (14 per cent).
“Failing to offer mental health initiatives in the workplace is likely to have a negative impact, not just on employees who suffer greater risk to be overworked and stressed, but also for companies experiencing longer-term harm from increased sick leave, low morale, and decreased productivity. Investing in mental health initiatives has never been more important to protecting the business’ bottom line and maintaining a reputation as a great place to work,” concluded Gorton.