Live Blog: CIPD 2017 #Think Conference – Richard Sheldon

Wellbeing is an output of culture. I'm also left thinking that any organisation, leader or manager that thinks it's possible to separate the mental health from the financial health of an organisation is sadly misguided.

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Comparing the first mental health survey in Guernsey with the results in the UK

Richard is the Policy Advisor for Guernsey CIPD stepping up to speak about the first mental health survey conducted in Guernsey and he compared the results to the UK with some interesting findings.

The survey looked at the attitudes to mental health in the workplace, getting both the employer and employee perspective. He started with a warning around perception vs reality – we have to accept that we all have bias and surveys are a good way of beating that bias. We are constantly being fed what mental ill-health is by the media and social media and it feeds our sub conscious.

He suggests that when someone presents with stress the suspicion is that they are pulling a sickie. From my perspective, I hope this is not the case. Here a few of the statistics and Richards thoughts on what they pointed to.

  • In Guernsey 44% of people have experienced mental health issues in the workplace compared to 31% in the UK.
  • Of those, 63% have had problems in the last 12 months.
  • Richard points out that this is a problem that exists today rather than one that was just situational around 2007 crash.
  • Of those statistics 37% of men have experienced issues compared to 47% of Women.

Given suicide rates are far higher in men Richard raised the point that its likely men don’t admit to suffering from issues. With that in mind organisations have to have structures and training in place to deal with it and importantly get pre-emptive measures in place, by the time someone presents with issues its already too late. Only 52% of people that admitted having issues have taken time off work – Richard pointed out that this means half of people with issues had not taken time of work which suggests that presentism is big problem.

Most employees don’t know what is available to them to aid their wellbeing and help them if the are suffering from stress. Something that organisations can do is make people aware of what’s in place for them i.e. a staggered return to work. He drew a very distinct difference between employee and employer perception on the cause of stress.

In the survey, 20% of employees said that mental health problems were caused by their personal life. When employers where asked the same question, 61% believed personal life was the cause. That’s a frightening difference and demonstrates that their is more work to do. Lot’s more work. Interestingly the top 4 offers of employer support to employees are reactive not preventative.

In my view this has to change otherwise we will never get on top of the wellbeing problems. Richard echoed a key point made by David Ogilvie in his earlier talk that 1/2 day workshops are not enough and that culture is key. At this point I was nodding my head and reflecting our view that wellbeing is an output of culture. I’m also left thinking that any organisation, leader or manager that thinks it’s possible to separate the mental health from the financial health of an organisation is sadly misguided.

This was live-blogged during a session at the CIPD Jersey #Think Conference – I’ve tried to capture a faithful summary of the highlights for me but my own bias, views – and the odd typo – might well creep in.

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