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Business leaders recognise importance of mental health

10 Oct 2016
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A new survey of IoD members reveals that business leaders are more aware than ever before of the importance of good mental health in the workplace, and – on World Mental Health Day – the IoD announces that for the first time ever it will be recognising a leader in mental health with a Director of the Year Award at its annual celebration of business success on October 21st.

The survey of more than 800 business leaders suggests that:

  • More than 80% of IoD members think a workforce with good mental health is very important to the success of a business
  • Members believe poor mental health can contribute to poor quality of work and poor decision making, as well as conflict between colleagues. Less than 2% think a workforce with poor mental health makes no difference to business success
  • More than half – 54% - have had employees speak to them about mental health issues, including stress
  • Despite business leaders being aware of the dangers of poor mental health, only 14% have a formal mental health policy, preferring to deal with issues on a case-by-case basis 

The IoD will announce the winner of its first ‘Leader in Mental Health Awareness’ award at their Director of the Year Awards on October 21st at the Lancaster Hotel in London.

The IoD will be hosting a series of events throughout 2017 to raise awareness of mental health issues in the workplace, with a particular focus on opening up the conversation for small- and medium-sized businesses, which often lack the resources of larger corporate organisations to address their employees’ mental health.

Simon Walker, Director General of the IoD, said:

“Businesses increasingly recognise the importance of good mental health in the workplace. Opening up the conversation, so that employees and employers can discuss mental health in the same way that they talk about physical health must be a priority for the UK as a whole.

“The Government should be congratulated for appointing a Minister, Penny Mordaunt, with specific responsibility for mental health in the workplace. Sadiq Khan is also doing important work as Mayor of London to raise the profile of the issue. Working with business groups and trade bodies, central and local Governments must give employers the tools they need to ensure their staff are in a healthier place. While many of the largest firms operating in the UK have been able to devote serious resources toward their employees, it’s a lot more challenging for small firms. Managers who run those firms need the support of those in power, and indeed, those like the IoD who are in a position to provide guidance and advice.”

The Deputy Mayor for Business, Rajesh Agrawal, said

“Without a stellar and healthy workforce, London would not be the fast-paced and dynamic city it is. Businesses must do all they can to support and ensure the wellbeing of their employees and it is great to see that business leaders are more aware than ever before of the importance of good mental health in the workplace. The Mayor is committed to raising the profile of mental health issues across the capital and I’m pleased to see the Institute of Directors on the front foot of highlighting this issue and helping to ensure London has a happy and healthy workforce.”

The full results of the survey are below:

How important do you believe a workforce with good mental health is to the performance of a business organisation?


Total

Percentage

Very important

659

81.06%

Quite important

134

16.48%

Neither important nor unimportant

17

2.09%

Not very important

2

0.25%

Not at all important

0

0.00%


What consequences do you foresee if members of an organisation are suffering from poor mental health?


Total

Percentage

Poor quality of work

723

88.93%

Poor decision making

699

85.98%

Conflict between colleagues

633

77.86%

Higher staff turnover

518

63.71%

Other

92

11.32%

It does not affect work

16

1.97%


Have your employees ever spoken to you about mental health issues, including feelings of overwork or stress?


Total

Percentage

Yes

420

54.12%

No

348

44.85%

Don't know

8

1.03


Does your organisation have a formal mental health policy in place, similar to a health and safety policy?


Total

Percentage

Yes

112

13.78%

No

652

80.20%

Don't know

49

6.03%



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