Worker health and wellbeing – especially in 2020 – has become a crucial consideration for organisational leadership. And as this week marks the annual ‘RUOK’ day here in Australia, we’ve decided to provide a round-up of the content we’ve published on the topic.
But first, let’s take a look at some of the statistics here.
According to an ABS study, 45% of Australians between the ages of 16-85 will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. It is estimated that untreated mental health conditions cost Australian workplaces approximately $10.9 billion per year. This comprises $4.7 billion in absenteeism, $6.1 billion in presenteeism and $146 million in compensation claims.
Mental health conditions, including those induced by work-related incidents, take a huge toll on workers and organisations. The effects on productivity, worker engagement and team capabilities are clear. The cost to organisations is huge (see above). But the personal cost is also devastating. Families, communities and individuals suffering any form of mental health episode creates a tenuous dynamic for all, one that although treatable, can be incredibly taxing to diagnose and contain.
Workers in Australia – both employees and contingent workers – increasingly expect support and access to resources from their organisations. And in response, organisational leaders are establishing policies and support infrastructures for workers to deal with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.
This indicates a greater acceptance of responsibility for creating and maintaining a healthy workplace by business leaders, as a mentally healthy workplace protects workers, promotes openness and discussion, it empowers people to source help, and it has a positive knock-on effect for the individual and the workplace environment.
It’s encouraging to see more Australian employers investing in workplace health and safety programs. With a deeper focus on worker health and wellbeing – a proven strategy to improve productivity and performance – we can only hope that this week’s ubiquitous question, ‘R U OK?’ is posed across the entire year. Not just on campaign day.
Now, let’s take a look at some of our analyses on the topic.
WELLNESS IN THE WORKPLACE – IS IT NOW MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER?
Back in July of this unprecedented year, as we were on the tenuous brink of the second wave of coronavirus, we uncovered research from McKinsey which showed the correlation between worker health and wellbeing, and productivity, output and performance. The headline insight being, 75% of high-performing companies, consistently measure health status as an essential element of their organisation’s risk management strategy. We see this as a very encouraging sign.
We also discovered the importance of deploying tools to monitor and help manage worker health and wellbeing. Examples include tools that help to measure worker momentum and participation in mental health programs and initiatives. And, training programs for managers so they can better recognise and understand any potential mental health issues of their workers.
Despite most organisations coming to the party with regard to worker health and wellbeing, we also uncovered challenges that exist in this space. These include the potential for organisations to prioritise operational or other business issues, over the wellness of their workers; difficulty in measuring the return on investment of worker health and wellbeing programs; poor insight into the best practice approach to these programs.
Overall, it’s clear that the mental and emotional health of workers is increasingly important to business leadership. And this we find very encouraging.
Click here to read full insights from this article.
THE EVIDENCE FOR INVESTING IN WORKER HEALTH AND WELLBEING
In this article, we looked at the business case for investing in worker health and wellbeing.
The premise of our research here was based on the fact that we spend so much time at work. And often, more time at work than with our loved ones. Hence, observing the growing body of evidence that companies are now taking the mental and emotional health of their workers way more seriously, is heartening.
As mental illness is now the leading cause of sickness, absenteeism and long-term incapacity across the Australian workforce, the impact on business output and the bottom line is very real. The key issue here is this – organisations are better placed to establish quality mental and worker health programs before absenteeism rises or output is affected. Instead of reacting to a workforce crisis, those companies that are pre-prepared and avoid these negative outcomes, are in a far better competitive position.
The direct correlation here to workplace culture can’t be ignored.
The thinking and beliefs of company leadership, the ethos and values of the organisation, the accepted and unaccepted behaviour of all people – these are the key issues to establishing a healthy workplace culture. And with a healthy culture in place, the foundations of a robust worker health program are taken care of.
Finally, we reviewed potential triggers for stressors that may impact workers. Issues like financial stress, rising house prices, commute times and job insecurity. And alongside these, we provided potential solutions. Not one-size-fits-all of course, but sound factors to consider as you keep worker health in mind.
Click here for the complete insights from this article.
WORKFORCE TRENDS: A FOCUS ON EMPLOYEE WELLNESS
When 2020 kicked off, we were filled with anticipation, excitement and optimism for the new year ahead. We looked at the workforce trends that were emerging from 2019 and reviewed the likely shifts to take place this year.
Issues like more employee-centric organisations. And the rise of developing technologies such as AI.
One of the trends we predicted was an increased focus on employee wellness. Little did we realise back in January, how prescient that prediction really was.
Absent COVID-19, worker health and wellbeing had been increasingly on the corporate radar, and for some time. Knowing healthier employees are better at their jobs, meant the ‘wellness’ issue wasn’t so much a soft-touch as part of the organisational strategy, as it was a business case, must-have. A technical requirement of the organisation’s culture.
Fast forward nine months and even more so right now, do we realise how deeply important worker health really is. For workers in Australia subjected to prolonged COVID lockdowns and restrictions, for workers who live alone and can’t spend time with family or loved ones – the organisation has had to really step up and be a foundation of support and consistency for many people (for those workers lucky enough to have retained their job or contract).
We hope to see organisations continue with this line of support, with a view to mitigating any future workforce crises and supporting the mental and emotional health of all workers in their care.
Click here to see the full insights from this article.
As one of the world’s leading providers of contingent worker management solutions, CXC is well positioned to optimise all elements of your contingent workforce strategy. With operations in more than 50 countries across five continents and decades of experience, we can assist with every aspect of your program.
If you would like to find out more about how we can help please contact us here.