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Building a resilient and productive workforce

17 May 2018

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By Matt Reed, Director of employer services

This Mental Health Awareness Week, we have seen fantastic examples of businesses leading by example in promoting good mental health, along with evidence that as a society we still have a long way to go.

Attitudes are changing, but stigma and misunderstanding remains. A poll for QBE, released this week, found that nearly 40 per cent of managers would not disclose their mental health condition to colleagues, while a quarter of managers in large businesses wouldn't hire someone with a disclosed condition.

There remains a disconnect between policy and practice. Remploy works with thousands of employers to create more inclusive workplaces and remove the stigma that remains around mental health. This can be by supporting individuals to remain in work, through to specialist training on mental health first aid or workplace wellbeing training for managers. As a Disability Confident Leader, and a mission-led business, this is at the heart of what we do.

Increasingly, employers approach Remploy to improve the resilience of their workforce, equipping individuals, their managers and team leaders to better understand the stresses of the workplace and support that is available. Developing this understanding, and spotting signs of stress or anxiety early both normalises conversations around resilience, and avoids the personal and economic costs of mental health.

This is particularly critical for young people, with increasing evidence of growing mental ill health among students and those entering the workplace for the first time. This can be attributed to many societal changes, including  financial and job insecurity, the growing role of technology in people’s lives, social pressures, and a lack of access to mental health services.

Remploy delivers the Access to Work ‘Supporting Apprentices’ Service, utilising our expertise of disabilities and health conditions in the workplace to support learners who are at risk of not finishing their apprenticeship. We also help line managers with advice or suggested adjustments.

Creating an environment that places value on wellbeing not only allows allows an individual to thrive, but also leads to improved productivity and reduced sickness absence, both of which contribute to the bottom line.

Through our work in partnership with MAXIMUS Training, we are taking a bold approach, putting wellbeing, health and disability at the heart of our apprenticeship offer, providing expert training to our coaches on disability, and tracking learners’ physical and emotional health to identify if any additional support is required. You can learn more about our offer here.

I’ll finish with a quote from Mark, who because of the Supporting Apprentices Service has been able to prosper in his apprenticeship:

“Being able to gain experience and learn in an organisation that understands mental health has been hugely important to me. I have had social anxiety and depression for around eight years and I was very apprehensive about starting work.

Having a line manager who understands mental health, and who has been able to direct me to the Supporting Apprentices Service has given me confidence that my employer cares about me and that I can talk to them about my situation.”

This Mental Health Awareness Week, let’s all aspire to support colleagues in a similar way.

For more information about how we can support your business, get in touch with us at employers@remploy.co.uk.

About Matt Reed

I have been with Remploy for six years. Our Employer Services team focus on helping employers to build disability confidence, and create the kind of environments that enable all people to achieve their potential.

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