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Recruit Right spearheads mental health awareness in the workplace

Posted on October 08, 2019

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A TRAILBLAZING initiative by Recruit Right is making vital inroads into breaking down the barriers of workplace stress.

Skills gained from a programme of mental health awareness training by the Birkenhead- headquartered company are helping to change attitudes towards a condition that’s costing business in the UK 91 million lost working days a year.

In partnership with The Contact Company, one of its biggest clients, Recruit Right is now supporting staff employed in a highly-pressured call centre environment to help set them on the route to workplace wellbeing – for the sake of employees’ own improved health and for the benefit of the business as a whole.

At the centre of the operation are recruitment consultants Elaine Waring and Roger Kay who have just successfully achieved their Level 2 Mental Health Awareness qualification.

Recruit Right director Helen Cornah, whose business is one of the region's biggest suppliers of temporary labour operating in the commercial and industrial sectors, explained: “Working in a call centre environment is intensive. It's extremely stressful and demanding as staff need to give rapid and meaningful responses over the telephone while maintaining a good relationship with customers.

“It’s also a sector where employee retention rates are low and, because we run on-site services at The Contact Company’s headquarters in Birkenhead, realised there could be underlying contributory issues here so set about identifying some causes.

“This is when Elaine became aware of the factors relating to situations like absence and lateness and how important it was to set up a lifeline to those members of staff who were most affected.

“Both she and Roger then began working towards their Level 2 Mental Health Awareness certification. They now have the qualification and know how to recognise warning signs among staff and have the knowledge of how and where to get the right support to help put things right.”

According to the mental health charity Mind, at any one time at least one in six workers experiences common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. Poor mental health is resulting in 91 million lost working days each year in the UK and is annually costing employers between £33-42 billion.

Common signs are employees becoming increasing absent, making more mistakes than normal or having trouble with decision-making and concentration. They may exhibit physical symptoms, such as being constantly tired or suffering from a cold, and may take less care with their appearance.

They can often be a reaction to a difficult life event, such as bereavement or family break-up, but can also be caused by work-related issues.

Helen added: “Business leaders are increasingly acknowledging the importance of workplace wellbeing and, thankfully, mental health awareness is now becoming more prominent in measures to support staff through difficult periods of their lives.

“The part we are playing at The Contact Company will hopefully go some way towards breaking down further barriers about mental health issues and then solving any problems with patience and understanding can contribute to a happy and motivated workforce.”

Claire Singleton, head of HR at The Contact Company, said workplace wellbeing was critical for the future of the business where specific initiatives had now actively been set in place.

She said: “The Contact Company has recently been accredited against the standards of the nationally recognised Workplace Wellbeing Charter and we are focussing on a number of important areas of wellbeing, such as mental health, healthy eating, smoking and physical activity.

“Working in partnership with our recruitment associates is also incredibly important to help ensure there is a strong focus on the mental health and wellbeing of our workforce.”