A RECRUIT Right workplace partnership is championing change to bring staff mental health issues further into the open.
To coincide with Time to Talk Day today (February 6), the business is raising awareness of the need for employers to break down the barriers that are causing stress among their workforce – for the sake of employees’ own improved health and for the benefit of the business as a whole.
Already, Recruit Right is working closely with The Contact Company to support staff employed in its highly-pressured Birkenhead-headquartered call centre environment to help set them on the route to workplace wellbeing.
At the heart of the operation is recruitment consultant Elaine Waring with a Level 2 Mental Health Awareness qualification, she is able to recognise warning signs among staff and have the knowledge of how and where to get the right support to put things right.
Time to Talk Day, an initiative being co-ordinated by Time to Change, a national social movement working to change the way people think and act about mental health issues,
has already reached millions of people and begun to improve attitudes and behaviour.
However, 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, said: “Our partnership with The Contact Company is a unique project where Elaine, working on-site, is identifying root causes of staff problems and taking action to alleviate them.
“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.
“But there’s a lot more to be done as mental health is a condition that’s costing business in the UK 91 million lost working days a year - change and attitudes need to change to turn this around.”
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, and the annual cost to UK employers is between £33-42 billion.
Common signs are employees becoming increasingly 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 reacting to a difficult life event, such as bereavement or family break-up, but their problems can also be caused by work-related issues.
Explaining the partnership with The Contact Company, Helen said: “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 there, we discovered 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.
“The part we are playing there 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, added: “The work that Recruit Right is doing to break down barriers and support good mental health in the workplace is really important to us here at The Contact Company.
“We were accredited against the Workplace Wellbeing Charter last year and we are putting mental health at the heart of our employee wellbeing focus over the next 12 months.”