Revista RH – Managers impact mental health as much as spouses

More than two-thirds (69%) of employees said their manager affects their mental health more than their doctor (51%) or therapist (41%), and the same for a spouse or partner.

A survey by software company UKG found that while nine in 10 (91%) HR and c-suite leaders thought that working for their company had a positive effect on employee mental health, far fewer employees (64%) agreed. .

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More than a third (35%) of employees said their manager failed to understand the impact they had on their team’s mental well-being.

Another 40% of employees were often or always stressed about work, but many (38%) said they rarely or never spoke to their manager about their workload.

Alicia Nagar, head of staff at Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England, said managers desperately need training and support to build good, supportive relationships with their team members.

Speaking with HR magazine, she said: “Leaving your worries at the door before starting your workday is simply not possible.

“With most adults spending at least a third of their time at work, it’s no wonder that managers have as much of an impact on a person’s mental health as their partner. With the stakes so high, employers can’t afford not to provide the support and training their managers need to play their role effectively.”

Rebecca Taylor, Business Partner for HR EMEA at the UKG, said the results highlighted the need for HR to bring mental health and wellbeing to the heart of their activities, as the pandemic and the resulting economic instability continue to affect the employees’ mental health.

She said, “While some of the root causes of these pressures are beyond an employer’s control, there are still a number of actions that HR and people managers can take to have a meaningful impact on the employee experience.”

Paying a living wage, relevant benefits, and a good retirement and pension was a good start, Taylor said.

She added, “Another important part of this is supporting employees with their purpose at work and connecting them to their careers, providing opportunities for growth – and regularly recognizing and celebrating successes as they happen.

“It is also crucial that employees have autonomy over their work. Employers must offer flexibility to ensure work fits into employees’ lives and any care needs they may have.”

Giving managers the right training can unlock these positive relationships, according to Nagar.

She said: “It is vital that they are given the training, tools and time to do the job of managing well. This includes having compassionate conversations about mental health.

“Managers help create a sense of purpose and pride in our work and build inclusive team cultures where everyone can succeed. And when everyone thrives, organizations cannot fail to succeed.”

MHFA England will launch a free toolkit for managers on 14th March to help empower them to confidently start conversations with their teams about mental health.

UKG’s Workforce Institute surveyed 3,400 people in 10 countries in autumn 2022.

Revista RH – Managers impact mental health as much as spouses

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