Workforce Mental Health Issues: A Silent Killer of Productivity and Profit
Workforce mental health issues can have a significant impact on the bottom line. The cost of absenteeism, presenteeism, and turnover can be staggering, with estimates suggesting that the cost of mental health issues to UK employers is £34.9 billion per year. This can include direct costs such as medical expenses, workers’ compensation, and disability claims, as well as indirect costs such as lost productivity and increased turnover.
Absenteeism is the most obvious impact of workforce mental health issues. According to the Mental Health Foundation, employees with mental health issues take an average of 23.8 days off per year, compared to 6.6 days for employees without mental health issues. This can lead to increased labor costs, as organisations are forced to find temporary replacements or pay overtime to other employees, which can amount to around £1,300 per employee per year. Additionally, absenteeism can lead to decreased productivity and morale, as other employees are forced to pick up the slack.
Presenteeism is another. Employees who are struggling with mental health issues may come to work, but may not be able to perform at their best, leading to an estimated £15.1 billion per year in lost productivity. Additionally, presenteeism can lead to decreased morale, as other employees may feel resentful that they are carrying the load for their struggling colleagues.
Staff turnover can also increase. Employees who are struggling with mental health issues may be more likely to leave their jobs, which can lead to increased hiring and training costs, as well as decreased productivity and morale. According to a report by Deloitte, the cost of replacing a single employee can be as much as £30,614. Additionally, turnover can lead to a loss of institutional knowledge and valuable skills, which can be difficult to replace.
To address the impact of these issues on the bottom line, organisations can take a number of steps. One of the most important is to create a culture of openness and support. Employees should feel comfortable talking about their mental health issues and seeking help, without fear of discrimination or retaliation.
Additionally, resources and support for employees who are struggling can help. This might include employee assistance programs, counseling services, and mental health days.
Finally, all organisations can be more proactive in identifying and addressing potential mental health issues in the workforce. This might include conducting regular employee surveys, monitoring absenteeism and turnover, and providing regular mental health screenings. By taking these steps, organisations can reduce the impact of workforce mental health issues on the bottom line and create a more positive and productive work environment for everyone.