World Mental Health Day occurs annually on 10 October. This year, their pledge was centred on mental health in the workplace. Sales and recruitment are industries commonly associated with stress, thanks in part to a reputation of tough competition. While the working environment is not the pressure cooker often portrayed, this is not an unfair evaluation. Personal coping mechanisms, a supportive network and a team-working ethic are just a few ways to combat mental distress in the workplace.
Often, the issue is not that employers are uncaring, but are instead confused and lack the confidence to identify and alleviate mental health issues in a working environment. This is unsurprising given the taboo status of mental health throughout all walks of life. Morale and productivity are negatively affected by poor mental health. The best way to ward against the threat is by promoting awareness at the very top-level of your business, to effect a trickle down of information. One of the biggest pitfalls employers fall into is mistaking employee care as the sole preserve of HR.
This year’s Mental Health Day pledge includes the aim of ‘creating an organisational culture which reflects value systems and beliefs’. A metaphor often aligned with sales culture is that of armed conflict. For ammunition see call stats. Rows of desks become trenches and field sales professionals become road warriors. This language may seem aggressive and out of touch, but it does instil a camaraderie and close-knit culture. In the right setting, this collective mindset can strengthen individual resolve.
The Mental Health Foundation, in a recent study, found that more than 65% of employees felt unable to speak to their manager about mental health concerns. Many businesses pride themselves on a culture of openness - but how many actually follow it through to the letter?
We offer employees the opportunity to anonymously complete their own health risk assessment through a wellbeing hub. My employees can speak to legal professionals, qualified counsellors and nurses regarding their financial, mental and physical wellbeing, at no premium. Irrespective of circumstance, those that suffer from mental health issues are saddled with a damaging stigma. As part of Randstad, I’m proud that we seek to dispel this stigma.
Jonathan Fitchew is CEO of Pareto Law