Would your company survive a mental health check-up?
How would you feel if one of your employees told you they were suffering from mental illness? A decade ago this might have been a difficult question. Now, most companies have got across the issue, and offer support to their workers to manage them back to health.
Now, what if someone told you that your business was mentally unwell? This is a much more confronting issue for management, but one that has been brought to the fore this week by Beyondblue’s chairman, Jeff Kennett, as he addressed the Business Council of Australia (BCA).
Kennett wants to see CEO pay – in particular their performance bonus – tied to the mental health of the business. The former Victorian premier, who has spent 15 years campaigning for better recognition of mental health, suggested ignoring the issue simply leads to an impact on business performance.
Speaking to The Australian, Kennett noted the “bigger factors were absenteeism and ‘presenteeism, where people turn up to work performing below their norm.’ "
This was noted by BCA Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott. “We need to take these things very seriously because these things at a kind of bottom line result in unplanned absenteeism, they cost businesses money,’’ she said. “They’re not just feel-good things. These are real economic things. That’s why the Business Council is interested and passionate about this.”
There are a couple of ways that mental health of a business can be monitored – including the tracking of sick days and circulation of anonymous staff surveys. As these techniques improve, businesses are not only installing gyms and showers to improve the physical health of their employees, but also managing their stress and productivity levels to develop a complete approach to ‘wellness’.