Creating a workplace culture which supports mental health

To mark the Mental Health Foundation’s Mental Health Week 2019 (13th to 19th May), we’re looking at mental health in the workplace and some of the initiatives we have introduced here at Pure to create a workplace culture which supports the mental health of our team.

As the leading professional recruitment company in the East of England, we recognise that our people are at the heart of our business. Our industry is fast-paced and has many highs and lows, so we believe it is crucial to offer our employees the mental health support they need throughout their career.

Positive mental health is also critical for people to be productive and engaged, which impacts on business success and client experience. Research by the Mental Health Foundation shows that addressing wellbeing at work can increase productivity by as much as 12%. It can also have a significant impact on reducing sickness absence, as 70 million workdays are lost each year due to mental health problems in the UK.

There are simple and inexpensive measures that all employers can put in place to support the mental health and wellbeing of their staff. The Mental Health Foundation has a range of free resources to help employers and we’ve also shared some of what we have been doing here at Pure as examples.

Supportive culture

We live by our values in everything that we do, one of which is ‘Pure Supports’. This includes supporting our employees to progress, supporting each other and creating a supportive workplace which is as mentally healthy as possible. We work hard but in a fun culture where we foster and celebrate teamwork. We support our employees to create a positive work-life balance through part-time and flexible working options and we all work genuinely sensible office hours. We encourage and support our consultants to focus their energy on building relationships not on meeting pressurised volumes or targets. We know that our people are integral to our success and we provide long-term, professional careers in which people’s enthusiasm and talent are supported by our resources and training.

Wellbeing policy and mental health strategy

We believe healthy employees are happy employees and we encourage workplace health with initiatives including free fruit in the office, cycle to work schemes and subsidised gym membership. Exercise and eating well have a positive impact on our mental health, but our wellbeing policy also includes a mental health strategy as well as covering physical health. Through staff surveys, our employees are encouraged to feed into our wellbeing policy and we are continuing to develop our initiatives as a result, including offering wellbeing sessions on mindfulness and stress management, lifestyle and fitness guidance and access to counselling.

Mental health first aiders

We have a trained Mental Health First Aider who works with our managers to support them in supporting their teams. We recognise that our line managers play a crucial role in supporting staff who may be experiencing mental health problems. We want to ensure they have the support they need to develop compassionate and effective relationships and feel equipped to line manage anyone who does have a mental health problem or who is showing signs of distress.

Mental health champions

We have trained a team of employees to become Pure’s Mental Health Champions. Their role is to offer support and advice to employees who are struggling with mental ill-health and to help increase mental health awareness across the business and to reduce stigma and discrimination. By raising awareness of mental health and having dedicated mental health champions we will be helping our employees to support each other. It can sometimes be easier for other people to spot early warning signs of mental health problems, such as uncharacteristic mistakes, appearing distracted or becoming more isolated than it can be to see these traits in ourselves.

Signposts to support

We have also introduced a ‘mental-wellbeing board’ in all four of our offices around the region. These highlight signs to help our employees identify if someone may be struggling, tips on how to support each other and signposts to find relevant advice, helplines and positive coping strategies.

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