In a bid to reduce workplace stress as well as improve employees well-being and productivity, companies are more and more looking at ways to combat the phenomenon. One such approach was recently announced in the partnership of Capita Employee Benefits and Connecting with People. Through the partnership, Capita will provide clients with access to Connecting with People's workplace mental health training programmes that help line managers identify stress, and trains an evidence based approach in dealing with stress.
Stress has been associated with a range of negative effects on human well-being. In the UK, stressed employees has become a more pressing phenomenon, with the effect not merely devastating to peoples’ health, but also to the productivity of companies. Dealing with stress, by means of improved pay, reduced surveillance and other measures to reduce stressors, benefits not only the employees but also the employer. In recent years, the dangers of stress and the need to address the problem has become more prominent, leading to the development of a range of services aimed at reducing employee stress.
Connecting with People, founded in 2010, is a not-for-profit company and is the trading name of the Open Minds Alliance Community Interest Company – whose original training dates back to 1993. The company provides an organisational response to mental health conditions; including those leading to suicide and self-harm, and works closely with the NHS, service users and the third sector.
In a move to improve mental health awareness in the workplace, Connecting with People has entered into a strategic partnership with Capita Employee Benefits in order to improve efforts in stress management. Capita Employee Benefits is a UK based employee benefits consultancy formed in 2012, and employs over 2,400 members of staff across 13 UK offices.
The partnership will provide clients of Capita Employee Benefits access to training courses by Connecting with People as part of organisational audits. The courses have had a proven impact on reducing sickness and absence, as well as improving productivity of client employees. As Connecting with People provides professionals with training in a range of evidence based clinical tools, it aids line managers to identify early warning signs of stress, anxiety and depression in the workplace. These trainings follow a modular method designed to build knowledge, skills and compassion based on input from healthcare practitioners, academics and senior business leaders. The workplace training programme itself is between two and four hours in length and provides employees with a toolkit to better understand the stigmas and myths associated with wellbeing.
Alistair Dornan, Head of health management at Capita Employee Benefits remarks that: “Getting mental health right needn’t be difficult. Our focus is to help clients to develop three areas: the employer, the employee and the physical environment. Workplace absence for mental ill health has seen an increase in recent years, despite an overall decline in absence in the workplace for other illnesses. Our own research has found that 75% of UK employees have felt stressed at work in the last 12 months and 45% know a colleague who has given up work due to stress.”
Gavin Peake-Jones, Chief Executive of Connecting with People, says: “Connecting with People trainers have first-hand experience of managing emotional wellbeing in high pressure organisations. This gives them credibility with the people they are training. Our team has senior management experience and have been hand-picked from a range of industry sectors.”