Experiencing poor health symptoms amongst your workforce means your enterprise is not performing at its full capacity or productivity. The symptoms of an individual’s ill health may be obvious but the root cause within the organisation may be more difficult to identify.
Individual health problems may be physical or due to mental ill health. While people do get ill even in the most caring of work environments, a high incidence of absenteeism or behavioural or performance issues can be remedied through early intervention. This is especially true with mental health issues, such as stress, depression or anxiety. This is the number one reason for sickness absence in the UK workplace today.
Stress is a state when the pressures on an individual exceed their coping capacity. The sources of pressure for an individual may be due to organisational, personal, and home factors, or a mixture of all three.
Organisational level symptoms
Organisational sources of pressure may relate to:
- Control / lack of control
- Demands of the job
- Support / lack of support
High staff turnover
Any of the above pressures may cause your staff to leave. You may find you’re on a constant recruitment drive to find and train good people to plug the holes in your workforce. Cohesion and team spirit take time to evolve and with a high staff turnover, morale may be low.
Perhaps your staff won’t leave, they’ll just call in sick. Again and again. Recurrent short-term or long-term absenteeism really hits productivity and profit.
You may also find that you won’t be able to keep these problems within the walls of your company. Mistakes will be made, targets will be missed and customers will get angry with late deliveries and broken promises.
Mistakes will be made, targets will be missed and customers will get angry
Do not be reassured by a low sickness absence figure. If you are a tight knit company with a healthy team ethos, then your staff may decide to weather the storm and come into work, even if they feel unwell. Presenteeism is defined as coming into work with either physical or mental health symptoms. These affect productivity.
Staff fall in and out of loyalty with a company. They often feel that they don’t want to let the side down. In addition they are fearful that they won’t meet their targets and feel they have to come in to keep their job secure. On the face of it you have good attendance, but your organisation is not working at peak performance. Employees can resent being at work when they really should be recovering at home. Resentment spreads virally through the organisation, cultivating an ‘us and them’ approach between workforce and management. This can result in bad-mouthing of your company and can ruin your reputation.
The health and well-being of your business really does begin and end with the health and well-being of your people.
The first step in ensuring your business stays healthy is to implement methods of measuring. Just like an individual diagnosis, you need to find out which parts of your organisation are unwell, before prescribing a solution.
It’s important to measure in order to manage. Overarching reports are necessary when measuring metrics such as labour turnover, absenteeism, private medical insurance and income protection claims, and the percentage of employees using employee assistance programmes.
Staff fall in and out of loyalty with a company. They often feel that they don’t want to let the side down.