A new study reveals that the majority of firms do not deem their current mental health support to be fit for purpose although many are attempting to make key strides in this area. 

New research from Aon shows that just under two-fifths of companies (39 per cent) believe that the mental health support offered at their firm is fit for modern-day purposes.

In specific, UK firms assessed themselves least favourably in ‘developing financial security for employees’ with just over a third (37 per cent) of firms managing this positively.

However, a fifth (19 per cent) felt their company was failing in this area while almost half (44 per cent) assessed their practices as neutral, showing financial wellbeing is an area which can be further supported among UK businesses.

Other facets of mental health support included supporting mental health in a way which is practical for the modern day.

Over a quarter of firms (28 per cent) did not feel their companies provided this and a third (33 per cent) took a neutral stance.

However, more positively, many organisations did believe they were carrying out policies linked to inclusion well as well as creating an open, supportive environment.

More than half of UK firms stated they are ‘positively embracing inclusivity’ (58 per cent) and two-thirds agreed they are ‘delivering clarity and purpose for their employees’ (67 per cent). Operating a compassionate and engaging community also ranked highly for companies with almost two-thirds (65 per cent) believing they currently provide this.

Despite support in this area, Aon research revealed that only three in 10 employees are resilient.

Mark Witte, Head of Health and Risk Consulting, Health Solutions UK at Aon, emphasised the importance of resilience among staff, especially during extremely challenging times:

Resilience is the ability to cope with life’s challenges and bounce back from trauma, threats or stress. But while organisations are trying to bounce back from COVID-19, the question is whether UK employers are overly focused on where their people will work and failing to consider if they are resilient enough to actually do the work.

Mr. Witte further continued to explain the necessity of mental health support in the workplace:

While many are working out details of a return to the office, people engagement is not faring as well. Mental health support is a key example; though firms are providing mental health resources, the survey reveals that managers are not confident in addressing mental health issues, their tool kits are not targeting underlying health risks, their communication campaigns aren’t effective enough and leadership don’t have the metrics to track change.

It’s important to base a strategy on your people – listen to their needs and use data to plan effective processes moving forward. Though mental and financial health are the most common problems across organisations, issues will vary between businesses. Analysing relevant data and listening to employees will help identify and respond to gaps in resilience.

*Aon compiled views from 100 UK firms alongside more than 700 global firms to carry out this research.