HR ordered to prioritize mental health as wellbeing plummets

Employers are told keep an eye out for experts to help them with managerial tasks

HR ordered to prioritize mental health as wellbeing plummets

During Mental Health Awareness Week, Employsure New Zealand reminded employers to prioritise mental health - especially as they face increasing pressure from various challenges in the workplace.

"Running a business always has its challenges. Throw in the extreme challenges of a pandemic, prolonged lockdowns, and labour shortages, some employers have been forced to re-evaluate their business models or fold up for good," said Laurence McLean, operations manager from Employsure NZ. "The pressures on employers of keeping their businesses afloat, ensuring they continue to comply with their employer obligations, all while maintaining staff numbers, has taken a toll on employers and it is imperative that mental health becomes a top priority for everyone at the workplace."

Read more: Mental health: How to lead by example

A recent report from Xero found that managing employee processes is negatively impacting the mental health of 36% of small business employers. According to the report, the pandemic and long border closures have affected 66% of employers, who said managing COVID-related business disruptions is one of their biggest challenges.

Inflation on costs and services is also a major concern, according to 65% of the respondents, as New Zealand's inflation rate hits a 32-year high of 7.3% in the June 2022 quarter. Amid these challenges, which also includes New Zealand's "complex set" of employment laws, McLean advised employers to get experts to help them out.

"Employers should consider delegating the implementation of processes and documentation to the experts, allowing themselves to focus on growing their business," he said.

Read more: Mental health: Unexpected COVID-19 benefits

The remarks came as New Zealand marks its Mental Health Awareness Week from September 26 to October 2. To get a better grasp on employees' mental health, McLean stressed the importance of identifying mental health risks and a comprehensive policy that supports staff.

"Identifying mental health risks and a comprehensive and responsive mental health policy are essential documents in properly supporting those who may be suffering and protecting your business," said McLean. "Employers must remember that mental wellbeing is not a destination, it's a continuous process which evolves over time."

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