The Business Case for Supporting Employees
with Mental Health and Wellbeing
Annual Cost to Businesses
of Poor Mental Health
Absenteeism 8 Billion
Presenteeism 17-26 Billion
Staff Turnover 33 - 42 Billion
33-44 Billion Total Cost to Businesses
£1,205 -£1,506 per employee, per year
This is not just the cost for employees with a diagnosed mental health condition, but for all employees.
Thriving at Work, a review of mental health and employment, Department for Business Innovation and Skills, October 2017
When employees have high standards of SWB
(subjective wellbeing), they:
Are more productive.
Get along better with colleagues and customers.
Recover more quickly from physical illnesses.
Are better able to use cognitive skills and abilities.
Worker Wellbeing and Workplace Performance, Department for Business Innovation and Skills, October 2014
Prioritising mental health and wellbeing makes moral sense, but it makes economic sense, too.
The United Kingdom is facing a mental health and wellbeing crisis. While in many ways society has changed for the better over time, mental health needs are still often not taken as seriously as physical health. This is even though suicide is the leading cause of death for men aged between 20 and 49 (Mental Health Foundation, UK).
Not only is there impact on individuals but on businesses. Awareness of mental health issues are growing and it is more likely now that employees will bring up mental health issues with line managers, colleagues and HR. They also expect employers to support them with mental health and wellbeing. Not doing so can cost employers the best candidates and employees. It can lose them money through sickness absences or presenteeisim.
If discrimination accusations arise, then this can be very time consuming and expensive. It can even result in being taken to employment tribunal. The potential financial losses can be substantial. Mental health conditions are covered by the Equality Act 2010 so there is no upper limit on the the potential damages companies can be expected to pay. Employees can also pursue businesses under health and safety legalisation, if they feel work has damaged their mental health.
PR issues can arise, with potential customers and clients being increasingly concerned with the ethics of how they spend their money.
When employees are supported with wellbeing and mental health they perform better, take less sickness absences and get on better with others. It reduces the risk of disciplinary issues and poor performance, as well as the risk of employees resorting to taking legal action against current or former employers. Publicising wellbeing and mental health success stories can even engage consumers, directly increasing sales.