A report on our second HR Round Table.

Dec 17, 2020

We were delighted to host the second of our HR Round Table events on the 12th November 2020. The aim of this group is to share the issues exacerbated by Covid-19. In this session we focused on Mental Health; a subject that demands respect. We were joined by Michael McTernan who combines artificial intelligence and therapies like mindfulness-based CBT, creating engaging apps/bots that help young people manage their mental health. Michael draws on his experience as a CEO of four companies, his background in mobile and digital services, and his voluntary work as a mindfulness teacher and counsellor.

Below is a summary if the most important elements of our 75-minute Zoom. If you would like a full transcript, please get in touch.

  • Tools and Apps such as Headspace are not useful if the cause and root of the problem has not been discovered and understood
  • We mostly misunderstand what Mental Health means
  • Conversations around how you are feeling are often most effective when on a peer to peer level
  • It is important to engage the most senior leaders in the conversation to show genuine care and admit to their own vulnerabilities
  • Mental Health initiatives should be recognised as an investment in people and cultures are changing and developing in this area
  • Good initiatives are in place and working well – such as chat rooms and videos for all companies to engage with senior leaders on a very personal level
  • It is important that HR leaders accept their limitations and explore partners to work with who can provide professional help where necessary
  • Measuring the cost and impact of Mental Health on the company needs work and many issues relating to this were previously unnoticed but Covid-19 has brought them into focus
  • The cost of lack of productivity due to Mental Health issues is estimated at one hundred billion pounds per year. This is both from absenteeism and poor performance when in work and unwell
  • Changing cultures around Mental Health is hard but it helps if it is given a human face and that colleagues use intuition to support and often before things get to crisis point
  • Upskilling mangers on dealing with Mental Health is essential
  • When dealing with a global workforce there are noticeable differences in culture but also an opportunity to learn from each experience
  • Research shows that the average person is willing to spend £20 per month to improve their sports performance but only £15 on their Mental Health performance
  • It is often the middle and senior managers that are less aware and reluctant to face their Mental Health challenges
  • There is passion and commitment to support the health of colleagues and HR are leading this with the help of the right experts and initiatives
  • There is a lot of work to do and to build on all the good efforts to date and further strain with additional Covid-19 waves and longer periods of isolation.

By Cathy Kay


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