Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) and Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing launch mental health guide for recruiters

To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May 2020), the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) in partnership with award-winning employee benefits consultants, Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing (Howden) has launched a guide to mental health for recruiters.

Mental health remains a priority for many in the recruitment sector. Even before the current Covid-19 crisis, the sector was renown as an industry where high-pressure, fast-paced working environments, long hours, targets and busy schedules are all commonplace.

As a result one in four recruiters said they have taken  a sick day in the last year as a result of a mental health issue; nearly two thirds (59%) of recruiters do not feel comfortable asking their line manager for time off for mental health issues[1] and over three quarters (82%) of employees within the Recruitment Sector regularly feel stressed at work[2].

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly had a significant impact on the recruitment sector. The national lockdown means that many UK businesses have been forced to furlough employees, downsize or shut altogether. There has been a significant reduction in working hours across industries like retail and hospitality. Many organisations have put their recruitment plans on hold until the crisis ends and this has had a major effect on recruiters.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC said: “Staff mental health should be at the top of the priority list for CEOs right now – but it shouldn’t leave that position when we reach a new normal. We know from our conversations with thousands of REC members and the 500 client companies in the Good Recruitment Collective that three quarters of employers are worried about the mental wellbeing of their staff.

“In our JobsOutlook survey last month, 68% of employers had offered staff more flexibility to deal with sickness in the family, and most are reaching out to vulnerable staff on issues not related to work. Employers are embracing technology by ensuring teams meet virtually to maintain interaction, and many have gone a step further to bring staff together for virtual socials, as well as work meetings. This kind of social interaction can make all the difference’’.

’During Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re delighted to be launching this guide with Howden. It will support our members with expert guidance and practical steps that they can take to put their people first and look after employees’ mental wellbeing.”

The guide includes advice from leading mental health expert Mark Hashimi, Director of Strategic Wellbeing and considers pressure versus stress and how to spot stress triggers; addressing ‘the elephant in the room’ and the three C’s of culture change; and top tips and resources to support mental health.

It also contains a case study from Simon Dear, CEO of recruitment firm Tangent International. Dear explains how by investing in his employees’ wellbeing and creating a supportive workplace culture, he has seen positive results both in terms of his team’s happiness and the company’s financial performance.

Simon Dear said: ‘’Wellbeing means different things to different people…we all have different drivers and we try to provide a holistic environment, where everyone can thrive and enjoy a positive working life – this results in lower incidences of poor mental health and higher productivity.’’

‘’In recruitment there are pressures, it’s a sales role and some people aren’t suited to it….We have created a safe environment where people can express themselves and it has benefitted our people and our business. Every business line increased by 50% last year’’

Richard Gould, Director of Commercial at Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing said: ‘’the current crisis has seen many businesses focus on looking after their employees’ health and mental wellbeing. There are genuine concerns that lockdown, social isolation and ‘cabin fever’ will present a real threat to employees’ overall wellbeing. Having an effective wellbeing strategy in place, both now and as we return to a new ‘normal’ will be increasingly important as businesses and their workforces start the road to recovery’’.

‘’The recruitment sector will have a critical role play in helping people get back to work and in kick-starting our economy in a post-Covid-19 world. Ensuring that those in the sector are healthy and mentally well will be more important than ever’’.

REC members can download a free copy of the guide here: