Sapien Labs Mental State of the World report scored South Africa as the lowest in terms of mental well-being in 2022. Unaddressed mental health conditions among the workforce were noted as being the most concerning. Mental health issues in the workplace cost the South African economy more than R160 billion annually. 

The most common mental health issues in the workplace are anxiety, depression, and stress. 

76% of employees surveyed in the UK admit to experiencing moderate to high-stress levels, with the workload being the most frequently reported stressor at work. 

Professor Renate Schoeman, the head of healthcare leadership at the Stellenbosch Business School, said presenteeism is a bigger problem than absenteeism in South Africa. 

“We often see it in either the lower categories where it’s no work, no pay, but also in the executive seat where people have the belief that they always need to be strong and coping, but they cannot necessarily make good decisions.” 

There is much advice on how to deal with mental health in the workplace, and you should educate your workforce to understand the importance of looking after their mental health at work and let them know that common concerns can be quickly addressed. You can also cultivate an accepting environment that reduces the stigma surrounding mental health and minimises the potential for long-term problems. 

One of the main things that human resources and senior management need to address, is understanding when employees are going through mental health issues. This can be addressed through ongoing employee screening and monitoring, which is becoming more appropriate in the workplace today. 

The ongoing screening will not only deal with risks related to direct financial loss for the company but can deal with the human component of risk, that companies often fail to address. 

Dr Louis Fick, a leader in psychometric assessment in the world of work, says that it is essential that companies should understand their employees, and online psychometrics assessments available today are ideally providing management with the opportunity to do just that; – i.e. understanding and knowing their employees and taking the necessary action for all parties involved to benefit. 

Research proved, beyond any doubt, that there exists a high positive correlation between organisations that are well-informed and involved with their employees and their ever-increasing bottom line; including their market share, client satisfaction, and profitability in the particular economic sector in which they operate. Dr. Fick confirmed that he had also experienced this in his online tests. 

He went on to say that many considered that this was only benefitting the company, but from his 27 international research centres, they had seen huge benefits derived by the employees involved in the organisations. Employees experienced an average of 68% better employee satisfaction, lower absenteeism, less anxiety, depression, stress as well as sound human relations, mental health, and overall wellness. To achieve this win-win situation the organisation needs to have the relevant information and understanding of the employees, who must be willing and able to respond to this positively.   

Sonya Skipp of iFacts says, “We provide the necessary online psychometric instruments to obtain the required information and determine what action to take to roll out the necessary facilities to acquire the benefits mentioned above.” She said that the most effective online psychometric assessments to be considered were:  

  1. Comprehensive Aptitude Profile – This will assist in defining the employee’s career orientation. 
  1. Competency Measuring Instrument – This will determine the employee’s competency levels in conjunction with the Aptitude Profile.   
  1. Integrity Measuring Instrument and Profile Assessments (there are varying levels of these assessments) – This gives a complete integrity orientation of the employee in the workplace. 
  1. Personality At Work – This provides an in-depth personality profile, and is generally recommended for more senior positions. 

Skipp advises that the tests should be considered in conjunction with the risk profile of each position in the company and embraced in the employee screening programme adopted by the company. 

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