FTSE 100 firms focusing on mental health see financial results

Rebecca Smith
Employees want workplace training to help support others
Employees want workplace training to help support others (Source: Getty)

The most profitable FTSE firms are leading the way when it comes to discussing mental health in the workplace, according to new analysis by Soma Analytics.

The health startup said firms in the FTSE 100 that addressed the issue of employee mental health and wellbeing issues in their annual reports last year enjoyed up to three times more profit.

Soma said the link suggested firms that care about employee mental health issues to the extent that they report on them publicly are more productive than those that don't.

Read more: Lloyds Bank boss on stress: "It nearly broke me"

The top five firms
1. Reckitt Benckiser
2. Royal Mail
3. Unilever
4. Lloyds Banking Group
5. British Land Company

"Businesses that openly address the issue of mental health in the workplace appear to perform better than those that don’t,” said Johann Huber, co-founder of Soma Analytics. “It’s not possible to say if this is a causal link, but it is a statistically significant and gives a good indication.”

The firm combed through more than 20,000 pages of annual reports for the FTSE 100 firms, finding that the utilities and pharmaceuticals sectors focused most on wellbeing.

And according to a separate study, employees feel clear communication that mental health issues are a valid reason for sick leave would make for a more inclusive workplace.

The report from Badenoch & Clark, part of the Adecco Group, surveyed 1,027 workers to find out what employers could do to create a more positive attitude towards mental health challenges in the workplace.

Along with line managers to deal with mental health challenges, respondents said workplace training for employees and line managers on how to support those with mental health issues would be helpful.

Read more: Men are twice as likely to have mental health problems caused by their job

Guy Emmerson, senior vice president of Badenoch & Clark, said: "Employees who feel discriminated against and unsupported are less likely to remain at their current companies, meaning that business productivity inevitably suffers as a result. In today’s competitive recruitment landscape, organisations simply cannot afford to let mental health fall by the wayside.”

A separate piece of research of 1,037 respondents to coincide with World Mental Health Day found that presenteeism was an ongoing problem. A third of those surveyed by The Hoxby Collective said they suffered mental health problems as a direct result of working rigid hours, including stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia.

Read more: This charity is calling for mental health training in the workplace

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