Fairfield HR

Wellbeing of the employee, vs wellbeing of the company… Something to ponder.

As we know, awareness of mental health has never been more prevalent both at home and in the
workplace. Quite rightly, all over the world we’re seeing reforms in mental health policies at work
and attitudes in general. As work takes up a huge amount of our time, it’s become commonplace to
focus on a worker’s mental health to a) bring the best out in them as an employee and b) simply be a
good human being and look after those around us.

For many years now, companies of a certain size have followed the best practice of having one or
more of their employees attend a first aid course for physical emergencies. More recently, a ‘Mental
First Aider’ course is now available too and these are becoming more important and more
commonly attended.

Typically… HR are employed or consulted to help look after the wellbeing of the people within a
business/organisation. So, they may end up being involved in mental health, and becoming the first

But consider this… an HR professional also has the interests and health of the business to look after
too. HR, as well as being people focused, are also driven by numbers and adhere to processes and
procedures when it comes to absence, for example. Suddenly, we might have a conflict of interest
here. On the one hand, your HR Mental Health First Aider is on hand to help protect and nurture
your employee suffering an issue related to their mental health, yet, on the flip-side, he or she also
has to follow an absence policy that could mean the employee is due a written warning, or
ultimately having to leave the business due to incapacity.

It’s not black and white anymore, especially when it comes to mental health. It’s difficult to wear 2
hats and not come across as 2-faced in the process!

So, what can be done? Perhaps it’s a case of having more than 1 mental health first aider. Or
perhaps it’s better to simply separate that particular element away from HR to avoid the

Very much welcome your thoughts!

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