New reporting legislation: implications for workplace mental health
14th January, 2020
Many UK businesses are now subject to statutory reporting requirements under the Companies
(Miscellaneous Reporting) Regulations 2018. Businesses must provide reports to
demonstrate how they have considered the interests of their staff to inform
company decisions. The aim set out by the government is to ensure “...our
largest companies are more transparent and accountable to their employees and
shareholders." This will massively impact when and how businesses utilise
data to report on their most valuable assets - their people.
As we’re now officially in the first
reporting season (from Jan 1st) where employee engagement statements are
required, it’s essential you understand how to meet the requirements of the new
legislation and utilise it to benefit your business. Think of this as an
opportunity to create a human-led business that understands its people and
facilitates the use of reporting to improve mental health and wellness.
Who does it apply to?
The new reporting approach applies to any
UK businesses that fulfil 2/3 of the following:
turnover of more
balance sheet total
of more than £18m;
more than 250
Approximately 10,000 UK businesses will
fall into these categories. Businesses that fail to comply won’t be punished.
However, if they don’t comply the company directors will be committing a
criminal offence! Worryingly many business leaders within this range remain
unaware of the new legislation.
How to comply with the new reporting requirements
The employee engagement statement must appear
in the directors’ report and detail the following information:
engaged with staff
regarded employee interests when making business decisions
What impact has this
had on company decisions
Put simply, businesses must demonstrate
how they communicate with staff and demonstrate how this has created meaningful
dialogue and influenced business decisions and policies.
How a data-led approach will help you boost workplace mental
Every member of your team will have their
own workplace concerns and frustrations. If left undiscussed these will often
manifest into larger issues that can be detrimental to the mental wellbeing of
By implementing a feedback programme you
will have data and insights on your people so you can gauge how everyone is
feeling and easily build relevant action plans to help you combat concerns,
build on successes and create a healthy working environment.
This data can also be used to help businesses launch, analyse and adapt a
wellbeing initiative that fulfils workers’ needs.
Strategies for success
It’s time to
implement a robust feedback programme that helps you understand your people and
improve their mental wellbeing. But how?
Before you embark on your employee engagement reporting
approach it’s essential to communicate the importance of the initiative, how it
will benefit everyone and that no one will “get in trouble” for anything they
say. This will help to create an environment where people feel safe and
empowered to respond. It will also improve the validity of the responses.
The simplest and most effective way to gather, analyse and
segment staff feedback is through people
analytics surveys and solutions.
These solutions will identify focus areas, analyse your data and build reports
for you. Essentially, they do all the heavy lifting so you can focus on action
Create surveys that ask tailored questions around mental
health, stress and workplace happiness. This directly coincides with the
Governments’ “Thriving at Work” reports’ Core Value of “Encouraging open
conversations about mental health.” When the results are in and analysed you
can use the data-led insights to locate focus areas to help inform mental
wellbeing initiatives and action plans.
To get more context into your quantitative survey data you can gather
qualitative data (e.g. comments/discussions) from focus groups and combine the
insights. This ensures your data is robust and you aren’t filling in any gaps
when creating your wellbeing initiatives. The data will also help empower you
in the boardroom and provide a strong business case to put mental health and
wellbeing at the top of the agenda.
This is an opportunity, not a burden
Communication is the cornerstone of a
healthy and thriving culture. By understanding the sentiment of your people and
bringing that insight into the boardroom you will create a happier and
The Happiness Index compiled a global report into workplace happiness and
wellbeing in 2018. The key driver we found was
“Feeling valued as an individual.” If you want to truly demonstrate how much
you value your employees, then creating open dialogue and launching a feedback
initiative that creates positive change off the back of their suggestions is a
great place to start.
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Matt Phelan is Head of Global Happiness with The Happiness Index
As Head of Global Happiness, Matt is responsible for the global expansion of The Happiness Index. His passion is to understand how people experience happiness and his vision is to use data to visualise culture - similarly to how Google Maps visualises the world.
He has a passion for investing and advising businesses that create positive change. He held an advisory role in the mental fitness business Arkeo and still supports its founder.
Matt believes the future of technology is people. He feels it’s important for everyone to understand that we're at a crossroads where we need to ensure that the future of technology has a positive impact on our planet.