Employee engagement and leadership are the most significant challenges to workforce productivity in 2015, finds Morneau Shepell’s 60-Second Survey.

Forty-three percent of respondents cite employee engagement as the major impediment to higher productivity while 22% of employers say leadership is a major impediment.

The challenge that employers face is in knowing how to address these issues effectively in order to increase productivity, says Stephen Liptrap, executive vice-president with Morneau Shepell.

“Ensuring that your workplace is healthy before embarking on other initiatives to drive engagement and increase productivity is essential,” he adds. “Otherwise, you run the risk of having employees who are highly productive for a while, but eventually burn out. This leads to job dissatisfaction, increased turnover and disability.”

A healthy workplace goes beyond employee fitness.

“Physical health and safety is one component,” Liptrap says. “But creating a work environment that manages risks to mental health is a necessary first step to engagement. Employees aren’t going to be interested in helping the organization achieve goals if they’re too stressed or depressed to come to work.”

Many survey respondents understand the significance of good employee mental health in increasing productivity, with almost five times as many planning to focus on workplace mental health over physical health in 2015.

He has two recommendations for organizations wishing to create a healthy workplace: First, reduce the stigma of mental illness by building awareness and educating leaders, managers and co-workers around mental health triggers and treatment. Second, ensure that support services, such as an employee and family assistance program that integrates with other benefit plans, are in place to help employees with personal and professional stress as well as mental health conditions.

“Once you have a healthy workplace, then you’ve created the foundation necessary for higher employee engagement and increased productivity,” he says.

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Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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