A new report from the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) reveals the gains employers can obtain when they hire a person with a mental health problem. What are they?
It’s a reality – people afflicted with a mental health illness are often excluded from the job market. For these people, the unemployment rate fluctuates between 70% and 90%. However, the MCHH asserts that hiring them and keeping them working benefits both the employer and the employee. What are the financial and social benefits?
“People with mental health illnesses and problems related to mental health have the skills and talents required to make a contribution, and they will do so thoroughly if employers give them the opportunity,” says Louise Bradley, director general of the MCHH. The report, titled A Clear Business Case for Hiring Aspiring Workers, stresses that the unemployment rate of these people is inconsistent with the current labour shortage.
“Remarkably, the results show an excellent return on investment, which benefits both employers and workers,” says Rebecca Gewurtz, senior researcher. In fact, by creating an inclusive work culture and offering more flexibility, the company will improve working conditions for all employees. This will have an impact on the reduction of absenteeism and attendance, and increasing productivity. It will also contribute to reducing staff turnover. According to a cost-benefit analysis done as part of the study, adopting these measures has generated net projected savings of $56,000 to $204,000 over five years.
On top of that, the financial gains for the workers are worth noting – their net income rise about $31,000 to $67,000 over five years. In addition, in the four case studies carried out in the project, the economic benefit for the organization would represent between two and seven times the cost associate with the adaptation measures put in place for workers. For the worker, this would represent between four and 12 times the cost.
In addition, the benefits are not solely economic, and the study highlights intangible gains. The increase in job satisfaction, improvement in the quality of working life and organizational culture, and even strengthening the organization’s reputation are a few examples.
Finally, the MCHH says, it is important to change the discussion about workers with mental illnesses and recognize that they can be productive employees if appropriate support measures are taken.