Human Resources

Support & well-being

Policy for the Management of Mental Well-being

The University is committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment for employees through the management of both physical and psychological hazards.

Further, it recognises that the effective management of psychological hazards is important for high performance and success throughout the University as a result, for example, of increased motivation and efficiency. It is also likely to contribute to reduced sickness absence and improved employee job satisfaction.

The University acknowledges the distinction made by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) between pressure, which can be a positive state if managed correctly and excessive pressure leading to loss of control which can be detrimental to health.

Legal duties to manage psychological hazards in the workplace arise out of The Health and Safety At Work Act (1974) and the Management of Health and Safety Regulations (1999). The HSE provides Guidance on how to comply with these requirements in the form of the “Management Standards for Work-Related Stress”.

Policy implementation

The aims of this policy are to establish an effective and consistent approach to the management of workplace pressure throughout the University and to provide supporting services where cases of stress-related ill-health are identified. Measures that will be taken to support this implementation will include:

  • Risk assessment at an organisational and where necessary a local level in order to identify and minimise potential causes of excess pressure in the workplace. (the organisational level stress risk assessment is included as Appendix 1)
  • Use of information from a variety of sources including the University Staff survey; sickness absence data; and management information to inform risk assessment and action planning
  • Provision of training for managers regarding the legal and practical implications of unmanaged pressure and stress, and their associated responsibilities
  • Provision of training and/or information for staff regarding their own responsibilities for managing pressure and the steps they can expect the university to take
  • Effective management of individuals reporting stress-related ill-health, including provision of support through confidential referral services, for example, Human Resources, Occupational Health, Counselling, Confide
  • Effective and frequent communication during any change process
  • Sensitive and planned management of return to work, following sickness absence
  • Mandatory implementation of workload agreements in academic departments
  • Promotion of partnerships between management, individuals and the recognised trade unions

Responsibilities

Organisational Responsibilities

  • The University Council has overall responsibility for this policy, in particular in ensuring that policies and procedures are designed to achieve compliance with legislation.
  • Human Resources Committee is responsible for overseeing the policy and ensuring its effectiveness.
  • Organisational risk assessment will be carried out as part of the HR section of the University’s risk register.

Deans of School and Directors of Service

  • Ensure that local risk assessments are carried out where there is reason to believe that the organisational level assessment is no longer relevant (for example where there is evidence that the organisational controls are not being fully effective).  The local assessment should, specifically relate to the elements referenced in the HSE management standards :- demands, control, support, roles, relationships and change.
  • Consider how their own personal management style can influence the well-being and performance of those within the School or Section, and take action to modify this where necessary.
  • Ensure that all staff in their area who have management or supervisory roles, understand and act on their responsibilities.
  • Seek to identify symptoms of stress related ill-health at an early stage, provide support to staff who are undergoing difficulties and encourage/arrange referral to other parties as appropriate.
  • In discussion with Human Resources, act appropriately and reasonably on reports from Occupational Health regarding individual staff members.
  • Provide management reports as required.
  • Attend any training arranged to support this policy.

Managers and Supervisors

  • Consider how their own personal management style can influence the well-being and performance of those for whom they are responsible, and take action to modify this where necessary.
  • Ensure that other staff reporting to them (directly or indirectly), who have management or supervisory roles, understand and act on their responsibilities including the effective management of pressure and recognition of stress-related difficulties.
  • Seek to identify symptoms of stress related ill-health at an early stage, provide support to staff who are undergoing difficulties and encourage/arrange referral to other parties as appropriate
  • In discussion with Human Resources, act appropriately and reasonably on reports from Occupational Health regarding individual staff members
  • Attend any training arranged to support this policy

Human Resources

  • Support all staff in implementing this policy
  • Liaise with Occupational Health, managers and individuals to support staff  who have reported stress-related ill-health
  • Contribute to training for managers regarding implementation of this policy and associated procedures
  • Monitor sickness absence data and advise local line management as appropriate

Occupational Health

  • Provide individual support for individuals who have either self-referred or been referred by their manager and/or Human Resources in relation to stress-related ill-health.
  • Where appropriate, and whilst maintaining appropriate confidentiality, provide reports to Human Resources regarding individuals who report stress related ill-health, advising on possible control measures and adjustments.
  • Contribute to training for managers regarding implementation of this policy and associated procedures
  • Contribute to training for employees on measures they can take personally to manage their own health and reduce the impact of workplace pressures

Health and  Safety Service

  • To advise all parties on any matters relating to the application of, and compliance with, relevant Health and Safety legislation.
  • To support local managers with the assessment of local stress and anxiety issues where required and to provide appropriate forms and tools for the effective diagnosis of the issues involved.

All Employees

  • Comply with this policy and related procedures
  • Take reasonable care of their own health and safety and that of others likely to be affected by their actions.
  • Report as appropriate, if they believe that their own health is at risk as a result of workplace pressures.  Ideally, this report should be made to the line manager but where this could be problematic, initial discussion may be with a Human Resources Adviser or Occupational Health Adviser in strictest confidence.
  • Support colleagues and treat them with respect.
  • Where appropriate, raise with management cases where colleagues are displaying signs of stress-related ill-health.

Further information

Further information is available from the following

Managing the Causes of Work-Related Stress; a step-by-step approach using the Management Standards (HSE 2nd edition, 2007).  See http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/index.htm

Current support

General Training for Managers

  • Managing Sickness Absence
  • Monitoring Sickness Absence
  • Difficult conversations for Managers and Leaders
  • Becoming a resilient manager
  • Delegating authority in the workplace
  • Becoming an effective leader
  • Bullying and Harassment
  • Respecting diversity
  • Coaching to enhance performance
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Managing Change
  • Leading Innovation and Change
  • Probation Review
  • Performance and Development Reviews
  • Performance and Development Reviews for Reviewers
  • Recruitment and selection

Training to Support Individual Coping

  • Building your own resilience
  • Building your own resilience (follow up)
  • Mindfulness
  • Time Management
  • Assertiveness Skills
  • Dealing with Change

On Line Resources (Managers’ Toolkit)

  • Stress in the Workplace
  • Recognising symptoms of stress
  • Common causes of workplace stress
  • A useful approach to stress management
  • The Manager’s role in Preventing Stress
  • Top Tips for Managing Employee Burn out
  • How Well do I Manage Stress in my Team
  • Helping Employees return after a Stress Related Absence
  • How to Manage Stress in Your Team

Wellbeing and Preventative Actions

  • Mandatory PDRs
  • Mandatory Workload Planning (academics)
  • Flexible working
  • Sport and leisure facilities and classes on campus
  • My lifestyle – free sports on campus
  • Campus walking routes

Support Once Issue Raised

  • Staff counselling
  • Occupational Health *
  • Mediation
  • Helpline (UCU Members)