One in Three Employers Admit ‘Company Culture Is Causing Stress’

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July 29, 2019

By Adam Saville

New research has revealed that 57% of employers realize they have to increase the focus on helping staff build resilience at work and only 40% believe they are doing enough.

Meanwhile, nearly two out of three (66%) employers questioned said organizational resilience has to come from the top.

According to the report by MetLife, entitled “Mental Health and Stress: Building Employee Resilience in the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” found that more than a third (34%) of employers were aware of stress being caused within their own workplace.

The research also showed differing views between employees and employers regarding workplace expectations—just 37% of employees believe their employer was honest at recruitment stage about job demands, while more than half (56%) of HR leaders believe that stress risks are made clear.

Progress is being made, however, the report suggested, with 64% of employees saying that their organization offered support, compared to MetLife’s 51% finding in 2014.

“What employees feel is real, and despite views from management that they are taking action, it is clear that more needs to be done,” said Adrian Matthews, employee benefits director at MetLife. “This shouldn’t deter employers. Whilst some programs come with a cost, many initiatives can be created and implemented that do not.

He added that the report found that 84% said employers lacked clarity on best practice to address mental health issues in the workplace. “It may be that the explosion of interest in the topic is leading employers into inaction, and this is a very clear opportunity for employee benefits consultants, in tandem with insurance providers to step up and help,” he said.


Sir Kenneth Olisa, OBE, who wrote the foreword to the report, added: “Workplace stress management isn’t just a matter of social justice, it is also a matter of competitive advantage. The practical advice in this report is a good basis for a strategy to change the way we work.”

He said having a three- to five-year objective is crucial. “The message of MetLife UK’s report is clear—don’t relegate stress management policies to the appendices of your employee handbook,” he concluded. “Bring the topic to the front and encourage everyone to read it and to act upon it.”

The report also focuses on the role of the line manager and the usage of employee assistance programs (EAP). It recommends organizations should enhance communications and ensure employees are awards of support available within their workplace.

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