Wellbeing aid | UK firms planning to adopt AI to help employees' mental health

UK firms planning to adopt AI to help employees' mental health

AI is set to be adopted in workplaces across the country as employers consider new approaches to the mental health crisis, a landmark study by global workplace wellbeing platform Unmind has found.

Unmind's new Workplace Wellbeing Trends report ound that almost nine in 10 HR leaders in the UK are planning to implement AI in their organisation to help streamline people management, including two in five who will use it primarily to help with workforce mental wellbeing, according to the new data.

Key findings at a glance include:

  • 89% of HR leaders in the UK are planning to implement AI in their organisation to streamline people management

  • 86% think AI will be important to the success of workplace mental health strategies by 2030

  • Meanwhile, 72% have noted an increase in mental health-related employee absences in their organisation

  • 49% are unable to measure the impact of employee mental ill health on performance

  • 42% of UK managers currently receive ongoing mental health training

AI dominates HR trends for the years ahead

The research, which analyses trends that will shape mental wellbeing at work between now and 2030 amongst 2000 UK HR leaders, shows that AI will be a priority for HR leaders. The data shows that 86% of those surveyed think AI will be important to the success of workplace mental health strategies by 2030.

Despite fears over the privacy and security implications of AI implementation, HR leaders are optimistic about the impact it will have on their function, with over half (57%) saying it will have a positive impact on mental health at work.

Looking for more

Companies have already started preparing for the implementation of AI to help with workforce mental health, with a third (33%) of HR leaders saying their organisation has a well-established AI protocol in place, and a further 35% saying they are developing their current plan.

Such plans are crucial for a successful deployment of AI, as 43% of HR leaders also worry that the widespread adoption of AI in workplace mental health could lead to a lack of human touch and empathy, while 38% think it could raise ethical issues. However, if implemented correctly, an overwhelming majority (93%) think AI will be important to the success of the HR function by 2030.

Burnout rages across UK organisations

Another trend that dominates the research is the burnout epidemic raging across UK organisations, with 89% of HR leaders agreeing that workplace burnout is a significant issue and a common problem in many organisations. What’s more, 72% have noted an increase in mental health-related employee attrition or absences in their organisation.

Companies appear to be ill-equipped to address the issue, with only two in five (44%) saying that their leadership is fully committed to wellbeing being integral to performance in their organisation.

Half of those questioned (49%) also revealed they are unable to adequately quantify the financial impact of mental ill health on their organisation, with one in 10 (11%) admitting they don’t have enough data to analyse.

UK companies unprepared for evolving regulations

The lack of data on employee mental health could become a bigger issue as regulations on reporting standards for mental health keep evolving. While 40% of HR leaders think reporting on employee mental health within Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) is important for organisational transparency and accountability, only 36% feel that their organisation is well equipped to meet evolving reporting standards.

Over half (55%) of HR leaders say that they are aware of reporting changes, but haven’t fully implemented necessary measures, and only 42% say all their managers and leaders receive continuous mental health training.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Nick Taylor, CEO and Co-Founder of Unmind, said: "There's a widespread issue in the UK of poor training and management of mental health issues in organisations. Our data shows the extensive consequences.

HR leaders and managers have a key role in tackling burnout and mental health challenges within their organisations. They need to go beyond just fixing issues – they should actively create work environments where every employee can flourish.

The potential for AI is profound. It can offer personalised support 24/7 so that employees can overcome challenges and reach their goals. Managers can use AI for instant guidance and tailored education to build strong, psychologically safe teams. But it's important to use AI safely and responsibly, and the tools are built by qualified people.

While this technology is in its early stages, its potential for creating more engaged and productive workplaces is evident. The time to get ahead is now."



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