What should be in a line manager’s wellbeing toolkit?

Line managers offer vital, first-level support to employees, yet training for them to do this is lacking in many organisations. Simplyhealth shares three essential elements that should make up a line manager's wellbeing toolkit

Line managers are often among the first to know at work, when someone has a health concern. Yet poor management can be blamed for many wellbeing concerns.

Our workplace wellbeing research with the CIPD found that over two-fifths (43 per cent) of organisations identify management style as a main cause of stress, and 13 per cent say a lack of employee support from line managers contributes too.

What’s missing is training and support for line managers themselves, and this should include the following elements:

Spotting signs of health concerns

Just 18 per cent of organisations say that their managers are confident and competent to spot warning signs of mental ill-health. Prevention and early intervention is key for good mental health, but for this to happen, managers need to be able to identify when something’s wrong, so they can reach out to employees and help them access the support they need.

Having difficult conversations

Health is a very personal topic, so sometimes the hardest part for managers is broaching the subject – in fact, only 30 per cent of organisations say that managers are confident to have sensitive discussions. Training should include guidance on handling these conversations. It can be made easier by talking at the first signs of an issue, which is why being able to spot signs is important.

Effectively signposting people to support

We can’t expect managers to be health experts, but they must know where employees can access further help. However, less than a third of organisations say managers are confident in doing this. Line managers need to be aware of the tools available to help, such as an EAP or GP service. And of course, how these resources can be accessed.

Undoubtedly, line managers play an important role in workplace wellbeing. We’ve created a guide for managers to support them in helping their teams thrive at work.

All figures are taken from the CIPD/Simplyhealth Health and Well-being at Work 2019 report.