Companies in S'pore in danger of losing talent over mental health and fatigue woes

The lack of financial resources is a main reason cited by employers for not dealing with these issues at the workplace. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - Companies in Singapore are at risk of losing talent over mental health and fatigue woes as dealing with these issues comes low on employers' priorities, a survey found.

Only about six in 10 employers in Singapore, or 66 per cent, are actively taking steps to address mental health challenges, the study said. This number is lower than the global average of 70 per cent, as well as the average of 74 per cent in Asia.

Even fewer employers, about 62 per cent, are taking steps to manage workforce exhaustion here. This is lower than the 66 per cent globally and 69 per cent in Asia.

Conducted by global consultancy firm Mercer Marsh Benefits (MMB), the survey polled 2,600 human resources and risk professionals - people who evaluate business risks at workplaces - from 25 countries and across industries in March. It asked participants what they thought the top risks impacting businesses are.

The survey found that about 92 per cent of companies here regard health and safety as the most serious threat to businesses, compared with 89 per cent of organisations in Asia and 87 per cent of organisations globally.

Mr Neil Narale, who is the Singapore leader of MMB, said the results are worrying as half the workforce in Singapore feel stressed every day, and one in three employees is considering resigning in the next six months.

This means employers will risk losing talent if they continue to put staff's mental health and workplace exhaustion issues in the backseat, he added.

"It's time for employers to prioritise these risks by creating a holistic talent strategy and realigning benefits programmes to better support employees," said Mr Narale.

For example, he said, companies could look beyond medical insurance coverage and implement well-being programmes including therapy, exercise and financial planning.

"When organisations start to put their people first, they will not only attract and retain top talent, but also build a more resilient workforce in the long run," Mr Narale said.

The lack of financial resources is a main reason cited by employers for not dealing with mental health and fatigue woes at the workplace.

Only about 78 per cent of companies surveyed here said they have enough budget to address health and safety challenges at the workplace, as opposed to 85 per cent of companies in Asia and 83 per cent globally, the survey found.

Mr Narale said this could stem from a lack of leadership support to make mental health initiatives a priority, as many do not see an immediate return-on-investment in them.

Companies also need to understand that mental well-being is not a one-off initiative or programme and should be integrated into the company's culture, he added.

Apart from health and safety challenges, survey respondents here also cited cyber security as a top threat to businesses.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.