Following our discussions with individual users of the My-E-Health® program, here one of our business clients is offering us an employer's point of view of their experiences of the program.
Arkatay Consulting AB of Malmö, Sweden provides specialist project management services and education globally. The business is highly purpose driven, both in its business offerings as well as in the development of their internal business. A core value in the second category is to be an employer of choice and a workplace where people are free and empowered to grow and develop their skills and themselves.
The business employs project management consultants whose work requires not only subject matter knowledge but also high-level communication, situational awareness and creative and analytical thinking.
Needless to say, the consultants work under a lot of pressure. They need to perform and deliver as there is a lot at stake for the company's clients with big investments in both time and money. As such, Arkatay has a deliberate strategy of creating and maintaining a great working environment, where the risk of mental fatigue, anxiety, stress and burnout is proactively minimised.
Jonas Denvall, Founder and Management Consultant, explains:
“It was a strategic decision to invest in staff wellbeing and a natural part of our duty of care as an employer. There was no specific incident or problem that made us decide to co-operate with My-E-Health®. What we wanted was a systematic approach for identifying, reducing and preventing the risk of mental health issues from happening at all.”
Arkatay did its due diligence and looked at various solutions to find a system that met their needs. Following a trial period, the corporation started the collaboration with My-E-Health®.
A year into the program, Arkatay's statistics show that the overall mental wellbeing is stable and sustainably improving over time. As shown in the in My-E-Health's Engagement measure, Arkatay's employee engagement was at an all-time high (equivalent to 94% out of 100%). Whilst a few staff members were hesitant to commit to it, overall, the response from staff has been very positive. All Arkatay staff, irrespective of their role, are involved in the mental wellbeing program. Everyone takes the quarterly assessments and attends a one-hour coaching session and everyone is invited (but not required) to share their experiences of the program in regular meetings.
Jonas shares his thoughts about the impact on the business and the opportunities:
“I see two separate benefits. Firstly, by reducing stress and promoting mental health we support our people and our business. With less sick leave and with our employees being productive at work, we also have a financial benefit. The program is making a significant difference in this regard — we believe our employees are feeling safe and are provided with the psychological safety needed to progress. Secondly, you can create business value through increased motivation, mental health and agility, which is what we're aiming to achieve as this relates directly to our business objectives.”
With staff wellbeing and stress reduction being the primary goals, Arkatay's results show that their commitment is paying off as they have top scores for engagement (93.7%) and very low scores on stress (3.33 out of a maximum score of 20).
But what about the bottom line? The actual numbers, which no business can disregard. Does mental health and wellbeing translate into actual savings and/or profits?
So far, we haven't been able to exactly quantify the effects of the program in terms of money. Instead, we have applied mental productivity, or engagement, which has proven to be a reliable measure that can be quantified against salary expenditures. Deloitte measures the cost of Presenteeism* by multiplying a company's sick leave percentage with average salary costs multiplied by 4.11. Either way, employers and boardrooms haven't had yet had a precise measurement tool.
Nonetheless, Jonas provides us with a considered estimate for Arkatay. In his view, the likelihood of a staff member taking sick leave due to stress or burnout has gone down dramatically from about 30% to less than 10% in any year prior to becoming a member of the My-E-Health program. This estimate is supported by the results of their systematic prevention work. For example, Stress decreased by -22.3% this past year. The associated decreases in risks for Depression, Anxiety and Burnout are shown in the graph.
So, what's next?
The My-E-Health® program is evolving all the time. There's now a feature that allows businesses to measure the financial aspect of mental wellbeing by calculating Productivity cost related to Psychological Engagement. This can be expressed as days lost, or financial cost if salaries are submitted.
We know that factors such as Adaptability, Motivation, Stress, Situational- and Self-awareness all contribute to degrees of Burnout, Anxiety or Depression. Together with several other psychological indicators that affect engagement, we can extrapolate the numbers and thereby obtain the actual financial cost for presenteeism. This means that boardrooms and employers can now see, in real time, via their My-E-Health company dashboards, what presenteeism costs in real money when staff are mentally disengaged from their work.
The concept of the Circular Economy comes to mind. With a focus on the so-called triple bottom line: Profit — People — Planet, it's a framework for how to conduct sustainable business through the interrelated activities of care for people, focus on money and care for the environment. We see that the My-E-Health® program, as a business partner, has a direct impact on at least two out of the three pillars —care for people — which supports the financial bottom line.
Back to Arkatay, a business that has woven sustainability into its overall strategy and daily activities. The business, seen as an entity, has an open mind and sees great business value in reduced stress and risk for burnout. It believes that all employees and leaders are responsible for the individual and overall wellbeing in the business. Living its values, the business involves everyone in this work. Shared responsibility, shared success.
Last but not least, a somewhat surprising finding and some food for thought. During the “Corona quarter” — from March to June, with a world in chaos and many businesses in dire straits, Arkatay employees actually reported increased wellbeing and less stress.**
Our sincere thanks to Arkatay through Jonas Denvall for sharing the company's experiences of the My-E-Health® program.
* When employees decide to be present at work whilst they are feeling heavy psychological pressures of work stress, burnout, anxiety and depression resulting in low- or non-productive work.
** Arkatay statistics March-June 2020:
- Increased Engagement +9.98%
- Employee Risk levels for Burnout -29.87%
- Anxiety -27.03%
- Depression -28.86%
- All-time low Presenteeism 6.3%