On-site support has increased productivity and decreased absenteeism

BMRA member Binn Group is working with mental health support charity SPEAK, to provide a workplace safety net for employees in a bid to tackle mental health problems. 

Danny McAtear of Binn Group and Rosie McKearnon of SPEAK

In what is recognised as an industry first, Binn Group’s 140 employees get inhouse access to mental health support and assistance including one-to-one peer support which is given by SPEAK founder Rosie McKearnon

Just seven months into the consultancy partnership, the company is already seeing a 4.5% decrease in absenteeism and an increase in productivity and general well-being.

Binn Group HR Manager Danny McAtear explained the advantages of having mental health support on-site: "The waste management industry is regarded traditionally as a tough male dominated environment with workers hiding their stress and emotions rather than opening up and seeking help. Knowing there is someone they can speak to in private on-site, who will be understanding, supportive and non-judgemental, can make a huge difference for employees."

Mr McAtear stressed that many people don't want to raise their issues at home and worry family and loved ones. Therefore, an outlet at work where they will be listened to and supported is seen as a huge advantage. He added that the initiative shown at Binn Group was merely a formalisation of the values held by father and son owners John and Allan MacGregor.

"It's a family business with family values, that's what the company was built on over 20 years ago and what continues to drive it today. This initiative comes right from the top and knowing that has helped workers recognise how valued they are."

To date, around 10 per cent of the Binn Group workforce has stepped forward for that first supportive chat.

"We are now seeing those who have come forward supporting others," said Rosie McKearnon of SPEAK. "You know that when the chat in the locker room changes from 'get a grip’ to 'do you think I could get to speak to her too' that we have breached the barrier. Things are changing and changing for the better. I'm seeing improvements in the workforce every day."