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A Clear Business Case for Hiring Aspiring Workers

Background


The value of quality employment for the maintenance and improvement of mental health for all people is clear and
widely understood. Employment not only provides a paycheck, but also a sense of purpose, opportunities to learn and a chance to connect with others through work. More importantly, work offers hope for improved health and functioning, which is vital in the recovery from mental illness. Research shows that individuals living with a disability (including those living with a mental illness) can be just as qualified, reliable, safe, loyal, and high-performing as their colleagues who do not have a disability Mental health problems and illnesses are the leading causes of disability in Canada, affecting almost seven million working age adults.

Goal


The goal of this research was to generate evidence-based recommendations for employers regarding strategies to foster a productive, engaged, and healthy workforce that can meet Canadian business needs and enhance competitiveness in local, national, and global arenas. The key questions were: What is the business case for employers to recruit people living with a mental illness and what organizational strategies and practices best promote recruitment and retention of people living with a mental illness in Canadian workplaces?


Objectives


The specific objectives of the project were to:

  1. Explore the barriers, opportunities, risks and benefits of hiring and retaining people living with a mental health problem or illness from the perspective of key workplace stakeholders (people living with a mental illness, co-workers, employers) in a range of organizations varying by size and industry;
  2. Identify and describe the costs and benefits associated with hiring, supporting and accommodating people living with a mental illness; and
  3. Identify opportunities and strategies for employers to improve their capacity to successfully hire and retain workers from the Aspiring Workforce.

Conclusion


The strategic decision to actively hire and retain people living with a mental health problem or illness presents clear advantages for diverse Canadian businesses and workers. The findings showcase businesses that have championed workplace mental health and taken active steps to hire and support people with mental illnesses. The business cases presented here provide compelling evidence that the benefits of pursuing healthy work environments for the Aspiring Workforce outweigh the costs. The innovative approach the researchers developed and applied to estimate the costs and benefits of accommodation in this study can be adapted by businesses for use in their own contexts.

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