The burnout crisis sweeping across UK organisations has prompted almost two in five (42%) HR leaders to consider adopting artificial intelligence (AI) to address workforce mental wellbeing, according to new data from Unmind, a leading workplace and wellbeing platform.

The study, based on insights from 2000 UK HR leaders, highlights that 89 percent of HR leaders are planning to implement AI to streamline people management in their organisations.

Among them, 86 percent believe that AI will play a crucial role in the success of workplace mental health strategies by 2030.

Despite concerns about the privacy and security implications of AI implementation, the majority (57%) of HR leaders express optimism about its positive impact on mental health at work.

Notably, a third (33%) of organisations already have a well-established AI protocol in place, while an additional 35 percent are in the process of developing their AI plans.

A lack of human touch?

However, challenges loom on the horizon, with 43 percent of HR leaders expressing worries that widespread AI adoption in workplace mental health might lead to a lack of human touch and empathy, and 38 percent citing concerns about ethical issues. Despite these concerns, 93 percent believe AI will be integral to the success of the HR function by 2030 if implemented correctly.

The burnout epidemic is a central theme in the research, with 89 percent of HR leaders acknowledging it as a significant issue in many organisations. A staggering 72 percent have observed an increase in mental health-related employee absences. Only 44 percent report that their leadership is fully committed to making wellbeing integral to organisational performance.

Furthermore, half of the HR leaders surveyed (49%) admit to being unable to measure the financial impact of mental ill health on their organisation, with 11 percent lacking sufficient data for analysis.

The study also sheds light on the unpreparedness of UK companies for evolving regulations. While 40 percent of HR leaders deem reporting on employee mental health within Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) crucial for transparency and accountability, only 36 percent believe their organisations are well-equipped to meet evolving reporting standards.

What about poor training?

Highlighting the findings, Dr. Nick Taylor, CEO and Co-Founder of Unmind, stressed the widespread issue of poor training and management of mental health issues in UK organisations. He emphasised the pivotal role of HR leaders and managers in actively creating work environments where every employee can flourish.

Dr. Taylor emphasised the profound potential of AI to offer personalised support 24/7, aiding employees in overcoming challenges and reaching their goals. However, he also emphasised the importance of using AI safely and responsibly.

“While this technology is in its early stages, its potential for creating more engaged and productive workplaces is evident. The time to get ahead is now,” concluded Dr. Taylor.

 

 

 

 

Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.