On 12th June several top graduate recruiters such as Mars, Avios, HM Treasury, Whitbread and many others enjoyed the GRN round table event kindly hosted by Hult University. After an engaging Q&A session, GRN members were enlightened with practical advice to go back to their next board meeting. The key takeaways of the event have been summarised below.

1. Empathy. We need to understand the lives of 18-24 year olds before we can begin to help. If this generation seem alien to you then you are not alone. Of course there are similarities across all generations but 18-24 year olds find themselves increasingly under pressure to perform in a job…and socially. Life is competitive. With hyper-protective parents and risk-averse outlooks some are not emotionally mature to deal with the transition into work life.

2. Look to HE. Universities are at the forefront dealing with students day-to-day with mental health issues. Whilst we can’t expect to have the luxury of an in-house GP we can copy some of their best practices. Simple things such as mentoring, having a mental health first aider, peer support, recognising early signs and developing ways to accommodate different working preferences can all make a difference and are simpler to implement.

3. Train your managers. Dealing with staff mental health issues whilst keeping a professional distance can be hard for many line managers. This makes dealing with mental health almost impossible unless you train managers to relax and create other ways to discuss issues that both parties feel comfortable. There are mental health awareness training courses and other external providers to help you make a start. Of course, the hardest part is getting people to talk about these issues so making managers approachable is a step in the right direction.

Other advice is available for the charity Mind and publications such as the HSE Management Standards booklet which came highly recommend by IES. Commenting on the research Dr. Sally Wilson said “Other advice is available from HSE and publications such as ‘Thriving at Work’, an independent review into workplace mental health, commissioned by the Prime Minister in January. The review, co-authored by Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind, provides a user-friendly introduction to good practice based on the latest research evidence.”

This is just a flavour of the topics covered during a typical GRN event. To join please apply for membership and receive invites for future events. Our 2018 events calendar is as follows;

• September 11th 9am-11am. ICAEW, London 

• December 5th 9am-11am. KCL, London

It’s free and a fantastic opportunity to develop as a professional graduate recruiter in your sector with a diverse range of graduate recruiters facing the same challenges.