According to one Forrester study, most senior leaders agree that mental wellness is important in the workplace, but only 23% say mental health factors into their decision making.
Right now, discussions about how to support, manage, and improve mental health at work are occurring on a global scale. The pandemic has prompted a reevaluation of employee engagement and company culture for many organisations.
Discover below how organisations can make the right investments into employee wellbeing by prioritising mental health.
In the past, employees have often been too nervous to tell their manager about mental health problems, which usually means problems worsen or spiral out of control. It’s time for organisations to send a clear signal to staff that they value their wellbeing.
- Explaining your policy on mental health: Avoid allowing stigma to build around the concept of mental health. People should feel free and comfortable discussing their anxiety, depression, stress, and other concerns.
- Leading by example: If your employees hear you being honest about mental health issues, they’re more likely to feel comfortable talking about their challenges.
- Hosting regular discussions: Have discussions about mental health. These can be as simple as talking about how people have felt during the week and whether they’ve encountered any particularly stressful experiences.
While Gen Z and younger generations are more used to talking openly about their mental health in the modern world, that isn’t true for every employee.
A good way to support those who struggle to discuss their concerns in person is to allow them to share their thoughts through an app or your team collaboration tool.
For example, AAI have recently partnered with Trickle, the employee engagement app that allows employees the opportunity to make suggestions, raise concerns and reach out for support in real-time. Tech like this could be vital for your organisation at a time when many lack the confidence to speak up. For more info, just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consider how each of your employees might want to approach discussions about mental health too. While some of your team members will want to chat with the entire group in a comfortable and neutral space, others prefer more one-on-one conversations.
Managers and supervisors need to have supportive conversations with employees about what they need to thrive. This should be a two-way discussion about the nature of any changes required.
In these conversations, managers should:
- Encourage employees to seek additional support: Remind your employees that while you’ll do everything you can to assist them, they should still seek support.
- Ask what they personally can do: Some employees need understanding from their manager about the nature of a mental health condition so they can make requests for time off in the future or adjust to working hours or patterns.
- Ask what the company can do: Discuss what the wider business can do to address the unique needs of each individual. This might include providing them with extra training, coaching, or mentoring, to help them improve their confidence in their job. It could also mean delegating more tasks to a wider range of employees to reduce the pressure on a team member and lower the risk of burnout.
Create a Wellbeing Policy for your Company
A wellbeing policy is a good way to get everyone in your business on the same page about mental health. Similar to a remote or hybrid work policy, this document will describe the kind of environment you’re trying to build and how your employees can contribute.
Look at both physical and emotional wellbeing in your policy. The document should include:
- Insights into who your employees can speak to in their team if they need to discuss a health issue and how they can submit information anonymously if necessary.
- A clear statement sharing your commitment to developing the working environment your employees need for good physical and mental health.
- Information about wellbeing initiatives you already have in place for your employees to take advantage of. This can include data about your available mental health resources, as well as any tools you have on offer for physical wellbeing.
Prioritise Flexibility and Inclusion
Creating a more inclusive workplace where everyone can feel comfortable, supported, and productive at work is the best possible outcome of a successful wellbeing initiative. Listen to each of your employees individually and develop an action plan based on what you learn.
Giving your team members the freedom to work from home or avoid coming into the office on certain days may be helpful. This could allow staff to take control of their own mental health needs without requiring them to ask for help.
Adjusting Recruitment with a Focus on Mental Health
Crucially, supporting and cultivating good mental health in your workplace will also impact the way you recruit and appeal to new employees.
Start by drawing attention to the mental health initiatives you’re running on your business website or encouraging staff members to talk about their experiences on review forums.
Remember to consider the interview and onboarding process carefully too. An online interview might be more comfortable for someone with anxiety than attending one in person.
But first, it’s important to ensure you’re working with a compassionate, downright decent recruitment partner who understands the significance of mental health in the workplace.
By aligning your recruitment practices with a focus on mental health, you not only demonstrate your dedication to creating a supportive workplace but also position your organisation as an attractive and compassionate employer.
Getting a little extra help with everything from recruitment to job-description writing and onboarding could be just the tipping point you need for staying competitive in a skills-short environment. Reach out to us at email@example.com.