Currently, one in six workers is dealing with mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, or stress. That’s more than 15% of workplace staff across the UK.
With such high numbers, it’s important for managers and HR staff to support employee mental health to the best of their abilities.
In this article, we’ll discuss the rise in awareness of staff mental health and well-being. This guide will explore tips and tricks for business managers to apply to their daily work lives in order to support employee mental health.
How and Why Should You Care About Employee Mental Health?
Before we address the “how,” it’s important to mention why should business managers and leaders care about employee mental health, and the simplest answer is that a healthy and happy employee is a productive employee.
Employees are more likely to be satisfied and productive at work when they’re healthy and engaged.
By prioritising employee mental health and well-being, managers help create a supportive environment in which employees may bring their best to work, which ultimately benefits the business.
A strong culture and focus on employee mental health and well-being can reduce employee turnover, which reduces onboarding expenses. The increased retention will have a positive effect on the customer relationships and help protect the institutional knowledge, ensuring that the company and industry experience isn’t lost because individuals aren’t happy with their existing roles within the company.
The mental health and well-being of a company’s employees should be a critical concern for leadership teams aiming to establish a strong corporate culture, improve employee retention, and in turn, boost the company’s revenue. Here are several ways that managers may promote mental health and help foster a secure and open workplace culture:
Learn About Mental Health Issues
Mental health issues concern us all, and you don’t have to be a psychiatrist or a psychologist to learn about them. Everyone (not just leadership and management) should learn about mental health issues. Mental health issues are the leading cause of long-term staff absence for approximately 20% of businesses.
Educating the management sector in your company starts with mental health and stress management, and because feelings of depression and anxiety are so common and frequent, it’s critical that everyone understands how to identify early warning signs.
Some warning symptoms are more noticeable than others, and the quality of workplace relationships and connections can determine whether proactive support is provided or not. It’s important for managers to build a culture of trust and support within a company or organisation, which would enable them to identify any changes in individual employees’ behaviour.
Even more importantly, your colleagues and coworkers will be more likely to share what they’re going through emotionally and physically.
Identify the Cause of Stress
While stress isn’t an illness in and of itself, it can lead to illnesses like depression and anxiety, which are some of the most common mental health issues in the workplace. Insomnia, tiredness, a loss of focus, and plenty of other stress-induced major physical health issues. Here are the main causes of work-related stress:
- The quantity of work an employee has to deal with
- The amount of control over said work
- Lack of support from management
- Relationships at work
- Feelings of uncertainty or insecurity over work
Tracks Employee Performance
The well-being of your employees has a direct impact on their motivation, engagement, and productivity at work. Monitoring for changes in employee performance can help you provide support to anyone experiencing difficulties. Performance tracking doesn’t have to be intrusive; consent-based performance tracking tools may automatically record and share this information with you on behalf of the employee. Pay close attention to:
- Hours and overtime
- Leaves of absence
Normalise Mental Health Talk
The most important thing any manager can do to improve mental health is to break down stigmas. Leaders frequently promote physical health among their employees, letting them know that it’s fine to address ailments and needs as they emerge, and they should not be hesitant to do the same with mental health.
Regular one-on-one meetings are extremely beneficial in this regard. Managers should encourage discussion of work-life balance concerns rather than merely going through a checklist of initiatives. That way, they’ll be able to discuss personal experiences and solutions for stress management and mental health care.
However, it’s also really important not to pressure anyone into discussing their mental health or any other acute or chronic conditions, physical or psychological. Instead, focus on creating opportunities for employees to destress and creating a safe and welcoming working environment.
Prioritise Well-Being Throughout the Company
Effective mental health support must be built into the fabric of how your company operates, acts, and thinks. The first step is to communicate to your employees that their mental health will be actively supported on the same terms as physical health. This includes sick days to manage their mental health but also entails investing in the development of an open and supportive workplace culture in which individuals feel comfortable seeking help and sharing experiences.
Beyond that, you’ll need concrete policies and methods to ensure that people receive the assistance they require. This includes creating clear channels for voicing concerns, protecting spaces for two-way communication, providing access to tools and information, ensuring that people with mental health issues are heard, and including mental health in employee inductions and training.
Lead By Example
Leadership actions have a significant impact on employee behavior. No matter how many positive policies you promote, if you aren’t putting them into action, your employees will not feel empowered to do so. Leading by example is one of the most direct ways to communicate to your employees that their well-being is important.
Employee mental health greatly benefits from open and supportive workplace environments, and when the management communicates with openness, it encourages other team members and employees to do the same.
When you look out for your employees, you establish yourself as not only a caring manager but also an emotionally intelligent leader. Creating a safe and secure culture on purpose can go a long way, and when leaders see their employees as individuals, and not just their workplace roles or titles, everyone benefits.