Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace
Employers can play a crucial role in the wellness of their workforce. Here’s how organizations can take action and be supportive.
Organizations recognize there is a profound connection between an individual’s work life and their mental health. Happy and healthy employees are the backbone of a great organization. How employees feel directly impacts their contribution in the workplace. What’s important for employers to remember is that everybody struggles, and it’s not uncommon for challenges like mental health issues to spill over into the workplace. Organizations that are able to support their employees can help foster a more productive environment, a more positive outlook for their employees. Tomas Chamorro Premuzic, ManpowerGroup Chief Talent Scientist, provides steps employers can take to create a culture that supports mental health.
Foster meaningful work
Employees – especially Millennials – desire to do meaningful work that matches their values, interests, lifestyle and development. When that is lacking, it can lead to disengagement, burnout and depression. “One of the best ways to create a culture that supports mental health is to ensure people experience their jobs in a meaningful and purposeful way,” Premuzic says. “This can be achieved by giving employees autonomy and resources.”
Have career conversations
The impact of work extends to all areas of your employee’s lives. Perhaps the best way to create a culture that supports mental health is to ask employees what they need to be supported and make them aware of additional resources that are available, such as employee assistance programs. Schedule regular career conversations, maintain an open dialogue and truly listen. “It’s also important that managers do not check out from their employees,” Premuzic says. “People need guidance and direction from a leader so the worst thing you can do is disappear or be unapproachable.”
Cultivate connections among colleagues
Cultivating friendships inside your workplace helps workplace mental health as well as your employees’ careers. We spend much of our time at work, so it makes sense that socializing with colleagues can help make work more enjoyable. Encourage connecting beyond the usual project meetings and emails by creating social groups or outings beyond the confines of work. Encourage employees to take lunches or walks with each other during the workday.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which provides a reminder that organizations should routine examine how they provide for employee well-being. But this is a topic that needs regular visitations. After this month is over, remember to make mental health a priority for your organization.