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How to Make Mental Health a Priority in the Workplace

The global COVID-19 pandemic has certainly had a long-lasting impact on the world, with wide-reaching effects on every fabric of people’s lives. One of the most profound ways in which the pandemic has affected society is by altering the workforce. From a dramatic shift to remote work to an increased need for more paid sick time, employers have had no choice but to make their employees’ health and wellness a top priority. In particular, the importance of mental health has come to light, as many individuals have struggled personally during the pandemic for a multitude of reasons. As a new year gets underway, here are some of the best ways in which you can make mental health a focus in your workplace:

Create a psychologically safe culture.

To a large extent, the type of culture fostered within your workplace can heavily affect employees’ mental health. According to the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, a “psychologically safe workplace begins with a feeling of belonging.” This type of culture can be created through incremental changes made by your leadership team in empowering employees to feel comfortable expressing themselves and contributing their ideas and opinions in the workplace. Furthermore, this culture allows employees to address concerns with their managers without fear of being judged or dismissed. This is critical for providing an atmosphere that promotes employees’ well-being through trust, transparency, and open communication. When employees feel psychologically safe in their workplace, they will instantly have improved mental health on the job and be able to perform their work with less stress and anxiety.

Open a dialogue on mental health.

With so many people experiencing health-related challenges with their families as a result of the pandemic, it’s inevitable that employees will bring a significant amount of personal stress with them to work. Unfortunately, in our society, there remains a stigma around mental health. As an employer, it’s your responsibility to be open about discussing mental health concerns in the workplace and encourage employees to speak up and seek help if they’re struggling. There are also steps you can take within your organization to address employees’ mental health, such as offering free screening tools and onsite wellness counseling, as well as educating staff about employee assistance programs (EAPs) through your company’s benefits package. Promoting these types of offerings will remind employees there are resources and support readily available to help them better manage their mental health.

Implement sustainable work-life balance initiatives.

It isn’t enough to simply tell employees to take some time off. When it comes to truly encouraging positive mental health, employers must provide tangible work-life balance initiatives that allow employees to effectively manage their jobs with their personal lives. Examples of work-life balance initiatives may include flexible scheduling, a family-friendly work environment, more paid time off, employee wellness programming, and remote work opportunities. Employees who know their employers value their time and want them to excel in all areas of their lives will be more apt to succeed in their roles and grow with your company. As you consider work-life balance initiatives, think about what makes the most sense for your organization, and establish sustainable practices that allow you to better attract, engage, and retain talent.

Train managers on identifying mental health concerns.

Exhibiting empathy to employees’ challenges and educating managers about signs of serious mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, will be important for providing a strong support system for your staff. Managers who offer help and understanding to their employees will play a role in reducing burnout and ultimately helping their staff navigate their jobs while keeping a strong focus on their mental health. In addition to training managers about the signs and dangers of mental health issues, your managerial team can work with staff on better managing their workloads and creating a more balanced schedule. Remember, managers, set the tone for how employees perceive your culture and overall work environment. Giving them the tools and knowledge to lead your staff in a productive and meaningful way (not just during the pandemic, but all the time) is one of the most powerful leadership efforts you can make for your people and organization at large.

 

Incorporating mental health initiatives within your organizational practices will elevate your company on many levels, improving employee recruitment, long-term retention, and your bottom line. By implementing at least one or two of the practices above – especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact people on all levels – you can show your employees how much you care about not just their professional success but their personal health, happiness, and well-being.

 

Are you ready to invest in your workforce and grow a top-notch team? Launch your 2021 talent search with HH Staffing and join forces with our specialized recruiters.

 

Until Next Time,

 

Your Staffing Partner, Darrin Rohr- President, CEO, and Chief Servant

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Current owner of HH Staffing and Former Chief HR Officer for several successful Multinational Fortune 500 Companies. Brings a fresh perspective from decades of experiences creating Great Workplace Cultures by building high-performance teams while leading and managing people from all different backgrounds. HH Staffing is headquartered in Sarasota, Florida, and is uniquely positioned to serve both local and national clients.

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