Workplaces around the world are beginning to open their doors for employees again. Amidst the havoc caused by COVID-19, the shift in the conversation towards employee mental health is no less than a silver lining. Employers are now making conscious efforts to manage employee mental health issues and create a conducive environment providing a safe space for people to open up without fear of judgment and bias.
The first step towards managing employee mental health is by removing the stigma attached to it. Giving paid time-off, allowing remote work, and flexible work hours may be good measures to start with. Yet the long run requires for concrete steps to bring a significant improvement in this direction
Members of HR and leadership teams have an important role to play here. Open conversations about personal experiences, training of supervisors, creating safe spaces and groups, and formulating of employee mental health focused policies can prove vital.
Leaders Share Their Own Struggles
When leaders show their willingness to talk about their struggles with mental health, that’s where the stigma starts to wear-off. Having leaders share their experiences makes it easier for employees to relate and feel comfortable in speaking up.
Train Managers to Identify Vulnerable Team-members
Employees may feel skeptical returning to work, and readjusting may take a toll on their ability to perform and concentrate. Supervisors and direct managers have an enormous responsibility in maintaining open communication with employees and providing the support and guidance needed. Additionally, some may be stressed about personal and household issues or mourning the loss of a loved one. Ignorance of subtle signs as such may put employees on the verge of serious mental health concerns in the future.
HR, through customized training programs – can instill the required skills in supervisors so they are able to identify signs of at-risk employees and take appropriate action.
Employers can also engage professional counsellors to help employees achieve personal and team effectiveness at the workplace. Having counsellors to speak to can be a source of stress relief, promote a culture of respect, maximize your employees potential, and ultimately result in increased employee engagement.
Employee Mental Health Policy
Along with other interventions, formulation of a precise and well-documented employee mental health policy will safeguard employees’ interest in the long run. The presence of a policy means that employee mental health has now become part of the company’s strategic agenda. The policy may contain guidelines to reach out, available information sources, details of company sponsored professional help, and an information confidentiality clause. Once approved, the policy may be communicated with all staff to build trust and transparency.
Nonetheless, a substantial change will only occur with persistence. Talking a couple of times about personal experiences or counselling meetings are not going to bring progress immediately. A systematic approach with defined SOPs, timelines, and a tracking mechanism is what will ensure the success of an employer’s efforts towards managing employee mental health in the future.
Leverage the services of métier’s seasoned professionals possessing extensive expertise and knowledge to formulate a customized solution for your employees’ well-being. We will assist you with developing a mental health policy that is aligned with your strategic goals and is unique to your organization’s needs.
Moreover, with our tailor-designed training programs, you can equip your managers with the right tools to identify team members prone to signs of mental disturbance and lead in the right way with empathy, compassion, and support.