Prioritise Employee Mental Health 

Prioritising employee mental health in the workplace is one of the positive impacts that has come about as the result of COVID-19. Two years of pandemic-induced lockdowns saw people feeling isolated, and anxiety levels and depression rates soared by a 25%.

With so many experiencing increased levels of anxiety and depression, employers soon saw the impact not only on their employees themselves, but also on their business bottom lines. In fact, according to the World Health Organisation, “an estimated 12 billion working days are lost every year to depression and anxiety at a cost of US$ 1 trillion per year in lost productivity.

So, it is hardly surprising then that employers have realized that happy, supported, mentally resilient employees are more invested, productive and enjoy their jobs. More and more organisations are investing in their employees’ wellbeing.

Here are five tips to incorporate into a successful strategy to improve mental health in the workplace to help build a mentally resilient workforce:

1) Address the Elephant in the Room

One of the biggest issues around mental health is the stigma attached. According to one source, “82% of workers with a diagnosed mental illness do not inform their workplace managers about their condition. The common reasons are fearing the negative impact on their career, being embarrassed, and even losing their job.” From this statistic, it is clear to see that it is vital to create an inclusive work environment that is free from stigma or judgment. HR managers need to create and open dialogue among employees about topics that include mental health. By normalising the issue, employees will be more willing to seek support. If employees feel safe, they are more likely to address their mental health concerns and utilise the resources provided.

2) Implement Wellness Programs and Provide Employee Mental Health Resources

Many employers have been quick to understand that their businesses are built by their employees. And for the business to be successful, the people on the ground need to be at the peak of their performance. In the past, the focus has been on physical wellbeing, but that has changed over the past few years. Employers are now tasking their HR departments with providing emotional and mental support for their workforces.

3) Reward a Job Well Done

Fostering a culture of recognition and appreciation goes a long way to building a cohesive, happy, and productive workforce. Recognising the workplace achievements of peers builds feelings of appreciation and connection. Research reveals that 70% of those surveyed said that recognition made them feel emotionally connected to their peers. In the same survey, 79% of employees said that they were more inclined to work harder with reward and recognition programs were in place, and 78% said they were more productive as a result.

4) Create Learning and Upskilling Opportunities for Better Employee Mental Health

Investing in skills and learning supports employees and empowers them to do their job better. Providing opportunities that enable employees to grow and improve makes them feel valued and cared about. It also creates feelings of job security, and improves performance, overall confidence, and feelings of self-worth

5) Create Open Channels of Communication

A global study of over 4,000 employees, conducted by The Workforce Institute at UKG and Workplace Intelligence has revealed that 74% of employees are better at doing their job when they feel heard in the workplace. The results also indicate that “88% of employees whose companies financially outperform others in their industry feel heard compared to 62% of employees at financially underperforming companies.” Employees are the backbone of any organisation, and it is their day-to-day experience of the business that forms their feelings towards the organisation. These feelings have a significant impact on mental health, and productivity.

By openly communicating with employees, asking them what they want and need to create a better work environment and carry out their daily activities to the highest standards, see better results. Two-way communications, peer to peer communications and leadership messages are just some of the ways in which businesses can provide for their employees.

Key Takeaways to Improve Employee Mental Health

There is a direct correlation between the state of one’s mental health and one’s ability to perform to the best of one’s abilities. Evidence shows that employers that take care of their employees, make them feel cared about and valued, and are committed to creating a workplace that is more human reap the benefits – 91% of employees are more willing to work harder when they believe their leaders care.

To find out how the Wyzetalk solution can help you put the building blocks in place to build better employee mental health resources, talk to an expert.