Employee Mental Health and the Workplace

Talking about mental health is hard. In spite of the recent encouragement to destigmatize these conversations, many people struggle with how to get started. While it’s not the business of the employer to pry into the private lives of employees, it is their responsibility to provide physically AND emotionally-safe workplaces for staff.

But in order to do so, employers need to take a few critical steps in ensuring that the company is equipped to support employees in both these areas. Here are seven foundational steps in that endeavor.

A solid approach to supporting employee’s well-being

1. Establish a positive, communicative company culture. It’s the first step in any meaningful attempt to creating a safe environment for staff.

2. Recognize signs of mental struggles and burnout. Examples include new behaviors, low productivity and engagement, increase absences, displays of anger or withdrawal.

3. Invite outside resource to provide discussions on awareness and treatment options. If the previous step makes you feel hesitant, it’s a great idea to enlist some outside guidance.

4. Provide mental health treatment options in benefit package. Not only is it incredibly helpful for your employees, it also signals that their employer is serious about their well-being.

5. Offer flexible time off options to encourage employees to take mental health breaks. And make sure to do so yourself! Lead by example.

6. Seek training in crisis management. Just to reiterate on #3, outsourcing professionals for developing new skills is an incredibly helpful in many ways, but maybe nothing as important as ensuring that any approach you take is both legal and appropriate to the situation.

7. Be an active listener when employees approach with concerns. Isn’t this true in so much of how we interact with one another? Being heard is really the first step in feeling comfortable in an environment, so when employee’s approach you with a concern, take the time to actively listen to them. It’ll likely also be the first step in solving the problem.

A strong team and successful brand relies on the ability of employers to address problems within the company’s structure. Easier said than done, right? But the steps above are effective for preparing employers to provide the resources necessary for employee’s to care for their mental health, especially in regards to the workplace.

Want to make sure your daily practices support a thriving workplace? Eos HR can help. We offer tailored plans that ensure small business owners have the resources they need to lead a productive and happy team. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.