Mental health is becoming a common topic among employees, especially after COVID-19. According to a study by Oxford Academic, by the end of 2020, rates of anxiety and depression in the U.S. were nearly six times what they were in 2019. Several factors have led to this rise in mental health problems, such as loneliness, fear of illness, financial stressors, and burnout.
As mental health issues continue to be at the forefront of our minds, we need to be more aware of ways to support employees and let them know their mental health matters. Here are a few ways to provide that support.
Include Mental Health Benefits
Mental health benefits go a long way when it comes to employee satisfaction. Offering coverage for mental health services at a reasonable cost can support employee acquisition and retention.
In addition to benefits, there are other options to support employees’ mental health and wellbeing. For example, a free or discounted gym membership can give employees an incentive to exercise. Exercise has been scientifically proven time and time again to promote good mental health and reduce the severity of anxiety and depression.
Finally, providing an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) is a great way to support employees’ mental health. EAPs generally offer free counseling sessions, and other support services. If you go this route, be sure to effectively promote the EAP and its benefits so employees are aware.
Promote a Positive and Supportive Work Environment
While providing benefits is a good start, it’s important to ensure you have a healthy work environment. Promoting a positive, supportive environment can lead to more fulfilled employees.
Consider being more flexible with your employees’ schedules to help ease some of their stress. Allowing more paid time off or the ability to work from home as needed are both great ways to promote flexibility. These are both highly desirable benefits, so including them will improve both employee retention and satisfaction—a win-win situation.
Promote and support breaks and time off work. Don’t make people feel bad for taking time off work for a vacation, or time to recharge. A few companies that have incentivized taking time off work increased their employee retention. The most famous (and Colorado-based) example being FullContact, which offers employees up to a $7,000 bonus for using all of their vacation days.
Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
A report by the American Psychological Association found that nearly seven out of every ten adults in the United States reported being discriminated against by others. This statistic includes workplace discrimination.
Diversity and inclusion is an essential part of creating a positive and supportive workplace. Discrimination in the workplace for any reason can lead to worsening mental health status. Because workplace discrimination is common, it’s important to be proactive and address it before it occurs. Additionally, consider implementing policies that promote diversity and inclusion in your workplace. Diverse organizations are shown to outperform companies that are not.
There are several different ways to promote diversity and inclusion in your workplace.
Here are a few examples:
- Clear and enforceable policies that prevent discrimination and harassment
- Implicit bias training (race, age, gender, etc)
- Demonstrate open support for LFBTQ+ individuals, women and people of all races
- Cultural diversity initiatives such as celebrating holidays of different cultures and forming a DEI committee for staff to join
- Ensuring an accessible workplace for people with disabilities
Offer Support for Your Employees
Consider different ways for managers and leadership to provide support. Making sure your employees feel heard is important for keeping your team happy. Solicit feedback on a regular basis about what they like and what could be improved. Also, if you ask employees for feedback, make a commitment to action some of their requests. Otherwise, this gesture could be viewed as inauthentic and may erode trust and leave your team unhappy.
As a manager, it’s important to be aware of your team’s struggles. Implementing training to help your team become more effective people managers could also promote a more positive work environment.
Some training topic examples include:
- Performance management
- How to give effective feedback
- HR essentials for leaders
Use Cura HR to Help You Promote Mental Health at Your Workplace
Are your employees struggling with their mental health? Cura HR creates custom solutions for every project and client by combining our years of experience with fresh ideas and forward-thinking.
Whether you need help creating a plan for leadership development, or wellness programs and strategies, Cura HR has you covered! We’d love to learn about your business and how we can help improve your team’s mental health and wellbeing.