What Company Leaders Can Do to Support Mental Well-being at Work
What can the leadership do to minimize mental health stigma in the workplace?
Recently, there has been much commotion over mental health practices. There is an increased focus on how individuals within organizations can show support for employees, but what practices and policies can the organization’s management introduce to ensure their support and encourage their employees’ mental well-being? After all, it has to become part of the organizational culture.
Clear policies to protect “ALL” employees
Suppose the company’s leadership has a policy to show support for employees but does not specify the mental illness. In that case, you could be a victim of discrimination based on unclear policies. You would not know how to report it if it happened. You might be afraid that your boss or other employees will get back at you if you say what is on your mind.
Business leaders should take every step to design a clear policy and continue upgrading based on work-related incidents. Upgradation would prevent employees from taking advantage. A clear policy shows support for employees by protecting them from frivolous lawsuits. Also, a clear policy can guide business leaders and all employees to behave professionally, not just with other employees but also with stakeholders. In other words, a clear and concise policy (or policies) can, on the one hand, enhance organizational productivity and, on the other hand, protect all employees from any adverse repercussions.
Partner with mental health experts
Imagine running with an open parachute. Neither would you go faster nor far! Whether someone refuses or purposefully avoids seeking mental health care can be detrimental. Consequently, these individuals will never be able to achieve their full potential.
All businesses should ideally collaborate with mental health advisors, which will enable easy access to employees who cannot afford or seek mental health services. They can find answers to questions that, in turn, can enhance their productivity. Any time an employee is not performing well or experiencing psychological issues, they can sign up to meet with an in-house psychologist to get their issues resolved in no time.
Nurture social support for workers
Social support can help protect against stress and reduce the risk of developing mental health issues. Isolation is one of the worst things about your mental health. It makes you much more likely to have anxiety or depression, so it is essential to find ways to interact with other people.
Research shows that professional social support is just as beneficial as personal support when it comes to improving well-being; managers must be committed to building employees’ social networks by launching formal programs like mentorship or leadership development courses where employees can come together to discuss challenges they are facing at work and learn about interventions from each other’s experiences. Therefore, leaders must ensure that the staff sets aside time during the workday so all personnel can interact with each other. Getting to know each other outside of work hours helps employees who might not usually talk to each different feel more connected.
Invest in mental well-being training
Managers need to spot the signs that an employee might be struggling. If you are concerned, ask them how they are doing. Or offer to help them if they seem withdrawn or more irritable than usual.
Periodic mental well-being training will open avenues for employees to talk openly and be comfortable discussing issues with their colleagues and mentors.
Organize mentoring opportunities
Mentorship is a powerful tool for career development that can help the staff cope with challenges. Mentors provide guidance and advice, and they can also become your supporters inside the organization. This is especially helpful if you are an introvert or do not feel comfortable consulting mental health leadership with particular concerns or questions.
Finding a mentor is not necessarily as simple as asking someone, “Will you be my mentor?” Instead of asking directly, start by making yourself visible at work and getting involved in projects outside of your job description. When people see how passionate and committed you are to helping others succeed (and vice versa), they might volunteer themselves as mentors because they want to be part of what makes working at your company so great.
Encourage employee recognition
Recognition and appreciation contribute to engagement and retention. Employee recognition is a responsibility of the company, not just managers. Recognition can take many forms, such as praise, unique benefits, or even small things like buying lunch meals for the employees or going on an office picnic.
It is also essential that leaders and managers support their staff, especially if an employee needs time off due to mental health issues. This can help reduce stress, thus making it easier to return from leave when ready. So, people in charge of mental health should encourage employees to use tools like telehealth services that privately advise about mental health issues.
Increase your flexibility
Harvard Business Review reported that flexibility is one of the most important factors for employees. It can come in many forms: flexible hours, the ability to work from home or with a flexible schedule, and other options that suit the company’s needs and values. The company’s mental health leadership should help personnel with flexibility, especially those who need to take care of children or aging parents; it could also provide some respite for those struggling with mental health issues on top of those responsibilities.
Setting up a mentally healthy workplace
With correct information and resources, leaders advocating mental health at the workplace can create a safe and supportive environment for their workers. It is crucial to understand mental health, including what it is and how it could or would influence the workplace. Leaders should also know what they can do to help teams stay mentally healthy—and these steps include creating an open culture around mental health and acting within their work environments. By supporting team members and challenging the stigma around mental health, leaders can also lay the groundwork for a more supportive workplace. They can help erase negative stereotypes about mental health in the office and fight against the discrimination that workers with mental health issues face. That will lead to an even greater sense of solidarity in the workforce, so making these issues a part of everyday conversation is incredibly pertinent.