Top Five Tips for Leaders to Prioritize Mental Health in the Workplace
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The effects of the pandemic compounded with the shift to remote work has put more pressure on employees. The need to prioritize mental health threats in the workplace is more important than ever. The 2023 Mental Health America (MHA) Report statistics state:
• 21% of adults are experiencing at least one mental illness.
• 55% of adults with a mental illness have not received any treatment.
• 5.44% of adults experience severe mental illness.
In fact, a recent Mercer study revealed that as many as 81% of employees are now struggling with their mental health. When the wellbeing of an employee is at risk, the results can have a profound impact on your workplace with:
· Increased sick time and absenteeism
· Lower retention rate
· Reduced performance and productivity
Workplace mental health will continue to be a priority for employees and organizations throughout 2023. Employers play the most critical role in creating environments where employees are as comfortable seeking support for treating mental health conditions as they are with all other ailments.
So what can leaders do to prioritize mental health in the workplace? Let's explore the top five tips to prioritize mental health awareness in your workplace:
Assess the current state: Most leaders don’t know how much stress there is in the organization unless employees tell them. Conduct employee surveys, open town hall meeting and exit interviews to gathering the facts and learn what issues employees are facing.
Work to create a culture of connection, support and psychological safety: Are there elements of your workplace that might be toxic? Are you addressing performance issues? If you’re aware of these issues, what are you doing to foster psychological safety in the workplace? Leaders drive company culture by encouraging all voices, appreciating contributions and coaching team members to support each other.
Provide training and coaching for managers: Training managers on how to support employees and recognize the signs of stress and mental health issues helps to reduce turnover and absenteeism. Consider training your managers in providing skills that support mental health and positive relationships in the workplace. They should also understand the range of health benefits and programs to nurture employees to access those resources.
Evaluate your benefit programs: What are you doing to ensure the health and well-being of programs to support your employees? Virtual care is positioned to become an essential and long-lasting feature of employer’s health care strategies. Does your program include telehealth coverage for mental health services? Support employees by offering an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), short-term disability and time off for mental health care.
Encourage a healthy work-life balance: An empathetic work culture starts from the top down. The C-Suite needs to lead by example. Offer remote working opportunities and/or hybrid work options. Flexible work hours help employees when personal or family needs arise. Leaders should set and respect boundaries when employees are on vacation or sick. This helps employees relax and not be anxious about missing work. They can relax, rest, and recharge. This is critical to overall wellbeing.
In conclusion, employers have a responsibility and opportunity to identify work-related causes of mental health stress and can reduce them through meaningful actions such as the tips noted above. Taking action to address workplace mental health is a clear path to a healthier workforce and a stronger, more resilient business.
TBP can help you prioritize mental health awareness through our HR services, management training and coaching programs. To learn more about our services, you can reach us at our Pittsburgh corporate office at: (724)799-8170. Visit our website at www.bradleypartnerships.com, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.