How do leaders tackle the growing mental health crisis?
Wellbeing at work is a hot topic as we enter the new decade. Mental Health Awareness Week is marked in calendars and employers across the country are encouraged to think about effective ways for ensuring that their workforce is truly satisfied, fulfilled and supported at work. Higher salaries and bonus packages are simply not enough to create high performing, engaged and motivated employees.
By caring for your workforce in terms of their mental health and overall wellbeing you will increase employee engagement and retention, improve performance and ultimately results.
Strong and transparent leadership is key to nurturing engaged employees. A business that offers tools for managers to support individuals faced with difficult personal matters, amongst other mental wellbeing strategies will see improved growth and success.
The Oaklands Global team has put together some top tips for employers to create a positive and productive work environment:
- Develop mental health policies. It is critical to have actionable policies in place to support colleagues who may be suffering from anxiety, stress or other mental health issues. Start by ensuring that every department has a trained Mental Health First Aider.
- Promote a healthy work life balance. Give training to your workforce to help maximise their productivity during office hours to help avoid long days and unnecessary overtime. Offer flexible working solutions where possible to enable employees to spend time with family or to enjoy leisure activities and encourage everyone to leave their screens for regular breaks.
- Discuss mental health. It’s good to talk. Encourage colleagues to open up about how they are feeling and to discuss ongoing or potential stressful situations with the appropriate people. Encourage everyone to ask a vulnerable colleague ‘are you OK?’ from time to time.
- Make wellness a priority. Offer on-site yoga classes, meditation sessions, running or cycling clubs, film nights, counselling or baking competitions to help the workforce bond in a relaxed environment.
- Offer training. Enable your staff to feel secure in their abilities and skills and to fulfil their professional potential by ensuring that they are well-versed in every process and technology required to fulfil their role.
- Increase awareness. Ensure that everyone knows the training, benefits and wellness activities available to them and make it clear why they are on offer.
- Lead by example. Once people understand the commitment to mental wellbeing from company leaders, they will follow suit in supporting others.
- Be present. People need guidance and direction from a leader so make sure you attend social events, meetings or awards ceremonies to help your staff understand that you value them and their work.
Once your employees believe that their managers care about their mental wellbeing, they will begin to experience their jobs in a meaningful and purposeful way. In an environment of mutual trust, where employees are offered independence, autonomy and resources, the risk of mental health problems is reduced.
Mark Mental Health Awareness Week by committing yourself to your staff and your business will benefit as much as the people who make the magic happen. It’s win, win!