Employees Are The Focus in 2021: How to Promote Well-being
Let’s talk about mental health. Providing opportunities and empowering employees to foster mental health efforts have become key differentiators in 2021’s fierce competition for top talent. Today’s evolving workforce is in search of a strong policy for fostering mental health. Is your company on board?
It is hard to imagine we could find a silver lining in this pandemic, but one thing that these times have revealed is a much-needed, closer look at mental health in the workplace. It turns out that providing opportunities and empowering employees to pursue their mental health efforts has become a key differentiator in 2021’s fierce competition for top talent.
Because of this, many employers are rushing to develop programs to support the mental health of their employees. Here are some tips that will help ensure your business is joining this growing trend and ready to attract the very best talent.
De-stigmatize mental health issues
This might be the most important first step an employer can take to create a better workplace. Fear of stigma is likely the main reason employees work to keep their struggles private. And struggling in isolation can exacerbate their problems. That’s what makes mental health issues so difficult to spot.
By de-stigmatizing mental health issues, you establish a company culture of honesty and vulnerability by recognizing mental health issues are real and are not shameful. Remove the fear of being seen as weak, or incapable of delivering quality work sets the stage for employees to open up about their issues.
Once the stage is set and your company encourages openness, employers can utilize check-ins to get to really know how their employees are doing. What once was just a formality, employee check-ins can be a real opportunity to ask about the wellbeing of your employees. Building a culture of connection through regular, honest check-ins could have the potential to create a safe space for employees who might be struggling.
An important component of being a work-at-home-superstar, check-ins provide the opportunity for employees to reach out and ask for help. So it’s important to structure your check-ins with a specific time to set aside the notepad and have an honest conversation. Even if it’s only about sports or a recent home project. Taking the time to discuss what is important to your employee can reveal a lot you didn’t know.
Find creative ways to stay connected (even while working remotely)
While check-ins are an essential tool in keeping connected with your employees, they may be too formal for some. That is why finding fun and creative ways to stay connected, especially during remote work can be a huge benefit.
Taking the time to discuss the unexpected can help maintain company culture and relationships while fighting isolation and loneliness. Here are some important tools to keep in mind while working from home or in a socially distanced office space:
- Group chat an employee meal together
- Bring your kid to Zoom day
- Video chat as often as possible
The more we think creatively about how we engage with one another (even for some silly things) the more we’ll be encouraged to break out of our personal routines.
Take steps to recognize and address employee “Burnout”
”While “Burnout” is not exactly a clinical term, it is very real. The stressors at work can be many, and once they pile on they can exacerbate the physical and mental health of your employees.
It’s important to stay tuned to the specific concerns of your employees. Are they feeling overworked or underappreciated? There are many things you can suggest, including encouraging mindfulness and getting more exercise. But maybe the most effective solution would be to work together to change expectations, address workload, or to reach a compromise solution.
Adopt policies proven to encourage work/life balance
If home is a place where employees go to recharge, then encouraging a healthy work/life balance can be an incredibly helpful way to foster mental health. Employers have a unique position to help their staff improve their work/life balance and doing so can also help attract and retain talent.
Many of the candidates we work with mention similar characteristics they’re looking for in their next employer. That a healthy work/life balance means:
- No emails or phone calls after hours (that means weekends too).
- If your company offers unlimited PTO, ensure employees are actually using it, rather than feeling like they can’t take any time off.
- Ensure when an employee does take PTO, there’s someone to back them up, so they don’t feel like they’re leaving the team in the lurch.
- Offer flexible scheduling to allow for the impromptu errands and appointments life throws your way.
Model positive, respectful behaviors
Ever work with a manager who is chronically late to meetings? The one who always has a great excuse to explain why they’re late or why they always have to kick an important check-in down the road? They might not know it, but this behavior models disrespect and is often a sign of a toxic work environment. When employers make it a point to do something as simple as showing up for a meeting on time, it can communicate that their employees are valued and respected.
Develop a clear workplace strategy and get everyone on board
There are skeptics and cynics in every workplace. Often, the good work your company can do to encourage the mental health of your employees could be undone if you don’t address skepticism head-on.
Here are some ways you can work to get everybody on board:
- Define – With the help of your HR department, clearly define your company’s policy around mental health using the steps we’ve discussed above.
- Communicate – Put it in writing, and distribute the policy to your employees. Ask questions, encourage discussion,
- Follow through – Once you’ve defined and distributed your company’s mental health program, it’s not too much to ask employees to sign their document as an acknowledgment they’ve received and understand the policy.
This may seem formal to some, but demonstrating a commitment to your employees’ well-being and mental health could set a high company standard and raise the bar for the whole office.
Lemons/lemonade finding key talent with fresh expectations
While we would never look forward to another pandemic, we’re at least grateful for the lessons we’ve learned under this new normal. These trying times have helped us more clearly define what top-level candidates are looking for in their next employers. And what is truly important to encourage their own well-being, and your success.
The Bowerman Group
If you’re looking for new talent to take your organization to the next level, get in touch with Bowerman today.