3 Key Ways Employers Can Support Employee Mental Health
Increasingly employers are beginning to realize just how much employee mental health and wellness affects job performance and the company’s bottom line.
A company looking to help their employees and address these topics will see an overall improvement in employee satisfaction, productivity at work and retention.
Many organizations have begun to implement Employee Assistance Programs (also known as EAPs) which address a variety of issues outside of work that tend to bleed into the workplace, such as mental health, martial or parenting related issues, financial and legal matters, etc. These programs address these issues by providing resources and treatment options for employees in order to help them improve on these issues and therefore, their overall functioning at work.
While this is a good start, here are 3 key areas of opportunity for employers to support their employees with mental and behavioral health concerns.
#1 Stop Bullies in the Workplace
Unfortunately, this can happen in an unregulated workplace and it makes the office environment or company culture unpleasant for everyone involved. Workplace bullying can include a variety of unhealthy behaviors, such as aggression, retaliation, harassment, intimidation and disrespect among other things.
Start by making sure your policies and procedures clearly address expectations and reporting around these issues. Is there a clear path for how to plainly identify and process these situations?
Its your job as the employer to create and maintain a safe and productive working environment for your employees. You know your workplace best, so create a plan that will work for your managers and employees.
For more sources of support, check out the following organizations for a wide collection of workplace bullying resources:
#2 Promote Work Life Balance
For decades this has been a question employees and employers have struggled with. Studies have shown that employers who promote a positive relationship between work and life for their employees tend to have a more constructive workplace overall, including employee satisfaction, retention and productivity at work.
There are many benefits employers can provide or offer to their workers that will work towards this goal, including promoting positive exercise practices with gym memberships, fitness trackers or physical health contests.
Another positive practice has been developing employee outings organized by the company. These activities have been shown to boost employee morale and emphasis relaxed communication between employees.
Other ideas that may be dependent on the type of work you are doing include providing telecommuting opportunities, embracing flextime or offering work from home options. While some employers immediately decline to offer these types of solutions to their employees, they may find that they are missing out on some major benefits. Companies offering these choices tend to find that employees demonstrate extremely high work ethic and do not display the anticipated negative behaviors employers can be fearful of.
#3 Provide Access to Mental Health Resources
Being proactive by implementing EAPs are an excellent start to developing awareness and prevention in among your employees, but there are also other ways to provide them with access to additional resources to address any variety of mental health and wellness issues they may be experiencing.
The first step is making it known to your employees that discussing their mental health is a priority. Often times, employees will feel unsure or even fearful of being open with any issues they are experiencing. Sometimes they may fear negative repercussions or fear of losing their job.
Let them know, this is not the case and its important to you as their employer to be there when they need support.
When you are made aware of an employee experiencing an issue, have a system in place that works to accommodate their needs throughout. There are many options on what types of solutions may work best for your workplace. Developing this with your Human Resources department is always a great place to start.
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Ashley Lane Boyle, Owner of Empowered Partnerships LLC