Employee mental health is a crucial factor for the success and well-being of any organisation. Employees who are happy, healthy, and engaged are more productive, creative, and loyal. They also contribute to a positive work culture and environment.
Employees with poor mental health, however, may be less engaged, less productive, more likely to need sick leave, and may be less loyal to their employer. Clearly, positive mental health is of benefit to both the employee and the employer. In fact, a Deloitte report suggests that for every £1 invested in mental health, employers could see a return of £5.30.
Fortunately, there are many ways to improve employee mental health and create a happier and healthier workplace. In this blog post, we will share 10 easy steps that you can take to boost employee mental health and make a positive difference in your organisation.
Step 1: Promote a Culture of Openness and Support
One of the most important steps to improve employee mental health is to create a culture of openness and support, where employees feel comfortable talking about their mental health issues and seek help when they need it.
Many employees suffer in silence because they fear being judged, stigmatised, or discriminated against for their mental health problems. They may also feel ashamed, guilty, or weak for admitting that they are struggling.
To overcome this barrier, employers and managers need to show empathy, compassion, and respect for their employees’ mental health. They need to encourage honest and respectful communication, listen actively and attentively, and offer constructive feedback and guidance. This can be as simple as implementing an open-door policy, allowing staff to talk to a manager when they need to.
The organisation should also provide clear and consistent policies and procedures for addressing mental health issues in the workplace, such as flexible work arrangements, reasonable accommodations, leave options, and referral services.
By promoting a culture of openness and support, employers and managers can help their employees feel valued, understood, and cared for. They can also reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health problems, and foster a sense of trust and belonging among their employees.
Getting staff to open up about mental health can be tricky, which is why awareness and education are so important. Speaking of which…
Step 2: Educate Yourself and Your Employees About Mental Health
Another key step to improving employee mental health is to educate yourself and your employees about mental health. Mental health is a complex and multifaceted topic that affects everyone differently. It is influenced by many factors, such as genetics, personality, life events, stressors, coping skills, social support, and physical health.
By educating yourself and your employees about mental health, you can increase your awareness and understanding of the signs, symptoms, causes, effects, and treatments of various mental health conditions. Staff will also learn how to recognise and respond to mental health crises, such as suicidal thoughts or behaviours.
You can also educate yourself and your employees about the benefits of positive mental health practices, such as mindfulness, meditation, gratitude, exercise, nutrition, sleep hygiene, hobbies, socialisation, and self-care.
Additionally, you can use various methods to educate yourself and your employees about mental health, such as workshops, webinars, podcasts, videos, articles, books, newsletters, posters, flyers, or quizzes. Also, why not invite experts or speakers to share their knowledge and experience on mental health topics? Like us, for example. Did you know that many of our practitioners are actually trained across many different aspects of mental health?
By educating yourself and your employees about mental health, you can enhance your knowledge and skills on how to prevent, manage, and cope with mental health problems. You can also empower your employees to take charge of their own mental health and seek help when they need it.
Step 3: Provide Access to Quality Mental Health Services
A third essential step to improve employee mental health is to provide access to quality mental health services. Mental health services are professional services that help people with mental health problems to recover, improve, or maintain their mental wellbeing. They include counselling, therapy, medication, coaching, support groups, and other interventions.
Many employees do not have access to quality mental health services due to various barriers, such as cost, availability, location, and even difficulty getting GP appointments. They may also lack information or awareness about the types, sources, and benefits of mental health services available to them.
To address this issue, employers need to provide access to quality mental health services for their employees. The most obvious method is through an Employee Assitance Programme (or EAP) service. In our experience, many organisations already have this in place, but many employees don’t know that it exists, aren’t sure how to access it, or don’t know what it can do for them. In fact, we often build a company’s EAP into our mental health webinars, helping to raise awareness around the workplace.
By providing access to quality mental health services, employers and managers can help their employees get the professional help they need to overcome their mental health challenges. They can also reduce the costs and consequences of untreated or poorly treated mental health problems, such as absenteeism, turnover, low performance, and low morale.
Step 4: Implement Wellness Programmes and Initiatives
A fourth important step to improve employee mental health is to implement wellness programs and initiatives. Wellness programmes and initiatives are activities or interventions that promote the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of employees. They can include fitness classes, yoga sessions, meditation workshops, massage therapy, health screenings, nutrition counselling, smoking cessation, stress management, resilience training, and more. You’re essentially looking to take a holistic approach to looking after an employee’s entire wellbeing.
Wellness programs and initiatives can have many benefits for employee mental health. They can help employees reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout. They can also help employees improve their mood, energy, focus, creativity, and productivity. Additionally, these initiatives can also help prevent or manage chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, or obesity – all of which can provide a boost to mental health.
To implement wellness programs and initiatives, employers and managers need to assess the needs and preferences of their employees. They need to design and deliver wellness programs and initiatives that are relevant, engaging, and accessible for their employees. The best way to explore this information would be through an internal wellbeing survey. Ask staff how they feel and where they are in terms of wellbeing, then ask them where they’d like to be and how they’d like to get there. In other words, simply ask you staff what they want from their wellbeing programme!
Step 5: Recognise and Reward Employee Efforts and Achievements
A fifth vital step to improve employee mental health is to recognise and reward employee efforts and achievements. Recognition and reward are expressions of appreciation or acknowledgement for the work or performance of employees. They can include praise, feedback, awards, bonuses, promotions, gifts, or anything that a staff member would appreciate.
Recognition and reward can have a positive impact on employee mental health. It can help employees feel valued, respected, and motivated, in addition to boosting self-esteem and confidence.
To recognise and reward employee efforts and achievements, employers and managers need to set clear and realistic goals and expectations for their employees. They need to provide regular and timely recognition and reward for their employees, using various methods and channels of recognition, such as verbal, written, public, or private. The praise also needs to be tailored to the individual preferences of the employees. A shy person, for example, may prefer to be praised privately, rather than in front of the whole office.
Simply praising good work can have such a positive effect on staff. Not only can it boost the morale of the staff member in question, but it’s also relatively inexpensive from the employer’s perspective.
Step 6: Encourage Work-Life Balance
Simply put, work-life balance is the state of equilibrium between the demands and responsibilities of work and personal life. It is achieved when employees have enough time, energy, and resources to fulfil both their professional and personal goals.
Work-life balance is essential for employee mental health. Employees who have a good work-life balance are more likely to be happy, healthy, and productive. They are also less likely to experience stress, anxiety, depression, or burnout, and are also more likely to have positive relationships with their colleagues, managers, family members, friends, and themselves.
To encourage work-life balance, employers and managers need to respect and support the personal lives of their employees. Consider flexible work options, such as telecommuting, remote work, part-time work, or compressed work weeks. Limit overtime work, unrealistic deadlines, or excessive workloads. Use the other steps in this article to promote healthy habits, such as taking breaks, eating well, sleeping enough, or exercising regularly. Encourage workplace leaders to model work-life balance themselves by setting boundaries, prioritising tasks, delegating responsibilities, and taking time off.
Staff who have the time, energy and space to pursue their own personal goals, may also become better employees for it, too. By making the most of their personal time, they’ll be learning hard and soft skills (just by living their life day-to-day), that they can bring to the job. A staff member who works from home, for example, may start cooking for themselves more. As they become more confident, they’ll become more creative with their cooking. This creativity and confidence will start to affect other areas of their life, including work – so everyone wins!
Step 7: Create a Positive Work Environment
There’s nothing worse than a terrible work environment. No one wants to be there, and no one will be working at their optimum. A positive work environment is a workplace that is safe, comfortable, pleasant, and conducive to work. It should consider factors such as cleanliness, orderliness, lighting, ventilation, temperature, noise level, ergonomics, aesthetics, equipment quality, space availability, and accessibility. This also accounts for someone’s home-working space, too.
Employees who work in a positive work environment are more likely to feel relaxed, alert, energised, and motivated. They are also less likely to feel stressed, frustrated, distracted, or bored. They are also more likely to perform better, make fewer errors, and have fewer accidents.
To create a positive work environment, employers and managers need to ensure that the physical conditions of the workplace are optimal and comfortable for their employees. Ask your staff what they think of their working environment and how it could be improved. Even small things like plants, artwork and decent lighting can make a big difference.
Step 8: Build a Strong and Supportive Team
A strong and supportive team will work together effectively and harmoniously to achieve a common goal. They’ll have diverse skills, talents, personalities, and backgrounds. A team like that is built on trust, respect, communication, collaboration, feedback, recognition, learning, and fun.
Employees who belong to a strong and supportive team are more likely to feel engaged, empowered, and valued. They are also more likely to share their ideas, opinions, problems, and solutions with their team members, and will offer support, guidance, and encouragement to their team members. They are also more likely to learn from their team members and grow professionally and personally.
To build a strong and supportive team, managers need to hire and retain the right people. This is achieved by defining and communicating the vision, mission, goals, and values of the company in a clear and attainable manner. Fostering positive relationships between team members will allow for interpersonal mental health support, too. As such, it may also be worth considering offering training on listening to and supporting one another from a mental health perspective.
By building a strong and supportive team, employers and managers can help their employees feel connected, involved, and appreciated. They can also create a culture of trust, respect, and excellence in their organisation.
Step 9: Involve Employees in Decision-Making
Employees who are involved in decision-making are more likely to feel empowered, respected, and valued. Additionally, they’ll also develop a strong sense of ownership over their work, as well as the success of the business, organisation or team.
Staff shouldn’t be making top-level executive decisions, of course. But allowing your team to join the decision-making process, whether it’s deciding on a new vendor, or choosing the paint colour for the walls, will offer a sense of importance that might otherwise not be felt.
You could even combine this with step 4, by allowing staff to choose their own wellbeing initiatives. Employees involved in the decision-making process will feel important to the company, and are more likely to offer their loyalty. All of this contributes towards and positive mental attitude, and may help to promote positive mental health.
Step 10: Monitor and Evaluate Employee Mental Health
The final step to improving employee mental health is to monitor and evaluate employee mental health. Monitoring and evaluating employee mental health is the process of measuring and assessing the mental health status, needs, challenges, and outcomes. It is an essential part of any employee wellbeing strategy that helps to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Employees who are monitored and evaluated for their mental health are more likely to receive timely and appropriate intervention, prevention, or support for their mental health problems. They are also more likely to track and celebrate their progress, improvement, or recovery from their mental health problems. Additionally, if they are more engaged, then they are also more likely to provide feedback, suggestions, or recommendations for improving employee mental health policies, programs, or initiatives.
To monitor and evaluate employee mental health, employers and managers need to use various tools, methods, and indicators to measure and assess employee mental health, such as surveys, questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, and work metrics, just to name a few. These results can be used to inform the mental health strategy, essentially closing the loop – allowing continuous improvement, and helping to meet the needs of staff wellbeing.
Employee mental health is a vital factor for the success and wellbeing of any organisation. Employers and managers have a key role and responsibility to improve employee mental health and create a happier and healthier workplace. By following the 10 easy steps we shared in this blog post, employers and managers can boost employee mental health and make a positive difference in their organisation.
We hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and learned something new and useful. If you need support in developing your employee wellbeing or mental health strategy, please feel free to reach out. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01384 877 855.