The events of the last 2 years have brought mental health issues to the forefront, especially at the workplace. Shoving it under the carpet can have dire results. Poor mental health can lead to employees’ either quitting unannounced or taking long leaves of absence, both of which greatly hinder the organization’s functioning.
Employees’ mental health needs to be prioritized and awareness regarding the same needs to be raised.
Leaders must pave the way towards important mental health discussions at workplace. Some ways in which this can be practiced and implemented are :-
Ensure top level management onboard
In order to properly take care of your employees’ mental health, you need to ensure you have the management’s full support and approval that translates into funds being allocated for mental health initiatives. By raising awareness around how mental health benefits the organization, you can ensure management is well invested in everyone’s well-being.
Mental health awareness should be across all levels
Leaders and managers need to keep an eye on the employees and spot signs of potential mental health challenges to fix the problem before it grows troublesome. You should keep a check on signs of struggles based on behavioral changes, productivity levels and overall body language as well as attitude differences. Leaders should also prioritize their mental health issues as they are also as vulnerable as anyone else.
Encourage conversations about mental health and speaking up about struggles associated
Simply implementing mental health initiatives isn’t enough as it won’t bring about any real change till people speak up and feel safe. They have to feel safe and be confident that their mental health is cared for by the leaders, HR and managers. One needs to regularly engage with their employees and offer the needed support. Supportive measures need to specially revolve around having a healthy work-life balance. Clear guidelines should be established around accessing support and there should be multiple avenues for the same.
Check in regularly and be the role model
Regular check-ins should be standard practice and can be done in a variety of ways, such as one on one conversations, or having a support portal. Ask the kind of support that they require and make sure they’re given it in a feasible manner. If top tier management and leaders speak out about their mental health struggles and share personal experiences, it motivates employees to do the same. Clear workload boundaries also go a long way. Most importantly, you should be kind, understanding and mindful while conducting these sensitive conversations.