300,000 people a year lose their jobs due to mental health issues.
Here are the 6 most powerful things you can do to help employee mental health in the workplace…
- Improve manager awareness and mental health signposting.
- Introduce meaningful mental health & wellbeing initiatives.
- Schedule and stick to regular check-ins.
- Invest in personal development coaching sessions.
- Make Mental Health First Aid training a priority.
- Support employees with self-help (in and out of work).
Want more insights? Employee wellbeing is something our specialist talent partners consult clients on regularly.
Making mental health in the workplace a priority
As well as being the right thing to do, supporting employee mental health is a key part of any modern retention strategy.
Happy, focused employees who feel they can thrive in their working environment are more productive and get better results.
Unfortunately, right now, mental health support is not enough of a priority in a lot of workplaces. So, as a result…
41% of employees who have experienced poor mental health in the last year have said that work was a contributing factor.
The cost to the employer is staggering. In fact, the cost of mental ill health to businesses has soared by 25% in the last three years. This has to do, in large part, with the number of UK employees that have left their jobs due to mental illness.
So, what can you do about it?
6 ways to prevent job losses due to mental ill health
Top tips to make managing mental health in the workplace a priority in your organisation.
1. Improve manager awareness and mental health signposting
It’s pretty much impossible to improve company culture if management aren’t on board. So, start by raising awareness of mental health in the workplace with managers.
The best way to understand how mental health affects your employees? Ask them!
This should ideally be done anonymously, especially if the topic isn’t much talked about in your office. You can find questionnaires online that will help you gauge what your employees are struggling with and how this relates to their work.
Once there is awareness, there can be effective signposting. Make sure managers are educated on the best resources available to employees who are struggling. This could include…
- Local counselling and support services.
- Online toolkits, like the ones you can find over on the Mental Health At Work.
- Your office Mental Health First Aiders (more on this later).
2. Introduce meaningful mental health & wellbeing initiatives
Mental health support at work shouldn’t be purely reactive. Prevention is also so important!
An open, inclusive, and supportive company culture can make the working day a positive for employees. It stops issues like stress and burnout from becoming a serious problem. Or, if people are struggling, a positive working environment will encourage employees to speak to someone before things get too bad.
Just remember that it’s all well and good talking about it. But, unless you actually introduce and (most importantly) encourage your company’s wellness initiatives, they won’t have the desired impact.
We’ve tried and tested various wellbeing initiatives in our own offices. These are the ones that have made the most difference:
Walk and talk lunchtimes
If you’re on site, organise regular weekly or monthly lunchtime walks. Anyone who wants to can sign up, and it gives people the opportunity to get away from their work and spend time together outside of the office.
It’s important to take the time to celebrate everyone’s achievements and focus on the positives. We do this at the end of every Friday, when everyone in the team gets a drink (if they choose) and a chance to speak about the week’s biggest successes.
Do some research into health and wellbeing apps that would benefit your teams. Some offer healthcare benefits, some offer incentives for exercising, and others include mindset and mindfulness resources.
Every Wednesday, we give our employees an extra long lunchtime that they can use to socialise, exercise, take time away from their desks, and just generally get some “me” time.
Once you know what your teams want or need, it’ll be easier to settle on and implement initiatives.
3. Schedule and stick to regular check-ins
It may be simple, but it’s effective. Regular one-to-one sessions between employees and line managers will make it easier to spot worrying warning signs. So, introduce them, and make sure people stick to them.
Other benefits include making employees feel more appreciated, better alignment with projects and ways of working, and improved engagement.
This is particularly crucial if yours is a hybrid or home working model. It can be all too easy to leave your teams to their own devices. Not only is this bad for morale, but it also makes the working day an excellent breeding ground for loneliness and stress.
(Side note: just because you have scheduled catch-ups doesn’t mean you can’t touch base at other times. If someone doesn’t look quite like themselves, or you’re worried they’re falling into harmful habits, ask for a confidential chat.)
4. Invest in personal development sessions
By investing in your employees’ personal development, you help to build their resiliency and confidence. This is easy to do at scale if you invite a professional speaker or coach to present to your team.
So do your research. You’re sure to find plenty of speakers who specialise in topics such as mental health in the workplace, workplace confidence, or managing stress. Or, if you don’t think those would work for your workforce, consider talks on other topics:
- Public speaking.
- Digital upskilling.
- Diversity and inclusion.
- Growth mindset.
And they don’t have to be group coaching sessions. Why not look into LinkedIn Learning subscriptions for your teams, or develop your own in-house personal development sessions?
5. Make Mental Health First Aid training a priority
For companies committed to employee wellbeing at work, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training is an extremely valuable thing.
Ideal for management, as well as any volunteers in your teams, Mental Health First Aid training teaches essential skills in:
- Early intervention.
If you’re unsure of how to create an effective mental health strategy, assist those who need it, or give appropriate support, then this is sure to benefit your teams. We certainly found our Mental Health First Aid sessions to be a positive, educational experience! And the gains have been felt throughout the business.
There are regular training sessions, both in-person and online, that your business can sign up to. Check the website to find upcoming sessions that suit you.
6. Support employees with self-help (in and out of work)
Not everyone is used to or comfortable with looking after themselves. So, it’s up to you as an employer to offer guidance.
As well as improving the working environment, this sort of support can also help employees with their work/home balance. And you’ll be glad to hear that there are plenty of ways to encourage self-care amongst your employees.
You could share:
- Simple recipes to promote healthy eating.
- Personal care tips.
- Mindfulness exercises.
- Mindset podcasts.
- Personal development books.
Or, you could make a group and encourage your team to share what that they find useful!
Another powerful way to promote self-help is to communicate with your employees. If you’ve noticed that someone doesn’t look quite like themselves at the start of the week, ask them: “are you doing anything at the weekend that’s effecting your Monday?”
Managing mental health in the workplace
When you make mental health in the workplace a priority, you make the day-to-day lives of employees better. And, as a direct result, you can improve productivity and quality of results. All of this translates directly to drastically reduced employee attrition.
96% of the people we place are still with that organisation 12 months later. So, we know a thing or two about employee retention.
Are you interested in offering Mental Health First Aid training to your teams?
Or are you searching for employees with the right culture fit and background for your business? Either way, get in touch today!
And, if you or someone in your organisation needs help, check out the resources below: