Mental health doesn’t just consist of medically certified illnesses, it also includes burnout. Burnout is in fact a bigger issue than most diagnosed mental health issues. However, with a lot of stigmas still attached to our mental wellbeing, many employees are still afraid to open up, particularly with their managers. So how can you get employees to engage with mental health initiatives?
Getting employees to engage in mental health initiatives can be challenging. However, a good place to begin is by arming yourself with the right tools, skills, and knowledge.
Improve your Knowledge
As Francis Bacon once denounced, knowledge is power. The symptoms and effects of mental health can vary and are dependent on the individual. By educating yourself and your workforce on mental health issues for not only destigmatising mental health problems but creating an open dialogue about it.
Once senior leaders and HR professionals educate themselves it encourages your employees to do the same. With further knowledge, symptoms will become easier to spot, and enables us to become more empathic in supporting one another.
Create Awareness by Involving Leadership
Whether the organisation is small or large, most employees are fearful to open up about their mental health challenges. However, you’ll begin to see changes once seniors lead by example.
Ask CEO’s, Directors, and Associates to talk about their personal struggles, this helps to break down barriers. Everyone has a poor mental health story and hearing others talk openly helps to encourage those who need it to ask for help.
Apps such as Everymind features real-life stories from professionals sharing their mental health challenges and how they look after their wellbeing. With the aim to normalise the conversation surrounding mental health, open discussions, and accessible content on our app help to defer further stress or stigma relating to our mental wellbeing.
Publicise your company’s commitment to mental health. Use social media posts, training materials and internal newsletters consistently to maintain a level of awareness.
Create A Positive Environment
An open workplace creates a positive environment. Create a space that looks for feedback and delivers positive reinforcement. Consistently encouraging positive solutions helps to reduce negativity and whilst team-building exercises help to increase resilience.
Have Ongoing Dialogue
Employees can feel forgotten about or lose sight in their abilities when discussions around performance are limited to quarterly one-to-one meetings or appraisals. The discussion around performance becomes far less daunting if they’re integrated into the working day. Set measurable goals but equally, provide constructive feedback.
Not only does an ongoing dialogue enable less fearful workplaces, it also builds trust amongst teams and strengthens relationships. Tough conversations in the workplace can be made less stressful once a strong relationship is established.
Allow Others To Be Heard
Mental health issues are very personal. What someone feels and experiences when they’re stressed may not be the same for someone else. Employees are more likely to feel motivated, engaged, and present if they feel they are heard.
Create surveys for feedback or improve effective listening for all employees with resources such as active listening. We listen to obtain information, to understand and for enjoyment. However active listening is making a conscious effort to not only hear the words but to understand the message being conveyed.
The importance of active listening is to avoid distractions and to acknowledge what the other person is saying, in order for them to feel heard. You can do this by simply nodding your head. Lastly, to be an active listener, provide feedback and respond appropriately. Often we listen to respond, this creates assumptions and judgements. In the workplace, being heard can go a long way in supporting the wellbeing of your employees.
By becoming an active listener you are more likely to get employees to engage with mental health initiatives.
Emphasise The Importance of Mental Health Sick Days
It’s quite often employees use minor illnesses or other reasons to call in sick when in fact they feel burnt out, stressed, anxious or are suffering with a serious mental health issue. Mental health sick days should not be undermined and should be included in PTO to all employees who are onboarded.
Encourage employees to tell their managers and colleagues the reason for being absent to reduce any stigma and to help determine concrete support where needed. Not only does this enable the business to perform better, but employees will feel more engaged and productive when they return to work.
Are you interested in Everymind and how it will benefit your business? Get in touch today and request a demo.