Around the world, we’re seeing more and more people breaking the stigma surrounding mental health. From the rise of self-care to the different body positivity movements, the message is loud and clear: mental health should be taken seriously.
In line with that, companies have started putting more importance on mental health as well. Maryville University states that the demand for psychological expertise is growing across various fields and businesses. No longer limited to clinical settings, we’re seeing initiatives such as allowing “mental health days” for sick leaves and seminars to raise awareness. After all, work tends to breed a good deal of stress and anxiety, so it’s only right that every employee’s well-being is looked after and taken into consideration.
The connection between mental health and employee engagement
Having employees who are mentally healthy is not only important, it’s beneficial to the companies themselves. A study from Dale Carnegie found that highly engaged employees perform better by over 200%, thus confirming that happier employees are in fact more productive employees.
In any company, employee engagement is the glue that holds everything together. Even if you have lots of staff members who show up on a daily basis, you won’t be able to hit your targets if all of them feel a disconnect with their work. The challenge, then, lies in keeping your employees happy and productive.
Understanding the signs of disengagement
Feeling stressed from work is normal, but companies should know when to draw the line between “tired” and “teetering on the edge of a burnout.” When it comes to mental health, the signs aren’t always obvious. The Forbes Human Resources Council suggests watching out for signals like a decline in the quality of work, lack of participation, and poor communication. When they add up, it may even lead to employees quitting the job altogether.
Combating these behavioral issues will therefore require managers to assess their company’s work culture and reformulate it if necessary. Inc. puts the responsibility on senior staff to set a good example for their team members, whether it’s in communicating effectively or fostering an environment that encourages collaboration instead of competition. This is where mental health awareness proves useful, since it focuses on self-awareness and constant improvement.
While hiring trained HR staff can help boost employee engagement, it’s not the only step. With that in mind, here are some ways to improve work place culture.
Acknowledge good performance
Sometimes, all we’re looking for is a pat on the back for a job well done. Whether it’s through a simple email or a nice bonus, congratulating employees on their good work lets them know that their efforts don’t go unnoticed. Of course, nobody likes to feel like they’re slaving away for nothing. Recognition can also motivate other employees to work harder too.
Encourage healthy habits
Because of work, some people end up forgetting to prioritize exercise or healthy eating, but companies should remind their employees that it’s just as important. That explains why we’ve been seeing the rising trend of corporate wellness programs and company partnerships with fitness studios.
For your next company bonding activity, try a group class like yoga. Besides its restorative benefits, instructor Jessica Seid emphasizes how it can also create a sense of community centered around well-being. Meanwhile, on the nutrition front, companies can make the simple change of stocking up the pantry with healthy snacks instead of chips and soda. It doesn’t have to be too elaborate!
Some managers opt out of getting to know their employees personally in order to stay professional, but it’s possible to do so without invading their privacy. Taking the time to meet employees individually lets you get a better sense of who they are and where their motivations lie. While most companies already have scheduled meetings for feedback, organizational psychologist Karlyn Borysenko advises going beyond performance metrics and digging a little deeper. Ask your employees about their future goals, how they’re enjoying the work, and maybe even their hobbies. At the end of the day, they’re not just employees meant to fill a role — they’re human beings too.
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