Highlight: Learn how HR executives and companies may improve employee mental health and well-being, as well as why these issues have become significant priorities since the pandemic began.
We’ve known for over a year that this pandemic has had an impact on mental health and well-being. It’s all over the news, and many papers have been written to investigate it.
According to research, pandemic-related mental health difficulties have impacted people differently, with pandemic stress disproportionately affecting various racial and ethnic groups. It is natural for people to be concerned about their jobs from time to time. Perhaps they were looking for a raise, or perhaps there were rumors of layoffs. Things like this could act as a catalyst, causing a cascade of circumstances that lead to mental illness.
HR and mental well being
Mental Health can be a very complicated and personal subject in the workplace, and HR employees must grasp it completely in order to not only recognize when someone is struggling but also to know how to manage the situation delicately and effectively. We spend billions on ‘health and safety,’ but we seem to overlook the ‘health’ aspect and focus solely on physical security. Even if the mental health of a workforce isn’t prioritised enough, a company should at least recognize that our supply chains can only function if people are able to wake up and go to work every day.
Mental Wellbeing in a workplace doesn’t mean diagnosis and treatment
A widespread misunderstanding about promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is that doing so entails diagnosing, treating, and psychoanalysing your employees. To help your employees’ or colleagues’ mental health and welfare, you don’t need to diagnose them; all you need to do is be aware of their typical behaviours and be alert to any changes. You don’t have to figure out what’s wrong if something doesn’t feel right, but you should definitely address it.
And this is the part that many employers appear to be afraid of: dealing with the problem. There appears to be a notion that discussing mental health can exacerbate the situation.
So, if you want to make a modest impact on your employees’ mental health and well-being, what should you do? Start by removing those Sigmund Freud images and simply attempting to learn how your staff is performing on a daily basis. From there, you can expand it.
Roll out programs to understand your employees
Of course, it’s unrealistic to expect to be able to ask every single employee how they’re doing each day if you run a company with thousands of people. It’s also unrealistic to expect you to get to know each employee on a personal basis. That isn’t to say you can’t do something to assist your employees. However, there’s one common issue that seems to be plaguing all workers alike since the pandemic started and it is employee burnout, especially for the remote workforce. Here’s how you can recognize and manage employee burnout at your company.
Moreover, Leena Nair, Unilever’s Chief Human Resources Officer, began her efforts to improve mental health and wellbeing throughout her company by implementing a programme to assist employees to better understand one another. Unilever sent 3,000 employees through their mental health championships programme to assist the company’s efforts, but not before they’d assisted the majority of their employees in starting a conversation with one another. This not only helps the employees understand their colleagues better, but it also brings about productive discourse related to several sensitive issues in the workplace.
HR in Health: Some Important points to remember
- One size doesn’t fit all – There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution, at least when it comes to mental health and wellbeing programmes. A single programme cannot simply be taken out of a box and expected to function across the board. While you may want to direct the broad ideas, you’ll need to let local leaders adapt them to the people they’re responsible for.
- Upper management needs to be involved – You can’t do this as a side project and expect the needle to move; you need real personnel and real resources, which means bringing in the top table.
- The evaluation of results is important – If you want to keep having an impact, you need to track the results you’re getting. Whether it’s measuring employee engagement through your Employee Assistance Program, documenting employee feedback during your yearly survey, or simply monitoring general productivity and engagement across the company. Results measurement will help you gain more buy-in and will become an important aspect of your HR strategy.
When it comes to combating mental health in the workplace, how crucial are HR and its functions? In a nutshell, it’s absolutely fundamental. Employers today have a legal as well as a moral obligation to care for their employees, whose well-being is inextricably tied to a company’s success.
HR professionals will directly contribute to a decrease in the number of working days lost each year due to mental ill-health by having the correct level of understanding during recruitment, monitoring, and absence of employees. They will also save employers money, and most importantly, will result in a content workforce.
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