"Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first." - - Angela Ahrendts (Senior Vice President, Apple)
Engaged, mentally healthy and stable employees will produce and work incredibly hard for their employers resulting in higher profitability. Successful companies know that employees are more than the sum total of their logged working hours. Employees are people first and people experience stress and mental pressures.
These pressures cause depression, instability, employee disengagement and low morale. Not only do employees feel down, but the organizations don’t get the most out of them.
What happens when employee wellbeing is not a priority?
Research shows anxiety in the workplace hurts the global economy immensely - to tune of $1 trillion per year in lost productivity. In America, $200 billion is spent annually combating mental disorders and this figure is climbing.
There are many signs that employees aren’t mentally stable. It’s not always as obvious as someone breaking down in tears or experiencing anxiety attacks. Usually, the signs are more subtle and manifest in lack of team cohesion, bullying, bad management and lack of support of struggling employees. These factors also seem to be contagious. It might seem like they are isolated, but distressed employees are heard to work with and cause others to be distressed.
Mental pressures in the workplace also manifest in absenteeism and disengagement. Many argue that more work is missed due to work-related stress than sickness or injury.
Why is it Important to Build Employee Social and Mental Wellbeing?
When employees are suffering mentally they perform inadequately on the job. When someone is physically and mentally healthy, they cope better under pressure and deadline. They think more clearly and problems solve much faster. Also, they simply have more optimism and energy which goes a long way in business.
When thinking of employee social and mental well-being, the intelligent manager doesn’t just think about his existing employees; he also envisions the employees he would like to have. Envision your dream team of skilled, creative and dedicated people. To get this team you need to transform some of the people you already have and attract new talent. You won’t get the talent you are looking for if you existing company environment is disengaged and low energy.
How You Can Promote Wellbeing
The biggest concern company owners and managers have when it comes to supporting employee wellbeing is cost. I’m not promoting that companies burn dollars morale boosters that may or may not work. But, when money is invested in employee wellbeing and employees do in fact get sharper, more alert and engaged as a result then it’s a no brainer. The money will pay itself back through productivity.
Here are some proven practices you should consider adopting in your company:
Talk to everyone, everyday
Managers should make it a point to talk to each and everyone of their employees once a day. It can be so easy to get caught up in deadlines and pressures of work that managers forget to stop and simply ask how their team members are doing. When employees are treated like individuals and feel management takes an interest in their lives they feel more comfortable and cared for.
These talks don’t have to be non-work related. Some tasks that might not seem like a big deal to a manager, may seem like a mountain of confusion to a junior employee. Simply asking how the work is giong and giving a few pointers in the converstation can really help add stability.
Connecting with employees on an indivudal basis can go a long ways in boosting employee mental well-being.
Encourage Office Friendships
People need friends and connections. It’s one thing to have a professional relationship with a colleague and work on a project with them, but it’s something else entirely to take on the universe with a close friend.
Co-workers who are also friends are much more aware of one another’s skills, faults and attitudes. The increased connection facilitates productivity and injects the work with passion.
Many workplaces are strict and stringent. To be effective, an organization needs discipline. However, an organization also needs friendships which hold it together and create a sense of pride and group loyalty. Allow coworkers space to socialize and interact at work and think of hosting office parties outside of work.
Create Flexible Work Hours
One of the main stress factors for employees can be a strict schedule. Having to arrive at the office by a specific time and stay until 5:00pm on the dot can be stressful and often distract from work. I’m not advocating that all employees be allowed to make their own schedules and that there should be no time structure whatsoever, as this would breed chaos. But, managers should shift their focus to production and value of work done as opposed time logged within a 9-5 structure.
True, employees often get paid per hour. But organizations aren’t paying employees to simply bring their bodies to a desk for a certain amount of hours per day. Focusing on production first and work hours as secondary can really alleviate stress for employees. It often results in better work as well.
Build an Impactful Mentoring Program
A mentoring program is a cutting edge, modern HR tool that can be tailored to any organization’s specific needs. Done properly, and it can drastically boost employee wellbeing as well as productivity.
Mentoring programs match employees with mentors within the organization who aren’t necessarily within their immediate departments. Mentors can help employees learn more skills, navigate their careers, learn about the company, avoid professional pitfalls. Mentoring programs also breed happiness amongst employees and boost employee engagement.
To really build a successful mentoring program and scale it to handle thousands of employees you need to leverage software (Like Wisdom Share provided by Mentor Resources). HR can’t possibly oversee the mentoring process of several partnerships using excel spreadsheets.
Promoting Social and mental wellbeing in the workplace benefits not only the employee but the organization as a whole. Implementing the above mentioned practices can increase engagement, productivity and simply create a happier place to work which results in a better survival potential for your company.
Mentor Resources can help any company to leverage technology to create tailored career development programs that are cost-effective. Our mentoring software - Wisdom Share is a cloud-based program that is simple and comes with guided workflows. Included are tools for administrators to attract, enroll, connect and guide participants. We also provide analytics to ensure you can monitor your employee development program and easily see ROI metrics.
Reach out to us today for Free Demonstration of our software.