Supporting The mental health of your employees
It is hard to believe that 2022 is halfway over. Time sure flies when you are having fun, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, majority of what has been happening this year is quite far from enjoyable to say the least. From astronomical gas prices, baby formula shortages to a resurgence of Covid-19, mass shootings, and countless other social issues…it is safe to say that 2022 is not turning out exactly the way we hoped it would. Concisely, 2022 has been a dumpster fire that keeps getting a fresh bucket of fuel every few weeks and it sure is taking its toll on everyone across the globe.
“People are definitely feeling stressed out, exhausted and mentally drained,” said Patrick Moraites, a VP and partner of business development with Tampa-based Axis Group. “And, understandably, that can make it really difficult to focus on work.”
However, despite research that clearly indicates that employees actually want their employers to talk about the importance of mental health, it doesn’t always happen. According to a 2019 study, nearly 60 percent of respondents said they’ve never discussed mental health at work with anyone and less than half of them felt that mental health was a priority for their organization or their leadership team. When you consider that more than 200 million workdays are typically lost due to mental health conditions – (pre-pandemic) – it’s definitely worthwhile for employers to start paying some extra attention to this very important issue for the sake of their bottom line.
“Demonstrating a true commitment to mental health can go a long way in helping business owners with retention and recruitment,” Moraites said. “Plus, from a human standpoint, it’s absolutely the right thing to do.”
With half the year still ahead of us, now is the perfect time to check in with your employees to see how they’re doing on a personal level. Ask questions to get some valuable insight into the status of their mental health…Do they feel concerned about covering their bills or upcoming major purchases? Have they been stretched too thin regarding childcare? Are they overwhelmed by the onslaught of negative events going on in the world? While you as an individual may not be able to solve these complex problems for employees, by simply reaching out to your employees and letting them know that you’re there to listen and that you care can be incredibly impactful overall. In addition to this you can also share resources the company offers with employees. Often employees forget about those benefits after the first few months of work. More importantly, if you’re looking to create a company culture that truly supports the mental health necessities of your employees, here are three things you may want to think about implementing as soon as possible:
- Revisit the idea of a hybrid work environment: Over the last few months, more employers have called their employees back into the office for assorted reasons. However, as gas prices continue to rise along with the number of daily Covid cases, employers may want to reconsider allowing their team members to work from again a few days per week. This can alleviate some of the financial stresses that come with filling up the gas tank while helping slow the spread of the virus. After all, getting physically ill can definitely be stressful in its own right!
- Train your managers and team leaders: Even though most of us don’t have any formal mental health training, it’s imperative that those in leadership positions do what they can to promote the mental wellbeing of their team members. Whether that’s learning strategies to help them identify an employee who’s having a tough time or simply being willing to talk about mental health issues openly, both measures can help reduce the stigma that’s sometimes associated with mental health conditions and reassure team members that they’re not alone.
- Educate your employees: Having comprehensive mental health benefits is wonderful, but if your employees are not aware that they exist, they cannot necessarily utilize those benefits. That is why it is critical that companies communicate about the programs and resources that are available to their employees not only during the onboarding process but regularly throughout the year. Additionally, it is a great idea to send out periodic anonymous surveys to gauge the mental health of your team members and get their suggestions for any additional measures that can be implemented within the organization going forward. These surveys can provide valuable guidance for future training opportunities and can also help employees at every level feel like their voices are being heard. Again, the more mental health can be discussed, the better the outcome will be for everyone.
Fortunately, if you are a business owner who wants to make the mental health of your employees a top priority, you don’t have to go it alone. By hiring a PEO, or a Professional Employer Organization, you will have a trusted ally on your side. PEOs not only provide dedicated access to human resources professionals, they are also able to leverage economies of scale to obtain health insurance. This, in turn, gives smaller businesses access to high-quality mental health benefits that are normally only obtainable larger companies.
“PEOs can be incredible resources for employers in all industries,” Moraites said. “And if hiring a PEO can help even one member of your team, it’s well worth the investment.”
Want to learn more about how a PEO can support your employees? The experts at Axis Group are here to answer all your questions and help you make an informed decision. Click here to contact us for a no-obligation consultation.