The greatest asset people have is their ability to think, their ability to be creative. Show you team members that you care about their well-being and the results will show in their work and their commitment to your business.
Ever since the pandemic, when many employees across industries were struggling with high levels of loneliness and burnout, there has been a push to invest more in employees’ mental health. While data tracking mental health offerings and employee participation from industry leaders only dates back as far as 2021, today there are many organizations taking action to support employee well-being through benefits like unlimited paid time off, mental health days, paid volunteer time, company-wide days off to fully disconnect, office meditation spaces, and more.
A recent Gallup research showed that worker disengagement is at historic highs and is largely attributed to “not feeling cared for at work.” Gallup studies also found that employees who feel their organizations care about their well-being are 69% less likely than other workers to search for a new job, 71% less likely to report experiencing burnout, and five times more likely to advocate for their organization.
5 Ways to Show your Employees your care about their mental health
1. Be More Vocal
First and foremost, it’s important to recognize that there’s a major difference between offering mental health benefits and really encouraging their use. When you lead a team, you set the tone for what kinds of behaviors are and aren’t accepted, so you need to actively communicate your support for prioritizing mental health – mention the availability of mental health benefits and encourage your team members to take advantage of them. If your company has limited benefits, this can simply mean promoting the use of vacation days, asking your employees to unplug at a reasonable hour and take breaks when needed, and emphasizing that you support them using sick days for their mental health as well.
2. Stay mindful
Being a present leader who checks in on your team members goes a long way. In a recent Qualtrics and SAP study, nearly 40% of global employees reported that no one at their company had asked them if they were doing okay, and those respondents were 38% more likely than others to say that their mental health had declined since the start of the pandemic. So, be intentional about asking your employees how they are doing and look out for any changes in behavior that may need to be addressed. Additionally, feel free to schedule one on one syncs here and there that are not about status updates or project feedback, but rather just time to see what your team members need to feel supported. Offering even 15 minutes of dedicated time to your employees can really make a difference.
3. Ask for input
Remember that people often manage their mental health in different ways, so try to ask your employees what is helpful from you as their manager when it comes to navigating their well-being. Additionally, encourage your team members to share their own ideas about improving mental health support on your team. Whether you send out quarterly surveys or simply let your employees know that they should feel comfortable coming to you with ideas, be sure to create that space and really listen. By giving your employees a voice and helping them feel part of the mental health efforts within your team, you ensure greater buy-in and increase the likelihood of them actually participating.
4. Be supportive
Over 60% of employees suffer from stress related to juggling work and family commitments, according to studies from Benenden Health. That’s why, as a leader, it’s so important to convey your commitment to the well-being of your employees and their families. Whether that means encouraging your team members to plan time off with their loved ones or actively organizing a team event to which family members are also invited, do your best to try and alleviate some of that balancing stress.
5. Celebrate achievements
When relevant, recognize your employees’ goals and accomplishments pertaining to their well-being. For example, if your employee adequately prepares their team members before their upcoming vacation and then effectively disconnects from work while they’re away, acknowledge that behavior in a positive way! And the same is true for personal milestones – honor employee achievements like running a marathon, having a baby, moving to a new home, and more. Set the standard that taking care of one’s well-being is not only accepted, but actually expected and celebrated on your team.