How, when, and where people work is changing, and employees have a new set of priorities that managers need to be aware of if they want to create a successful team that can get the job done. Mental health is currently one of the top concerns for most employees today. People want to work for a manager who appreciates them and their contributions but also understands they are individuals with a life outside of the job.
This can be a challenge for many managers, especially as more and more organizations adopt hybrid and remote work situations. However, because employee mental health is directly affected by managers, it's important to understand why so that your company can provide the ideal work environment that attracts employees and makes them want to stay.
Why employee mental health is important
In a recent study, 81% of employees admitted that they would be willing to take a lower-paying job to work for a manager who prioritized mental health in the workplace. And because mental health is at the top of the list for many employees when seeking employment, it should be a high priority for the management team at your company as well. Employees who are in good mental health are:
- More committed to their work
- More productive
- More energetic
- More likely to show up
So putting employees' mental health on your radar can have a positive impact that ripples throughout the organization. When the employees who work at your company are satisfied in their roles and feel appreciated, they'll work harder and produce better-quality work. In the long run, this could increase profits and improve your company's reputation.
Unfortunately, mental health is a difficult topic to address, but when your staff members understand that you're truly interested in how they're doing on a personal level, they'll see that you care. Employees who feel a positive connection with their work will spread the word about their experience, which could draw more talent to your company.
How managers impact employee mental health
More than half of the employees surveyed in the study mentioned previously said that they want their company to prioritize mental health. These employees also say that their job is one of the biggest factors affecting their mental health. So it shouldn't surprise you to hear that managers play a large role in the mental health of their employees. A manager who fails to notice issues with their employees or doesn't take the time to get to know what motivates those on their team will struggle to accomplish company goals and meet deadlines.
Many employees are hesitant to discuss their stress or anxiety with their manager, making it difficult for managers to know when there is a problem. Having various ways for employees to address their concerns and voice their opinions can empower them to come to the company's leadership with their issues. If your managers know what employees' needs are, they'll be able to meet those needs and make improvements that benefit everyone.
"In a recent study, 81% of employees admitted that they would be willing to take a lower-paying job to work for a manager who prioritized mental health in the workplace."
Ways to have a positive impact on employee mental health
Employees who feel stress at work can take that stress home, putting a strain on other aspects of their lives. This makes it vital for managers to have a positive impact on employee mental health. A healthy work-life balance allows an employee to be productive in both their personal and professional lives. Managers can use these ideas to help improve employee mental health:
By checking in with your employees, you demonstrate that you're interested in them as an individual. Make sure you address each employee by name and try to engage them by asking about things unrelated to work. You can ask them about their weekend plans or a recent vacation they took. If you've gotten to know them, you may have other topics you can discuss, but the important thing is to personalize the check-in so the employee feels valued. Consider providing employee development surveys that allow team members to give you feedback about their desire for advancement and development opportunities.
Provide a challenge
You don't want the employees at your organization to feel overwhelmed, as this creates negative stress emotions that can be detrimental to productivity and employee retention. Of course, your employees still want to feel challenged because this is how they grow and improve their skills. Providing opportunities for advancement and training to existing employees can give them goals to work toward. Setting and achieving goals can have a huge positive impact on employee mental health.
Offering employees resources that can help them improve their mental health shows you want them to be in a positive state of mind. Just the act of offering them help can go a long way. If you provide your company's employees with access to counselors, therapists, psychologists, and other medical resources they need to work through the challenges they may be facing, either at work or on the job, they can overcome their hardship so they're better able to focus on work. Find out what employees need for optimum mental health and do your best to provide it.
Make time to socialize
For managers, work is often all about productivity and meeting deadlines. However, for the sake of the mental health of your company's employees, it's important to make time to socialize. In an age where many meetings and collaborations are happening through Zoom meetings and video chats, making time for employees to get to know one another can be a daunting task. But for employees to thrive, they need to interact with each other beyond just completing assignments and coordinating schedules. Find ways to bring people together in person, or at the very least, turn on your camera during online communications.
Remind them of the mission
Doing the same job day after day without feeling rewarded or recognized can cause burnout for some employees. This has a negative impact on their mental health. To keep employees engaged with their work and feeling good about what they do, it's important to remind them of the company's mission and goals. You can do this in a subtle way, but you want employees to know that what they're doing is important and that their work contributes to the overall goals and accomplishments of the company.
Lead by example
The key to being an exceptional manager is to lead by example. If your company's managers are in good mental health, this can extend to your other employees. If an employee sees their manager taking a day off to visit the doctor, they may feel more comfortable doing the same. Managers who say no to more work for themselves or their team when they have too much on their plate demonstrate that it's OK to have a limit and to stick to it without fear of negative repercussions.
A manager's impact on employee mental health is more important than you may realize. The role managers play in their employees' lives means that they need the right tools to help them ensure employees are happy and healthy. Because so many employees are prioritizing mental health in the workplace, it's vital that your management team understands how to supply employees with resources that can help them achieve optimum mental health.
Learn more about creating a great workplace:
Upskilling the employees at your company can make them feel appreciated and loyal, which could help you retain them longer.
Discover tools to help you deal with microaggressions in the workplace that might make it an uncomfortable place to work.
If you have an employee who's found another job, consider making them a counteroffer that keeps them around.