Over the last several years, businesses have been forced to reassess their approach to many aspects of their operations in light of shifting post-pandemic paradigms. One of these key concepts, which lies at the heart of hot-button issues like work-from-home models, is employee well-being.
It may realistically be years before best practices in this area are fully determined, but the message is already becoming quite clear: worker well-being is not a fleeting trend to be entertained; it’s absolutely imperative for organizations who want to foster a thriving, modern workplace.
Employee Mental Health: Shifting Attitudes
It wasn’t so long ago that discussing mental health was considered taboo in the workplace. Currently, today’s professionals are beginning to understand the toxic and counterintuitive nature of this paradigm. Worker engagement reached an all-time high last year, but so did employee stress levels.
In fact, 44% of workers worldwide reported experiencing “significant” stress, emphasizing the critical need for organizations, their management, and their HR professionals to prioritize the well-being of their employees. It comes as no surprise that organizational psychologists trace these stress levels back to the Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertain employment landscape left in its wake. These seismic reverberations are still being felt throughout the workforce, making it crucial for employers to rebuild trust, alleviate uncertainty, and make significant, material investments in employee well-being.
Throughout the last several decades, the responsibility for employee well-being, including in the area of mental health, has rested on employees utilizing their company-provided health benefits—and doing so on their own time, outside of work. Some psychologists and business professionals now believe a paradigm shift has occurred, with employees refusing to recognize this arbitrary boundary between their personal mental health and their work lives.
The solution to issues of worker well-being is for employers to alleviate (or at least stop exacerbating) workplace mental health challenges, but with many of us involved in competitive, fast-moving industries, this is much easier said than done.
Empowering Employees and Healing Relationships Through Workplace Well-Being Initiatives
As more organizations and managers acknowledge the profound importance of the connections between workplace conditions, corporate culture, employee well-being, and overall outcomes, employees and job-seekers find themselves imbued with the power to limit their job prospects to companies that demonstrate real concern for their employees’ mental health. While this power shift can create a temporary staffing challenge for companies that are currently behind the curve in this area, it ultimately leads to better and healthier workplaces for everyone.
The solution, simply put, is to do better for your employees. Instead of focusing resources on reaching more candidates despite known workplace issues, first implement programs that resolve those issues in a direct, material way:
- Benefits packages that include robust mental health coverage
- Put psychology to work by considering recruiting professionals with a psychology, wellness, or mental health background for key leadership and steering positions.
- PTO packages and leave policies that account for “mental health days”
- Frontline mental health and de-stressing resources available at the workplace
- Appropriate staffing policies that don’t leave your employees stretched too thin
- Workplace layouts and furnishings that foster a comfortable atmosphere
- Severance or transitional benefits that ensure employees will be supported in the event of major organizational changes
- Don’t skimp on simple and easily afforded amenities like coffee, water, climate control, and flexible break policies that treat employees like the busy adults they are.
As always, the evolving landscape of business and workplace culture demands a strategic and proactive approach. For now and into the foreseeable future, that means taking a serious look at worker wellness. For more great insights into the fast-paced world of hiring, be sure to bookmark our HireScore blog and visit regularly.