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Leadership: How to manage mental health in the workplace

Leadership Managing Mental Health

by Charlotte Gurney

The management approach utilized by a business can set the tone when it comes to the mental health of their employees. With more than half of employees in one survey stating that they had suffered from mental health problems (and that was before the effects of the pandemic), this is an increasingly important factor for businesses to be aware of and consider. So, how can management be more effective when it comes to this area?

Consider where your workforce currently stands

A healthy, happy workforce will be more productive, engaged with their role and more likely to stay loyal to your business. Globally, around 10 million work days a year are lost to stress, depression and anxiety. As a result, implementing a more proactive approach to monitoring and helping to improve employee mental health should be at the top of every organization’s agenda. Leaders within business are the core drivers when it comes to the type of atmosphere and work conditions seen in an office environment. Therefore, ensuring that these individuals are promoting the right behaviors, balancing workloads and proactively responding to staff feedback is paramount for your organization’s success.

How do you promote a positive working environment within your organization?

There is a number of specific behaviors and strategies that research has shown will have a positive impact on mental health in the workplace when adopted by managers and leaders. With this in mind, the team here at Volt have collated a list of recommendations on how to implement this within your business below:

Empowering communication: Members of senior leadership and management must be proactively engaged with listening to and acting upon feedback from their teams. This can range from discussing current work pressures and challenging clients, to recommendations on how to improve internal processes. In addition, this can also be related to discussing opportunities that employees can take advantage of that will allow them to develop and grow within their role.

Proactive and compassionate management: A core element to promoting a positive work environment is for management to take the time to understand their employee’s individual needs; not just in terms of their health, but also their career goals and life outside of work.
By instilling this consideration within your company’s working ethos, your employees will be provided with an avenue to confidently express themselves in regard to any professional or social challenges they may be experiencing.

Accessibility: Adopting an ‘open-door’ policy fosters a more positive and healthier working environment where staff feel that their opinions and insights are valued. Furthermore, by having this open channel of communication between staff and management, you’ll gather a much broader range of insights when it comes to problem solving and client solutions. 

Effective management of challenging situations: Ensuring that conflict situations are dealt with swiftly, fairly and from an objective perspective is beneficial for all parties involved. Leaders must take personal responsibility for handling any issues that arise within the team and liaise with internal departments, such as HR, to find solutions to resolve whichever situation is presented.

Offering support pathways: There may be some situations where employees require a higher level of support than is currently available at your organization. Therefore, setting up the support infrastructure ahead of time so that your business is prepared should this occur is imperative. For example, your internal HR department can look to develop connections with specialists across various mental health organizations should you need to escalate the level of support required for your staff.

The quality of people management and leadership within a business will have a big impact on the state of employee mental health. Given how vital that is to company culture, productivity and retention rates, it’s an investment that every business needs to make. To find out more about how our team here at Volt can help your business in managing your existing workforce, please visit our ‘Client Solutions’ page on our website.