For too far too long, discussions pertaining to mental health-primarily in the workplace-has been carelessly swept under the rug in fear of initiating awkward conversations and acknowledging a challenging issue.
Currently, with a high percentage of America’s population still expected to work remotely and an unwavering economy questioning the lifespan of their job, mental health is a challenging hurdle to tackle.
Recently though, mental health has been making headlines by gold medal aspiring Olympic competitors, emphasizing the relentless pressures they feel to be perfect. Simone Biles has notably withdrawn from competing in a majority of the Olympics: “We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being,” read a statement from USA Gymnastics. “Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”
Other high profile names-including champion Michael Phelps-have come forward validating the mental effects created by expectational pressures they feel day in and day out.
Studies show that as the pandemic continues, people are feeling more anxiety; and despite companies’ awareness of the trend, employees feel they are not receiving the support they need from employers.
Leading us to say, when was the last time that you as a business leader checked in on your employees?
Your employees are human
Ordinarily, employees are sought out for their valuable skills and join teams to leverage their abilities in making your business dreams a reality. And while employees routinely show up and put in their efforts, it’s too easy to forget that at the end of the day, we all experience emotion.
Emotion that can break through at any point.
Working from either the workplace or from home, added pressures to fulfill both work and personal life obligations will mount to employee stress levels and instantly take effect. Combine this with an ongoing pandemic challenging their future ideals and the stress will shortly take its toll. Furthermore, with a remote work environment in place for your company, managers aren’t around to notice stress induced burnout. Don’t wait for an individual on your team to raise their hand-act first.
Your company must be equipped with resources to properly prevent this. Often, many preemptive businesses will delegate this task on to their HR department or another manager-where they will speak to employees and assess their needs. While your upper level employees should never assume the role of a therapist, they should act as a point of contact for other employees to come to with any issues. Whomever is entrusted with this responsibility, it’s crucial to follow some guidelines:
Communicate to your employees about how you can support them during this difficult time: Whether it be in-person, on the phone, or through a virtual meeting, many avenues exist. Furthermore, avoid mentioning it only once and hope they come to you after a while. Repeatedly mention your availability and encourage them to come to you when they feel they need to talk with someone.
Make yourself available: Going one step further, when an employee does come to you with a desire to chat, open a time on your calendar to speak with them. If you find that you have a packed schedule for the day, push off any trivia matters and refill the time slot dedicated to your employee. Finally, if you absolutely can’t reschedule any day events for another time, coordinate with your employee to discuss another time on another day.
Check In: Once you and your employee have discussed matters pertaining to any stress they have been feeling, periodically check in with them after. Examine their workloads and assess whether or not it’s too much for them to handle at the moment. Additionally, continue to offer support in any way you can by reemphasizing they come to talk to you when feeling overwhelmed.
Try to diagnose them: While an experienced HR professional knows this, your company may not have a delegated HR team, thus, any anointed individual must understand it is not their place to begin diagnosing. You are there to listen and possibly work to reduce or improve their workload.
Tell them how to handle their mental health: Again, this is not your place. Refrain from providing suggestions or personal recommendations, this will only create future problems down the line.
Assume: Don’t assume the workload preference of any employee. Some employees demonstrate their emotions more than others, however-it’s your responsibility to never assume how much work they can or can’t take on. Always opt for communication and consequently making decisions from there.
While it is possible to communicate with individuals in your team about challenges pertaining to mental health without an HR professional, it’s certainly not ideal. Ill received unsolicited advice can get you into some pretty hot water. While hiring an HR team may not be possible for you at this moment, consider outsourcing your human resources related tasks to experts in this field. Here at MCDA CCG, INC., we assist a growing number of businesses with HR-related issues, saving them the time and cost of maintaining an in-house team.
Don’t Neglect Your HR
If your company does have a team dedicated to human resources, when was the last time you checked on them?
Whether it be through Covi-19 related impacts demanding company wide layoffs, or receiving troubling statements due to work-related incidents, your HR team undoubtedly carries a heavy burden.
And until now, have you even acknowledged this?
While human resource professionals do demonstrate a plausible level of composure, try not to assume they can keep it together on the inside. Additionally, in the midst of an uncertain time, they may be feeling a higher level of emotional stress than ever.
We get it, when you’re fanatically working to ensure each business area is running smoothly, other isolated matters-such as mental health-get away from you. However, just a simple effort to check in with them every once in a while can go a long way.
Furthermore, as a leader, you regularly feel exclusively immense pressures-yet no specified outlet. As we have witnesses in many situations, too much pressure and no place to vent causes even the most brilliant leaders to fall.
Let us be your outlet. With years of experience in your position, we can successfully act as your professional confidant. Located in Placentia, Orange County, California, our team at MCDA will listen to your concerns and provide strategic advice fit to your business. The call is free, pick up the phone today!
How are you doing?