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Making Mental Health a Priority in the Workplace
Making Mental Health a Priority in the Workplace
Kishor Venkatesh R

Content Developer

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Making Mental Health a Priority in the Workplace

08 Sep 2021

As per research, at least 25% of the global workforce suffer from mental health issues, posing talent management issues. More than 50% of the populations from middle- and high-income countries are likely to suffer from at least one mental condition during their lifetime.

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, symptoms of burnouts are increasing among employees and business leaders, making it a talent management issue. We must note that the mental health condition manifests itself in loss of productivity at the workplace and absenteeism.

Mental health is a continuum from wellness to acute illness, including substance abuse, a talent management nightmare. However, people without a recognized condition may struggle due to stress and other circumstances.

With all the research and awareness, organizations realize that mental health and employee productivity are interconnected. There is more discussion amongst the management and HR on how workplace environments can improve, so that employee’s mental health can thrive.

Prioritizing mental health in the workplace has more benefits than disadvantages, especially in the financials. Let us look at how you could address this talent management issue.

Ensure a Calm Workplace to Prevent Anxiety Attacks

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America found that American employees usually report symptoms and use prescription medications. However, doing what you can to ease anxiety at work is a step in the right direction.

It has come to light that 28% have had an anxiety or panic attack at some point. Though HR cannot address anxiety attacks, they can instead create a more relaxing environment and reduce potential triggers, ensuring a safe and calm workspace that can ease productivity.

Flexibility with deadlines could counter the effects of anxiety and encourage better work-life balance. Moreover, HR could assess employee needs through meetings and take complaints seriously. They could help overburdened departments outsource extra work and allow employees to take remote work or have flexible individual work schedules.

Implement Changes to Policy Prioritizing Employee Wellbeing

Only 40% of employers prioritize wellbeing in employee benefits. Not prioritizing this is a missed talent management opportunity, which could translate to lower productivity. Introducing new business practices could show lasting changes in the organization.

Companies must consider updating company policy regarding talent management to encourage a healthier work environment for all employees. Additionally, the policy must do the following:

  • Hold department meetings and outline the steps to take to make changes.
  • Encourage people to speak up and offer their suggestions for improvement.

Moreover, it must be a phased introduction of the policy. For example, the talent management team could support employees who feel like they are falling behind to not work for over the regular working hours.

Next, they could mandate all managers to undergo mental health training to be knowledgeable enough to support their team. It could eliminate the stigma around mental health and make employees feel comfortable in discussing concerns.

Ingraining mental health into your business values will make the company attractive during talent acquisition and employee development planning.

Provide Talent Management System with Self-Help Resources

Providing self-help information and resources within a talent management framework could make employees feel supported and build their resilience. Monthly training or workshop could reduce their stress and anxiety in and outside the office. Provide worksheets for reference and appoint a mental health coach so that they can confide in them.

Providing free or discounted gym memberships can go a long way, helping employees relieve stress with exercise. Promoting the physical and mental wellbeing of employees creates more vibrancy in the company’s human resources.

Use Digital Technology to Support Mental Resilience

Technology provides a unique opportunity to support mental health in scalable and cost-effective ways. As per research, six main types of digital offerings in three groups can implement employee wellbeing.

1. Wearables and digital biomarker apps

It is expected that by 2025, mental health data can be quickly taken like the glucose level today.

HR can collect physiological data using employees’ smartphones. Employees can report their mood or record their voice for apps to gauge their emotional state, while the smartwatch tracks heart rate, skin temperature, and electrodermal activity.

All this data can be integrated into broader offerings that suggest coaching or further help while the employer sees only anonymized aggregate data. Employers can address pain points and provide employees with objective measures of their wellbeing at an individual, team, or organization-wide level.

2. Analytic tools

Data collection devices and analytics tools are mutually exclusive. When analytics tools are deployed in conjunction with data collection devices, individual employees can receive insights about actions or notify the HR team and leaders when their individuals are experiencing high stress.

On the other hand, employers must work with solutions providers to measure wellbeing across their workforce and use sophisticated prediction algorithms to link the data to productivity. Employers can work with individuals to identify risk factors and refer to appropriate help internally or externally.

3. Prevention and treatment solution

It encompasses self-management, self-help, mindfulness as part of a holistic approach focused on mental health. It purveys the usage of prevention chatbots, in-person psychotherapy, meditation, cognitive-behavioral therapy.

While some focus on mental health, others cover sleep, nutrition, and other aspects of physical fitness. Employers can acquire professional help to provide resilience training or clinical assistance with support from talent management specialists. Solutions can be tailored to a person’s current psychological needs and situations.

In today’s remote work world, mental health must encompass a talent management framework. Digital solutions can offer a way to deliver much-needed mental health services without the high cost.

Talent intelligence platforms like Draup can empower stakeholders with real-time talent data to stakeholders and HR leaders. Draup also assists in recruitment and sourcing and aids HR leaders in talent management.

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