HUMANS ARE AWESOME
Written by: Hanadi El Sayyed
This is the third part in a series about mental health at the workplace. Here are the first two parts:
Mental health in the workplace: Let’s have a brave conversation about it
How can the workplace contribute to or create mental health problems
Employers have the opportunity to change this climate of fear regarding mental health at the workplace and more importantly, do something about it. World Health Organization describes a healthy workplace ” as one where workers and managers actively contribute to the working environment by promoting and protecting the health, safety and well-being of all employees”. So how exactly can organizations do that? what are the interventions they can take to create a workplace where people can thrive and feel fulfilled and reap the benefits of a healthy workplace?
A recent guide from the World Economic Forum approaches mental health interventions through 3 lenses:
– Protect mental health by being aware of the risk factors in the workplace and reducing their impact
– Promote mental health as part of a robust employee wellness program and policies that promote the positive aspect of work and encourage employees to focus on their strengths
– Address the topic by talking about it and raising the awareness of employees of its significance and supporting them when they need help
The above approach also identifies 7 foundational steps organizations can take to create a healthy workplace. First, identifying the changes to existing workplace practices that could promote better mental health. Second, learning from leaders and employees that have been successful in promoting mental health, and third, borrowing good models from other organizations. Fourth, being clear on the employee’s needs in helping to develop better mental health policies and fifth, taking practical steps to pave the way for improved mental health in the workplace. Finally, sixth, creating a list of resources if someone needs help, and seventh, launching into action.
There are a plethora of good practices out there that organizations can borrow from and draw upon, and that will give them a good head-start in their journey towards becoming great workplaces, such as:
– Implementation of employee wellness policies that identify emotional distress of employees and provide resources to manage them
– Informing staff that support is available and creating an environment of trust where employees feel they can be vulnerable to seek the support
– Involving employees in decision-making, conveying a feeling of control and participation and empowerment
– Creating a high performance culture by promoting strength based feedback and investing in employees’ career development
– Creating an appreciation culture by recognizing and rewarding employees for their contribution
Key to success is involving stakeholders and employees at all levels to ensure their buy in every step of the way of this journey.
According to World Economic Forum, ” the global cost of mental health conditions and related consequences is projected a surge to $6 trillion by 2030, from $2.5 trillion as of 2010, according to a study published by the World Economic Forum and the Harvard School of Public Health. That would mean that mental health costs alone would be greater than those related to cancer, diabetes and respiratory ailments combined.” One can only imagine the opportunities available to improve the mental well-being of employees in the workplace, productivity and organization performance. Efforts to comprehensively address mental health and positively impact the lives of people, businesses and societies are only beginning.
Hanadi El Sayyed
Hanadi El Sayyed has 18 years of experience as a Leader in Human Resources. Her career includes key HR leadership roles and professional consulting with large regional organizations. Her experience ranges from partnering with business to drive business strategies to ensuring the realization of organizational people visions through the development and implementation of future driven, fit for purpose HR practices.