A year into the pandemic, emotional well-being continues to stay top of mind as we navigate a world that feels like it’s continuously changing yet staying the same. In a recent survey, 40% of working Americans reported battling burnout, while 81% reported mental health issues related to the pandemic. And when employees are stressed, depressed and burnt out, it can negatively impact every aspect of their work, from performance and productivity to communication with colleagues.
For employers, mental health support and benefits are no longer nice-to-haves — they’re essential to being competitive and earning employee loyalty and trust. And with one in four employees still working remotely, it can be difficult to know what to do and look for from a distance.
Here are three ways employers can support employee emotional well-being in 2021 and beyond:
1. Provide and encourage awareness of employee mental health.
Cultivating a workplace environment that destigmatizes mental health starts with education. Virtual training, seminars and workshops can help managers and HR leaders better understand how to identify when an employee might be dealing with mental health challenges, and also promote open dialogue about mental issues among their teams and workforce. For resources to share with your employee population, refer to the National Institute of Mental Health.
2. Tune in to the needs of your workforce.
The only way to understand what your employees need and improve your support is to listen and learn. Create an ongoing feedback loop encouraging employees to share their feedback on the workplace, leadership and company—confidentially. If your company has employee resource groups (ERGs), engage them in conversations and decision-making to ensure your employees’ needs are being advocated for. Involving ERGs can also help ensure groups that are typically underrepresented, like ethnic and racial minorities, are being heard.
3. Recognize and alleviate pain points in your employee population.
The pandemic has placed emphasis on the different needs of employees when it comes to support and reducing burnout. For example, some employers now offer more flexible schedules, additional leave and progressive family benefits that address concerns like caregiving. When considering ways to expand your support, remember to take into account the needs of the minority and not just the majority.
A commitment to creating healthier, happier employees is a commitment to creating a more productive, more innovative organization–it’s is a win-win. For resources on how to navigate preparing and returning to the workplace throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, check out our resource center.