How to enhance employee wellbeing in 3 simple steps
Mental resilience and wellbeing in the workplace is not merely an ethical or topical concern for management anymore. With mental health issues increasing, especially for the millennials, we all have a responsibility to take action. Employee wellbeing can have a profound effect on performance, productivity and overall team wellbeing. From retention, to turnover and the amount of sick days your team experience, how you behave and manage your employees as a leader can have a direct impact on the overall health and mental welfare of your business..
Sometimes the manager can be the last to realise or acknowledge that there is a problem. Just because you don’t see it as a manager it doesn’t mean others don’t or won’t and this in itself can be stressful for other team members. Flagging someone is having an issue is hard, you don’t want to betray a trust, nor do you sometimes want to get involved so having a good relationship with each of your employees so you can see or know when someone is having some challenges is key. The individual involved might feel embarrassed or feel weak or get concerned about a breach of confidentiality with an issue being brought back up by you at review time. All of these play into a hidden malaise of suffering which can get worse, not better, for everyone if not addressed. The most important thing to remember is that we can all be impacted by mental health challenges, life is a cycle of ups and downs, no one is impervious to that.
To help you get ahead, recognize, and manage issues here are four strategies you can implement right now to enhance the wellbeing of your team:-
Recognising Depressive Indicators
Prolonged stress or challenging events can lead to depression which is often firstly fronted by a sadness. Sadness doesn’t always manifest into depression but if it’s not treated or managed it can escalate. Noticing an employee is behaving differently or ‘not themselves’ is the first flag, here are some more indicators to look out for:-
- Finding it difficult to speak or think clearly
- Difficulty in remembering, being forgetful or lack of attention to detail
- Not making decisions or procrastinating
- Avoiding social events or a team get together, acting alone where before they have been inclusive
- Unusually emotional (tears, frustration or anger)
- Showing an unusual lack of confidence or ability in themselves
If you see any of these indicators the first step is to have a conversation to check in to see how they are, what you have noticed and that you are concerned, do they want to chat. You cannot force or make assumptions at this point. Some questions you might ask:-
- "I’ve noticed you don’t seem yourself, is everything okay?"
- "I want you to know that you can chat with me about anything that is bothering you, it’s important to me that you are happy here and I know things can sometimes get in the way for us"
- "I’ve noticed that unusually for you, you have missed some things (get just one or two examples) and I wanted to check in to see if everything is okay or you need some help or support from me or the team?"
Look Within First and Lead By Example
As a manager making sure you are mentally healthy is also important not just for yourself but your team. People who work for you notice everything, what kind of mood you are in, how you react to a situation or a person. Your stress will rub off on them and the team. How you speak to them and behave will also have an impact good and bad depending on what you are presenting at the time. Here are some things that might help you:-
Make time for yourself to think and be disciplined about ‘being busy and rushing from one thing to another’. YES you can control this no one is going to come and take work off you so it’s down to you to manage it. And this improves your mental resilience.
- Be firm in prioritizing what is urgent and important, to what is important but not urgent, don’t put everything in the funnel at the same time.
- If you are having a bad day or you are struggling to be in a positive mood give yourself a time limit for it. Acknowledge that you are annoyed or whatever the feeling is as it allows it more easily to pass through you and not get stuck, then give yourself a 30-60 minute window to get it out of your system and move on!
- Make time to eat properly and get outside for either a walk or exercise in and outside of the work day, even top Olympians need rest in order to perform well. Exercise increases good feeling endorphins
- Make sure you are delegating and not controlling everything, this will reduce stress as well as make you more promotable!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Smart managers ask the right questions of the right people that will put them in the best possible position to handle or deal with a difficult situation. So check with your own line manager or HR who can either give you tips or direct you to more information that can help you. Human beings aren’t always predictable or easy to manage even when you are trying to help them, you can only do so much and ultimately it is down to the choice of the individual how much they share and how much they want/need your help. All you can do is create an open door environment, address issues swiftly, be empathetic, alert and ask the right questions. If the issue goes beyond your capabilities or comfort zone do not be afraid to direct the employee to outside organisations that might be able to help them.
Want to learn more? Discover how to build and manage mental resilience in the workplace on my free webinar!