Part 3 of 3: SOAR
This article is a summary of an interview series of Mike Bushman from the podcast Passion & Profits Without Burnout hosted by Jacob Moore.
Creating a mentally healthy work environment is crucial to ensuring employees' well-being and optimizing organizational success.
The stakes are high when it comes to employee mental health. The number one expense cost in most businesses is dealing with lost productivity in their employees. According to the World Health Organization, depression is the biggest business cost that many organizations face in terms of lost workdays, lost productivity, turnover, etc.
In parts one and two, we discussed Running an Ideal Stress Environment (RISE) while Adjusting to Individual Minds (AIM), in part three we'll discuss how this can Strengthen Operational Results (SOAR) and bring financial gains in the order of several percent of earnings that are lost to poor workplace mental health practices.
So, how can managers ensure Stronger Operational Results, or SOAR? The answer lies in understanding three key points that we discuss in this article:
Lost productivity due to mental health issues can be the biggest business cost an organization faces.
Adjusting for individual minds and running an ideal stress environment can make a significant financial difference and improve productivity.
Life difficulties and traumas can be alleviated with a supportive team, thus bringing in a healing approach that is similar to personal relationships.
Keep reading as we delve deep into the evidence-based methods of SOAR.
The Stakes of Mental Health in the Workplace
Mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and PTSD can affect employee productivity as we already discussed above. When other mental health conditions are added to depression, the percentage of the population with diagnosable conditions rises to 25%, but less than half are diagnosed and even fewer are treated.
This is a significant part of the population that can either be more or less productive based on how management interacts with them.
The number one expense cost in most businesses is dealing with the lost productivity in their employees. -Mike Bushman
Since the pandemic began, depression and anxiety rates have almost doubled among adults, making it more important than ever to create a mentally healthy work environment. What affects employees outside of work also affects them inside of it, so managers must be proactive in supporting their employees' mental health.
By understanding how stress impacts employee performance, managers can set realistic goals and provide support through coaching and training. For example, during times of grief or struggle, getting team members more involved in group projects can provide support.
Creating a mentally healthy work environment that accommodates individual differences and provides support through coaching and training can increase productivity and improve the bottom line. Prioritizing employee mental health and well-being is not just a moral obligation, but it's also good for business. And a lot of business leaders tend to miss this latter fact.
The Role of Community Support in the Workplace
The good news is that community support can improve mental health in the workplace, and leaders play an essential role in fostering it.
Community support can have a tremendous impact on employees' mental health in the workplace. This type of support can help reduce stress, provide an avenue for problem-solving, and create a sense of belonging. The support can be provided in several ways, such as peer support groups, mentorship programs, and employee assistance programs. Moreover, by providing a sense of community, employees can connect with each other, find common ground, and build stronger relationships with their colleagues.
There's a lot that people are dealing with outside of the workplace that of course they bring with them into the workplace. There's no work Jake and non-work Jake, I'm just Jake. And what affects me outside of the workplace affects me inside of it as well. -Jacob Moore, Founder
Leaders play a crucial role in fostering community support in the workplace. They can create a positive and inclusive culture that encourages employees to support each other. Leaders can start by encouraging group projects that foster collaboration, building strong teams that work together, and fostering a culture of open communication. By doing so, they create an environment where employees feel valued, appreciated, and supported, thereby contributing to their mental well-being.
Here are some tips for leaders on how to foster community support in the workplace:
Encourage group projects: Working in groups can foster a sense of belonging and provide emotional support, which can reduce stress and anxiety levels. Encourage your employees to work together on projects and set up team-building activities.
Create an inclusive culture: An inclusive culture is one where everyone feels valued, respected, and supported. This can be achieved by promoting diversity and equity in the workplace, listening to your employees' concerns, and addressing them promptly.
Lead by example: As a leader, your behavior sets the tone for the workplace culture. If you model healthy behaviors and show empathy and understanding towards your employees' challenges, you will create a more supportive work environment.
Offer mental health resources: Provide employees with access to mental health resources, such as counseling or therapy. Doing so can help employees cope with stress and improve their mental well-being.
Listen to your employees: Encourage open communication, listen to your employees, and take their concerns seriously. Doing so can help create a supportive culture where employees feel valued and supported.
How to Implement Best Practices in Your Organization
Adjusting for individual minds means accommodating the individual differences and needs of employees to ensure a mentally healthy work environment. Here are actionable steps that you can use to implement the key takeaways from this article:
Conduct a Needs Assessment
The first step in adjusting for individual minds is to conduct a needs assessment to understand the unique challenges that employees face. This could involve conducting anonymous surveys, focus groups or one-on-one interviews.
Through this process, service leaders can identify the specific mental health challenges that employees are facing, such as anxiety or depression, and tailor their support programs accordingly.
Develop a Mental Health Action Plan
Once you have a clear understanding of the mental health challenges that employees are facing, service leaders can develop a mental health action plan that outlines specific strategies to address those challenges. This could involve providing access to mental health professionals, restructuring employee work assignments, offering mental health education and training, or creating an employee support network.
Create a Mentally Healthy Work Environment
To create a mentally healthy work environment, service leaders can implement a range of strategies, such as:
Offering flexible work arrangements that allow employees to manage their workload and prioritize their mental health.
Providing access to mental health resources, such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) or mental health hotlines.
Encouraging healthy habits, such as exercise, healthy eating, and good sleep hygiene.
Promoting a culture of open communication, where employees feel comfortable discussing mental health issues with their managers and colleagues.
Overcoming Common Challenges or Obstacles
Service leaders may face common challenges or obstacles when implementing mental health support programs. These could include:
Stigmas: Many employees may feel uncomfortable discussing mental health issues due to stigma. Service leaders can overcome this by promoting a culture of open communication and providing education and training to reduce stigma.
Lack of Resources: Service leaders may face resource constraints when implementing mental health support programs. To overcome this, service leaders can prioritize mental health as a key organizational goal and allocate resources accordingly.
Lack of Engagement: Some employees may not engage with mental health support programs. To address this, service leaders can work with managers to promote engagement and encourage employees to access available resources.
By implementing these strategies, service leaders can adjust for individual minds and create a mentally healthy work environment that supports employee well-being and organizational success.
In today's environment, service leaders need to be aware of the challenges that their employees are facing outside of work. The mental health challenges that employees face can have a significant impact on their work performance. It is therefore important to provide support and resources to help employees cope with the challenges they face.
Service leaders need to prioritize the mental health and well-being of their employees. By creating an ideal stress environment and accommodating individual differences, leaders can increase employee productivity and satisfaction. By taking a proactive approach to managing stress and supporting their employees, service leaders can achieve stronger operational results and optimize organizational success.
Listen or watch the entire interview of Mike Bushman on Passion & Profits Without Burnout hosted by Jacob Moore.