The success of a business largely relies on growing sales, stellar customer service and, just as importantly, the positive attitude of its employees. Happy employees are likely more engaged, productive and willing to learn than unhappy ones. This means that team motivation and productivity can skyrocket under the right conditions, but how do you get your employees to that level?
As a leader, it’s important for you to promote the mental well-being of your employees if you want to see business thrive. Below, 14 members of Young Entrepreneur Council share the ways in which employers can help support the positive mental health of their employees and why it’s so important to do.
1. Ensure Help Is Always Available
Caring about the mental health of your employees is important more than just when they’ve hit a breaking point. You don’t want to wait until it’s too late to offer support to your team. Have avenues and outlets for your team whenever they need it, like counseling or coaching opportunities to help them process how they’re feeling and be able to tend to their mental health whenever needed.
2. Make Sure Someone Is There to Listen
Have someone your employees trust (usually from HR who’s not working in the operations) talk to them and consistently ask them how they are. Granting that this person is trustworthy and employees are vulnerable and trusting enough to answer sincerely, this will be your first step into solving the problem. Sometimes, the only solution is a listening ear from someone who will listen intently.
3. Build Trust by Being Human
Above all else, be a human first. Ensure that employees are comfortable enough with you to get support when they need it most — whether it’s an issue at work, a health problem or even family conflicts, you want them to be able to come to you. All problems have a solution, and by building trust, you’ll be able to ensure that you can work with them to select a plan that works for them and the company.
4. Be Empathetic, Understanding and Supportive
It’s important to support your team’s mental health by being empathetic and understanding of when things happen or when they just need a personal day. It’s not a super common thing in a lot of workplaces to recognize the need to support each others’ mental health. Allowing people to have a mental break is something that is greatly appreciated by your team, so it definitely doesn’t go unnoticed.
5. Let Team Members Take Mental Health Days
Letting a team member take a day off for a mental health day goes a long way. I have made it mandatory for our team members to take one mental health day per quarter, in addition to vacation days. I find this helps team members rest and re-energize.
6. Help Your Team Find a Healthy Work-Life Balance
It is important to maintain a healthy work-life balance. For example, working 12 hours a day is not synonymous with productivity. The more hours worked in a day, the more the body and mind become tired and, in turn, the less realistic it becomes to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Employees who are mentally drained each day cannot perform as well as those who have balanced, healthy lives.
7. Offer Flexible Work Schedule Options
Flexible work schedules can have a significant impact on employees’ mental health. Offering options to work from home full time or part time and making it easy for people to take time off for appointments, school drop-offs and pick-ups and so on can make a world of difference for a person’s stress level and mental health.
8. Start by Being a Good Leader
There are many ways someone can help support their staff’s mental health. But the overarching strategy here is to be a good leader. Your actions and inactions have effects that go beyond just you and the company. Start with the basics: be fair, really listen to your employees, get better at hiring an organizational fit, give your workers a purpose. These tend to have more effects than others.
9. Support Your Team’s Personal Lives
I’m a huge advocate of my employees’ mental health. Their personal state of being greatly influences their professional performance. We offer ample paid time off to employees, as well as paid holiday time and flexible offices and work hours. Ensuring my team feels supported in their personal lives is the first step to creating a cohesive, high-performing workplace and organization.
10. Treat Mistakes as Learning Experiences
Empower your team to make mistakes. Don’t micromanage. When mistakes do happen (as they inevitably will, whether you micromanage or not) treat them as learning experiences, both for you and your employee. Giving your team ownership of their responsibilities doesn’t mean they’re not accountable for performance. But putting trust in your team and granting autonomy can work wonders for mental health.
11. Make Praise and Appreciation Normal and Meaningful
We’ve all had the experience where a single word of appreciation can make our entire day. A key part of supporting good mental health in your team is to make praise and appreciation normal and meaningful. Associate good work with recognition and help people see that their work makes a difference. When your team finds meaning in what they do, it’ll give them purpose and drive happiness.
12. Encourage Employees to Get Out of the Office
Encourage your team members to go on a jog, get to the gym — just find a way to get out of the office. Find someone to talk to who can help them talk through their issues. If all else fails, start the company happy hour early.
13. Add Mental Health Coverage to Their Benefits
To support your employees and their mental health in a big way, look into mental health coverage as part of their benefits. This can give them access to the assistance they need to improve their well-being and feel better overall, whether at home or in the workplace. It shows support for your team and encourages them to take care of themselves.
14. Host a Quarterly Social Event for Everyone
One of the best ways to support the mental health of your employees is to host a quarterly social event for everyone on your team. You could bring everyone together to play games, talk about the state of the business and show appreciation for everyone. These sessions, even if done remotely, can give your employees a sense of well-being, which is great for mental health.
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.