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Well-Being and the Workplace: World Mental Health Day 2023

October 10 marks World Mental Health Day, making it the perfect opportunity to consider how your organization supports employees’ mental well-being and where you might have opportunities to improve even further.

 

Reams of research show the connection between well-being and the workplace environment. 39% of employees say their work environment has had a negative effect on their mental health, indicating that the impact of the workplace does not stop when they log off or walk out the door for the day. In addition to dealing with these mental health issues, many face an uphill battle in getting support for them: only 49% say they received a positive response when discussing mental health at work or seeking support. It’s no surprise, then, that 81% of employees say that employers’ support for mental health will be a significant factor in deciding whether to accept (or remain in) a job.

 

To best address these concerns, it’s essential to understand the greatest stressors. Research from the American Psychological Association found the following:

  • 71% of workers are worried their pay has not kept up with inflation.
  • 60% of workers who are aware of some form of workplace monitoring/tracking say they feel stressed or tense during the workday, and 51% say they are uncomfortable with how it’s used.
  • 18% of employees outright describe their workplaces as toxic, and 30% say they have experienced some harassment.

 

Companies looking to address mental health and well-being must approach this on multiple fronts: providing tangible benefits (i.e., health insurance and ensuring employees are financially supported in seeking care), shifting workplace culture to be less stressful and more supportive, handling the “trickle-down” stressors like pay and career development, and addressing the intersection of mental health with DEI.

 

Because these elements are interconnected, they must also be addressed in an interconnected way. The U.S. Surgeon General offers a five-part “Framework for Workplace Mental Health and Well‑Being” that brings together five key elements (protection from harm; connection and community; work-life harmony; mattering at work; and opportunity for growth) around a core idea of “worker voice and equity.” This reflects the results of several other surveys, which indicate that some of the most significant factors in alleviating mental health stressors at work include flexible and remote work options, respect for time off, clearer ways to address discrimination and toxicity, and improvements in connection and communication at work. Of course, not all of these options are available for all companies or all niches; the important thing is demonstrating to employees that you are doing all you can to authentically and whole-heartedly support them.

 

Fortunately, the positive effects of investing in mental health and well-being are becoming more evident to employees and employers. Seventy-one percent of employers agreed that they can see ROI from their investments in this area – an enormous increase, compared to 23% who said the same in a pre-pandemic survey. This shouldn’t be surprising – employees who are less stressed and have the support they need are much more likely to be satisfied, loyal, engaged, and productive at work.

 

At Blue Rock Search, we believe in the importance of mental health and overall wellness to make your company stand out to top talent and ensure success in your business endeavors. Let’s take World Mental Health Day not just as a single day but as a reminder of how important it is to provide the necessary support so employees can thrive, grow, and improve our teams daily.

By Ruben Moreno

 

About the Author

After a 25-year career in Corporate Human Resources and HR Executive Search, Ruben Moreno and his two partners co-founded Blue Rock Search based on a simple but ambitious vision of creating a firm that would “Change Lives and Organizations One Relationship at a Time.”  Ruben leads the Blue Rock HR & Diversity Executive Search practice specializing in the identification, assessment, recruitment, and onboarding of Chief HR Officers and Chief Diversity Officers and their respective teams — inclusive of leaders in Talent Acquisition, Total Rewards, HRBP’s, Learning & OD, HR Technology, HR Operations, and HR Analytics. Ruben has helped place hundreds of HR Executives and built deep relationships within the CHRO community across multiple industry verticals. His clients consider him a trusted partner who takes the time to understand their business and add value beyond executive search.

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