Hopping in a time machine and traveling back to March 2020 will paint an eye-opening picture. Namely, a survey from then – performed by Mind Share Partners – showed the mental health of 42% of respondents declining since the start of the pandemic.
Those responding to the survey in question were employees from all over the world.
Given all that transpired in the past 12 months, one can assume things haven’t gotten any better.
Professional teams – far and wide – have been under constant duress trying to stay above water during the pandemic. Your talent has undoubtedly donned their braves faces and put their best collective foot forward. Now, it’s time for management to support those people who’ve given you their most dedicated efforts during the most challenging time in recent history.
With these four tips, you’ll support your employees’ mental wellbeing, which will bolster their contributions throughout the remainder of the crisis:
Managers Must Be Vulnerable Themselves
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t dealt with mental health challenges during the pandemic. As such, the topic has become even more prevalent in the public consciousness.
However, this shift will only decrease the stigma when organizational leadership steps up. Meaning it’s time for you to share your experience with mental health struggles. Honesty about any issues you’ve had will encourage employees to step forward and be comfortable about opening up.
Consider putting videos together of leaders talking about their mental health.
Beyond that, empowering mental health champions in your organization can help raise awareness.
Speaking about your own struggles humanizes you to your team. They’ll feel supported because it’ll be apparent that you empathize with them.
Lead By Example
All too often, managers become martyrs for their teams—in a sense, this is an exemplary trait. But it can be detrimental because it means you aren’t taking care of yourself.
The problem with the above scenario is that you aren’t practicing what you preach if you’re encouraging your team to prioritize their mental health.
Encouraging behaviors that are most conducive to your team’s mental wellbeing requires positive reinforcement. Find opportunities to bring up your exercise regime, therapy appointments, or just that you took a break from work to go for a walk.
Plus, talking about your staycation and how you need some time away from work will highlight employees’ need to value their quality of life.
Proactively Check-In and Keep in Touch with Your Team
In 2021 – after one of the worst years in recent memory – it’s absolutely crucial for leaders to continually check in with their team members.
Don’t be shy about these check-ins, either. This isn’t a tick-box task that you perform because someone said you have to. It’s something you must be proactive about.
With so many people working from home, staying in touch is necessary for you to be aware of your team members’ struggles. Otherwise, remote work makes slipping through the cracks a disturbing likelihood.
Note that the questions you ask must be specific and go beyond “how’s the family?”
You also must actively listen to responses. Give your people time to provide fully formed answers and encourage them to ask questions and be vulnerable with you. There’s a delicate balance here—you don’t want to be overbearing or suffocating. Seek the perfect blend of being available while giving space.
Don’t expect to have the answers at the ready. You might be a leader, but you aren’t an oracle. What’s essential is being empathetic and providing a safe space for your team to feel supported.
Bring On Empathetic Hires Who Prioritize Well-Being
Any leader knows they’re only as successful as the people they hire. By bringing on new recruits with high-level empathy and interpersonal skills, you’ll cultivate an environment where your people feel supported.
At ITAC solutions, we have access to top-performing talent with the kind of soft skills that’ll help cultivate a professional environment that prioritizes mental wellbeing. Contact us today—we’d love a chance to chat.