Eight Ways to Support Team Mental Health and Wellbeing
Since 1908, the Mental Health Awareness (MHA) organization has been driving the effort to lend a voice to those affected by mental illnesses. Forty years later, their support helped establish the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) and subsequently, Mental Health Awareness Month.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been contributing to the conversation through a series of articles on our blog. We shared the research findings of Dr. Emily Anhalt, a psychological consultant for entrepreneurs and executives which indicated that 72% of founders have mental health concerns . We talked about the impacts of mental health in the workplace and how to support the people in your organization who are silently struggling. With one in five individuals affected by mental illness, we challenged you not to dismiss the untapped human potential that lies in your workforce.
To close out the final series of posts supporting Mental Health Awareness Month we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) to share policies, philosophies, resources or programs they have successfully implemented to support team mental health and the well-being of the people within their company. It’s encouraging to know that organizations continue to make positive strides towards raising awareness and supporting workplace wellness.
1. Institute a Pulse Check: Listen to Your Talent
In the past six months, we’ve instituted company-wide pulse checks, which include one-on-one check-ins with employees. This enables them to give feedback, voice concerns or raise issues. The framework allows us to show our staff we value their voices, but also helps us address greater challenges they may be facing. It’s amazing how much simply listening has helped our team feel happy and healthy.
2. Give Room to Breathe (Literally)
Giving your employees room to practice self-care is an important (and simple) way you can support your workforce. Aside from our private wellness room, we have a flexible schedule that we encourage employees to take advantage of. If your employees are putting off self-care activities like working out or visiting the doctor, they won’t be giving you their best and they’ll burn out.
3. Don’t Keep Track of Time
We have no vacation, no sick leave, no comp time and no problem with people taking advantage. The only rule is to get all your work done. If somebody is sick, burned out or just wants to catch a movie in the middle of the day, we don’t ask any questions. Over 10 years this has resulted in an open and honest workplace and eliminates useless stress.
4. Follow the ‘Radical Candor’ Principle
Radical Candor is a great principle coined by Kim Scott that motivates team members to give direct feedback candidly in a constructive way with applicable feedback. By creating a culture of radical candor, our people are less reserved and more open in positively critiquing each other to get not only better in the organization, but a lot less likely to hold in their thoughts.
5. Build a Culture of Communication
As a founder, you can’t pass your stress or anxiety to your team. Make sure that you have a support network, including people that you can call 24/7 that you can share your trials and frustrations with fully. Remind your team (and yourself) that they aren’t alone and that there are people who love and support them. Build a culture where your team feels safe to share their hard times with you and others.
6. Anonymously Survey Employees
Every quarter, our company conducts an anonymous survey. This gives each employee the opportunity to express all of his or her concerns and suggestions without any judgment. We have found that if we provide an outlet where our team members can express themselves, it alleviates any stress or feelings of disconnect, allowing for better morale in the workplace.
As the owner of a time-management coaching company, I believe in work and life balance, live it out in my life and encourage the people who work for me to do the same. I think one of the biggest contributors to good mental health is having a reasonable work schedule. I try to be very clear on priorities so people working for me know what’s most important and which activities can wait.
8 Talk to a Professional
While books, gyms and meditation apps are all helpful, this is a serious issue that warrants examination of your entire lifestyle and systems of belief. If you’re struggling, please seek out a professional and know that doing so is a sign of strength rather than weakness.
Join the conversations taking place on Twitter using the hashtags #mentalillnessfeelslike, #stigmasucks, and #mham17 where we discovered organizations like Bring Change To Mind (established by award-winning actress, Glenn Close) and the website, The Mighty.