How to Improve Employee Mental Health in the Workplace

May 18, 2023
Read Time
Min Read
Ann
Table of Contents

AI software built for Recruiters

Start free trial

Download our free Recruitment Signals report!

Download

Employee mental health has always been one of the top challenges for companies, especially in the past couple of years when we shifted how we work and returned to the full-time office again. Evidently, the majority of the workforce in the US is having a hard time dealing with mental health. More than half of them talk less about their mental health at work and eventually report feeling burnout in the past year. 33% of the US workforce noticed their productivity suffered because of their mental health. This leads to 34% of employees between the age of 18-29. as well as 28% of employees aged 30-49 considering leaving their jobs because it impacts their mental health. [1]

Since this is ‘Mental Health Awareness Month,’ we think it’s the right moment for you to step back and look at employee mental health, explore how you can effectively deal with it, and learn about what to do and what not to do as an employer or manager.

What Is Employee Mental Health?

Employee mental health is the state of the psychological and emotional well-being of your workforce. It affects how they think, feel, and behave at work, as well as their ability to cope with stress, challenges, changes, and opportunities.

Employee mental health is not a binary concept. It is not a matter of having or not having a mental health condition. Rather, it is a spectrum that can vary from day to day and person to person. Everyone has mental health, just like everyone has physical health. Just like physical health, mental health can be influenced by various factors, such as genetics, environment, lifestyle, relationships, work culture, and events.

Some of the common mental health conditions that can affect employees are:

  • Anxiety: A feeling of worry, nervousness, or fear that interferes with daily activities.
  • Depression: A persistent low mood that affects one’s interest, energy, appetite, sleep, and self-esteem.
  • Burnout: A state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by chronic stress at work.
  • Trauma: A psychological response to a distressing or life-threatening event that can cause flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance, and hypervigilance.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A disorder that develops after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event that can cause persistent and intrusive symptoms such as re-experiencing, avoidance, negative changes in mood and cognition, and increased arousal.

These conditions can affect anyone at any time, regardless of their age, gender, race, role, or seniority. They can also have serious consequences for both the individual and the organization if left untreated or unsupported.

HR Tool to Help Tackle Employee Mental Health Issues

There are many ways to tackle employee mental health. A good way is to leverage HR tools to minimize the issues. One of those tools is the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), a software that can help you manage the recruitment process from sourcing to hiring candidates. An ATS can also enable you to get to know candidates on a deeper level and make more informed decisions. You can use an ATS like Manatal to learn about candidates beyond what’s written on their CVs. Through the Candidate Enrichment feature, Manatal quickly browses the web and pulls candidates’ information from their available online profiles into a single database, allowing you to better understand each candidate’s drive and be more empathetic towards them during interviews and employment.

{{cta}}

How You Can Deal with Employee Mental Health

Dealing with employee mental health is not only a moral duty but also a legal obligation for employers. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), all workers have the right to a safe and healthy environment at work. [2] This includes protecting and promoting their mental health.

There are three levels of intervention that employers can adopt to deal with employee mental health:

  • Primary prevention: This involves eliminating or reducing the sources of stress and risk factors at work that can harm employee mental health. For example, by providing clear job roles and expectations, ensuring fair pay and recognition, offering flexible work arrangements, fostering a positive work culture, and preventing violence, harassment, and discrimination.
  • Secondary prevention: Revolves around enhancing the resilience and coping skills of employees to deal with stress and challenges at work. For instance, by providing training on stress management, communication skills, emotional intelligence, and mindfulness.
  • Tertiary prevention: This involves supporting employees who are experiencing mental health problems or crises at work. For example, by providing access to confidential counseling services, employee assistance programs (EAPs), reasonable accommodations, and return-to-work plans.

Unfortunately, many organizations fail to implement these interventions effectively or consistently. According to a survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), only 44% of employees said their organization provides sufficient resources to help them manage their stress. [3] Only 35% of them said their employer regularly seeks input from employees on ways to improve working conditions. Moreover, employees have recently revealed that their workplaces are offering fewer mental health services in 2022. [4]

This gap between what employees need and what employers provide can lead to negative outcomes such as absenteeism, presenteeism (working while sick), turnover, low morale, low quality of work, errors, accidents, conflicts, grievances, and lawsuits.

How to Improve Employee Mental Health

Improving employee mental health requires a holistic and proactive approach that involves both individual and organizational actions. Here are some tips on how to improve employee mental health:

  • Train your managers to promote health and well-being among their teams by being vulnerable, empathetic, supportive, and flexible. Managers should also model healthy behaviors and habits, such as taking breaks, asking for help, and respecting work-life balance.
  • Conducting regular employee surveys to gather feedback on their mental health challenges, stress levels, and overall well-being can provide valuable insights into areas of improvement within the organization. Similarly, candidate surveys during the recruitment process can also help identify potential stressors or gaps in support that may impact employee mental health, allowing you to proactively address these issues and create a healthier work environment.
  • Increase employees’ options for where, when, and how they work by offering remote work, flexible hours, job sharing, or other arrangements that suit their preferences and needs. This can help employees achieve a better balance between their work and personal responsibilities and reduce stress and burnout.
  • Reexamine health insurance policies with a focus on employee mental health by ensuring adequate coverage for mental health services, reducing or eliminating co-pays and deductibles, expanding the network of providers, and offering telehealth options. This can help employees access affordable and convenient care for their mental health needs.
  • Listen to what your employees need and use their feedback to evolve by conducting regular surveys, focus groups, or interviews to understand their challenges, concerns, and suggestions. This can help you identify the gaps in your current policies and practices and implement changes that address them.
  • Take a critical look at equity, diversity, and inclusion policies by ensuring that they are not only written but also enforced and practiced. This can help you create a culture of respect, belonging, and empowerment for all employees, especially those from marginalized or underrepresented groups who may face additional barriers or discrimination that affect their mental health.

Employee Mental Health: What to Do & What Not to Do

As an employer or manager, you have a significant influence on the mental health of your employees. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind when dealing with employee mental health:

Dos:

  • Educate yourself and your staff on mental health awareness, stigma reduction, and the resources available.
  • Encourage open and honest conversations about mental health in a safe and supportive environment.
  • Recognize the signs of stress or distress in yourself and others and intervene early before they escalate.
  • Accommodate the needs of employees with mental health conditions as you would for those with physical health conditions.
  • Promote a culture of collaboration, recognition, and feedback that fosters positive relationships and morale among employees.

Don’ts:

  • Ignore or dismiss the mental health issues of your employees or yourself.
  • Judging or blaming employees for their mental health problems or making assumptions about their abilities or performance based on their mental health status.
  • Disclose or gossip about the mental health information of your employees without their consent.
  • Pressure or coerce employees to disclose their mental health conditions or seek treatment.
  • Overload or micromanage employees who are struggling with their mental health or expect them to perform at the same level as before without adequate support. [5]

Case Studies: Companies That Have Successfully Improved Employee Mental Health

Now that we’ve gone through best practices in theory, let’s see the real-world applications of these practices. Here are examples of top companies that have successfully improved their employee mental health to inspire you. [6]

1. Microsoft

The US-based tech titan prioritizes mental health with in-person, digital, and telephone counseling, support groups, and workshops, driven by employee experiences. Microsoft offers diverse support channels for its employees as well. The company revealed that rather than an established program, its leaders took a step and shared their personal struggling stories or the ones they have witnessed to encourage employees.

2. Unilever

When it comes to dealing with employee mental health, the multinational fast-moving consumer goods company tackles the issue in various ways. Unilever created a culture that encourages employees to seek help when needed through mindfulness workshops. The company also came up with an assistant application that provides health information as well as offers urgent assistance for its employees.

3. Pinterest

Pinterest comes with a radical way of dealing with its employee’s mental health. The image-sharing platform created an internal community group called ‘Pinspiration’ in 2020, subsequently named ‘Pinside Out’ to host wellness-focused events and act as a forum for its workforce to discuss and open up about mental health issues in the workplace. The company also collaborated with experts for virtual sessions and meditation classes.

4. Palo Alto Networks

The global cybersecurity company makes supporting employees its utmost priority. Certified as the most loved workplace company in 2023, Palo Alto Networks partners with Modern Health, the global mental wellness company, and offers its employees and their families access to self-serve resources, including private sessions with certified mental health, career and financial well-being coaches, as well as private counseling sessions with licensed clinical therapists. Palo Alto Networks’ employees are also bestowed with unlimited live group sessions and $1,000 per year for items or experiences that improve health or well-being.

Conclusion

Improving employee mental health in the workplace is crucial in ensuring the overall well-being of both employees and the organization as a whole. By acknowledging and addressing mental health concerns, employers can foster a positive work environment that promotes employee engagement, productivity, and satisfaction. Implementing strategies such as providing mental health resources, offering flexible work arrangements, and promoting work-life balance can go a long way in promoting mental health and reducing burnout. In addition, creating an open and inclusive culture where employees feel comfortable seeking support for their mental health needs is essential in promoting a healthy workplace. Ultimately, investing in employee mental health not only benefits employees but also has significant benefits for the organization's bottom line.

Citations:

1. nami.org

2. hbr.org

3. dol.gov

4. Psychiatry.org

5. apa.org

6. ripplematch

Ann Schumann

As a former recruiter turned content writer, Ann specializes in creating engaging content. With a passion for the recruitment industry, she helps businesses streamline hiring and attract top talent using innovative solutions.

Sourcing candidates shouldn't be hard.

No credit card required
No commitment
Start Free Trial

Explore how Manatal can Fit
your Business

Receive an overview of Manatal platform from a product expert.

Get started with Manatal

Our 14-day free trial allows anyone to explore the platform without commitment, while our team is committed to providing support and guidance throughout the process.
Data migration from your existing recruitment software
Team training for a fast and smooth onboarding
Transparent and flexible pricing without lock-in contract
Highest security protocol as standard (SOC II Type 2)
24 / 5 support availability via live chat
All-in-one platform covering all your recruitment needs

Transform the Way You Recruit Today.

World-leading Recruitment Software for Talent Acquisition and Recruitment Professionals.
900,000+
Recruitment processes managed.
10,000+
Active recruiting teams.
135+
Countries.
Bill Twinning
Talent Resources & Development Director - Charoen Pokphand Group
Manatal is the best ATS we worked with. Simplicity, efficency and the latest technologies combined make it an indispensable tool for any large-scale HR team. Since its adoption, we've seen a huge increase across all our key recruitment metrics. To summarize. it is a must-have.
Ahmed Firdaus
Director - MRI Network, Executive Search Firm
I've been using Manatal for the past couple of months and the platform is excellent, user-friendly and it has helped me a lot in my recruitment process, operation and database management. I'm very happy with their great support. Whenever I ask something they come back to me within minutes.
Dina Demajo
Senior Talent Acquisition - Manpower Group
Manpower has been using Manatal and we couldn't be happier as a team with the services this platform has provided. The application is extremely user-friendly and very well equipped with all the useful functions one would required for successful recruitment. The support team is also excellent with very fast response time.
Edmund Yeo
Human Resources Manager - Oakwood
Manatal is a sophisticated, easy-to-use, mobile-friendly, and cloud-based applicant tracking system that helps companies achieve digitalization and seamless integration to Linkedin and other job boards. The team at Manatal is very supportive, helpful, prompt in their replies and we were pleased to see that the support they offer exceeded our expectations.
Maxime Ferreira
International Director - JB Hired
Manatal has been at the core of our agency's expansion. Using it has greatly improved and simplified our recruitment processes. Incredibly easy and intuitive to use, customizable to a tee, and offers top-tier live support. Our recruiters love it. A must-have for all recruitment agencies. Definitely recommend!
Ngoc-Thinh Tran
HR Manager, Talent Sourcing & Acquisition - Suntory PepsiCo Beverage
I am using Manatal for talent sourcing and it is the best platform ever. I am so impressed, the Manatal team did an excellent work. This is so much awesome, I am recommending the solution to all recruiters I know.
Bill Twinning
Talent Resources & Development Director - Charoen Pokphand Group
Manatal is the best ATS we worked with. Simplicity, efficency and the latest technologies combined make it an indispensable tool for any large-scale HR team. Since its adoption, we've seen a huge increase across all our key recruitment metrics. To summarize. it is a must-have.
Ahmed Firdaus
Director - MRINetwork, Executive Search Firm
I've been using Manatal for the past couple of months and the platform is excellent, user-friendly and it has helped me a lot in my recruitment process, operation and database management. I'm very happy with their great support. whenever I asked something they come back to me within minutes.
Dina Demajo
Senior Talent Acquisition - Manpower Group
Manpower has been using Manatal and we couldn't be happier as a team with the services this platform has provided. The application is extremely user-friendly and very well equipped with all the useful functions one would required for successful requirement. The support team is also excellent with very fast response time.
Kevin Martin
Human Resources Manager - Oakwood
Manatal is a sophisticated, easy-to-use, mobile-friendly, and cloud-based applicant tracking system that helps companies achieve digitalization and seamless integration to Linkedin and other job boards. The team at Manatal is very supportive, helpful, prompt in their replies and we were pleased to see that the support they offer exceeded our expectations.
Maxime Ferreira
International Director - JB Hired
Manatal has been at the core of our agency's expansion. Using it has greatly improved and simplified our recruitment processes. Incredibly easy and intuitive to use, customizable to a tee, and offers top-tier live support. Our recruiters love it. A must-have for all recruitment agencies. Definitely recommend!
Ngoc-Thinh Tran
HR Manager, Talent Sourcing & Acquisition - Suntory PepsiCo Beverage
I am using Manatal for talent sourcing and it is the best platform ever. I am so impressed, the Manatal team did an excellent work. This is so much awesome, I am recommending the solution to all recruiters I know.

Try Manatal for free during 14-day with no commitment.

No credit card required
No commitment
Try it Now