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The damage caused by employee sleep disorders

22nd March, 2022.

The damage caused by employee sleep disorders

Sleep disorders are a global epidemic. A whopping 45% of the world’s population suffer from sleep problems. That’s 45% of your employees that may have a reduced attention span, poor memory, lack of energy and mood swings. All of these symptoms lead to poor or risky decision making. So much so that research suggests that 13% of workplace injuries and 20% of vehicles crashes are caused by tiredness.

While the immediate implications are clear, many are unaware of the long-term damage sleep disorders can cause. Impaired immune function, obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke and depression are all linked to sleep disorders. 

How to support employees suffering from sleep disorders

Given the detrimental impact sleep disorders can have on working and personal life, we need to ensure our employees have the support they need.

Less than a third of people suffering from a sleep disorder seek professional help. The reason for this may be because awareness is lacking. Here are a few facts that you could share with your employees to encourage them to seek help:

  • Sleep problems affect a third to a half of all adults at some point.
  • Sleep problems constitute problems getting to sleep, waking up early, or walking for prolonged periods during the night.
  • Most sleep disorders are preventable or treatable. 

Here are some really useful resources to help your employees manage their sleeping habits and identify if they are suffering from a sleep disorder: 

  • Understand what might be causing tiredness – this NHS article helps to explain the potential reasons for tiredness.
  • Practice good sleep hygiene – for those suffering from tiredness (rather than a sleep disorder) this guide provides advice to help get a good night’s sleep.
  • A list of sleep disorders – The Sleep Charity explains each of the sleep disorders, from narcolepsy to bruxism, and the common causes of each. 
  • Know when to seek medical help – because there are so many causes of poor sleep, it can be difficult to know when to speak to a doctor. This checklist makes that decision easier.
  • Useful FAQs – these frequently asked questions cover everything from how to cope with a child that won’t go to sleep, to what foods help induce sleep. 

Workplace factors influencing sleep patterns

Excessive workload, organisation change and shift working may all negatively impact sleep. 

While it may be difficult to directly measure how work is impacting sleep habits, you can understand more about the work-life balance. An employee survey that includes work-life balance survey questions such as the following will enable you to make any necessary changes:

  1. Does your work schedule allow you to spend quality time with your friends and family?
  2. Is your workload excessive?
  3. On a scale of 1-10, on average, how stressed do you feel at the end of your working day?
  4. If you were unhappy with your work-life balance would you feel comfortable raising your concerns?
  5. How could your work/life balance be improved?

Surveys such as this should be carried out regularly to highlight and resolve any imbalances. 

We spend up to one-third of our lives sleeping. Despite it being a basic human need, that need is often overlooked. By starting conversations and encouraging employees to share their opinions and experiences, we can help employees manage their sleep problems and address their sleep disorders. 

daniel wright

Daniel Wright

Marketing Assistant

With a desire to grow personally and a wish to improve working lives through employee engagement, I am thrilled to be part of building an internal comms system that connects everyone.

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Supporting employees with stress in the workplace

21st March, 2022.

Supporting employees with stress in the workplace

As an internal communicator you have a lot of strings to your bow. One of those includes supporting employees with stress in the workplace. In this blog we explore the different steps that can be taken to educate and support employees.  

Stress in the workplace: the current picture

Data from the Health and Safety Executive shows an enormous increase in stress, depression and anxiety in recent years.

A second study found that 79% of workers have experienced burnout with 35% reporting high or extreme levels.

The increases we have witnessed in recent years is a clear indication that we need to better support and education our employees.

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Stress in the workplace: the challenges

Whilst stress can directly impact our mental health, it isn’t a recognised illness in its own right. That’s because some stress is good for us. Mild stress gives us determination and helps us get tasks completed. But it is this non-defined, sliding scale of stress that creates a number of challenges: 

1) There are so many causes of stress. This chart from CIPR shows the most common causes of stress for the UK population: 

While just two of these relate specifically to the workplace, all of the stress factors could influence behaviour and performance at work. When there are so many contributing factors, it can be difficult to identify what is causing our own stress and even harder again for line managers to pick up on.  

2) We don’t always recognise when stress levels are starting to become unmanageable. When we all experience stress and there are so many contributing factors, it can be hard to recognise when our stress levels have become excessive. As a result, stress can go unmanaged for greater lengths of time and often lead to illnesses such as anxiety and depression. 

3) Stress alone is often not perceived to be a big enough problem. The stigma of mental health is still prevalent particularly when talking about stress. One of the causes of this is the generalist way in which we use the term “stress”. For example, if we are experiencing ongoing financial problems, we would describe that as “stressful”. But we would also use the same word to describe a period of momentary stress such as doing a speech. 

The two are very different. One could have a negative affect while the other could be beneficial. As a result, if someone is reaching their ‘tipping point’, using the term “stressed” to describe how they feel may be overlooked. It may even prevent them from speaking up in the first place.

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What we can all do to reduce stress in the workplace

We all have a role to play in educating and supporting each other in the workplace.  

What employers can do to support employees with stress in the workplace

Ultimately as an employer you need to create a safe culture. One in which employees feel comfortable starting a conversation about how stress is impacting them. The more this can be focused on prevention and early intervention the better. Here are some suggestions of how you can achieve that:

  1. Stress audits – it is your legal duty to protect employees from stress at work. By carrying out a risk assessment you can identify the areas you need to improve. The HSE has a useful template to help you do this.
  2. A formal wellbeing strategy – in 2021 only 50% of UK organisations had a formal strategy or plan in place. With a strategy specifically aimed at the mental wellbeing of your employees it will emphasise the importance you place on their mental health and help guide your team when supporting employees.
  3. Ensure line mangers understand their role – it’s important for your line managers to know that they do not need to diagnose stress or come up with a treatment plan. Their role is to recognise the signs, provide a safe environment for discussion and to navigate individuals towards sources of help. Training could be beneficial to help your line managers better support their team.
  4. Mental Health First Aiders – with trained Mental Health First Aiders present you give your employees an additional route for support. Employees often feel more comfortable speaking to someone who doesn’t work directly in their team. Their training also provides reassurance that they will listen and understand.
  5. Be aware of the impact of change – any change can cause stress so be aware of how any organisational changes could be impacting your employees. Offer them additional support if needed and keep in touch more regularly.
  6. Create a community – this year’s Stress Awareness Month revolves around the theme of community following evidence of how impactful loneliness can be to our mental health. For all of the above points to be successful your employees need to feel like they are part of a community. One that is supportive and encouraging. Good internal communications are central to this.
    1. An employee engagement app can help you share useful information but also give your employees a voice – all of which is vital to achieve a community feel. For example, you could share useful information about stress, run employee surveys to establish work-life balance and launch a new exercise scheme, all within the same platform.

What line managers can do to support employees with stress in the workplace

Line managers play a massive part in supporting employees’ stress levels. But they are also a big cause of stress – the HSE reported that the main factors cited to be causing work-related stress, depression or anxiety are workload pressure and a lack of managerial support

We need to better equip our line managers so they can become a support rather than a cause. Here are some suggestions to help line managers reduce employee stress:

  1. Know the signs of stress – stress is multi-faceted. Line managers need to look beyond working life and recognise the signs of stress. This factsheet provides a helpful list.
  2. Be able to start a conversation – broaching a conversation with an employee about their stress levels could help prevent the stress from becoming unmanageable. This Talking Toolkit provides useful guidance and questions to help do just that. 
  3. Know where to signpost people – if line managers identify that an employee needs additional support they need to know what to do next. Having a list of the options will ensure the employee gets the support they need – whether that’s through a Mental Health First Aider, member of HR, external counselling service or a support charity. 
  4. Draw upon their compassion – showing compassion is absolutely critical for employees to feel confident enough to speak up. While some managers may naturally have compassion, others may need to work harder to develop those skills. The CIPD have some useful quizzes to help managers understand how their managerial style supports the wellbeing of their employees. This one looks specifically at behaviours and this one explores the barriers that may be holding managers back from supporting their team.

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What internal communicators can do to support employees with stress in the workplace

As an internal communicator you have the gift of reach. You can communicate with a large proportion of your workforce in a way that few others in your organisation can. Your communications should span everything from prevention to support, from policies to individual stories. Here are our top tips to help reduce employee stress:

  1. Talk about what your organisation is doing – if a new policy has been put in place or managerial stress awareness training is taking place – let your employees know. The more visible these initiatives are the more aware you employees will be of the importance your organisation places on mental health.
  2. Ensure employees know where they can turn – as an organisation you will have multiple support mechanisms for employees experiencing extreme stress. Ensure you promote these regularly to make it as easy as possible for your employees to seek help. This will include internal support such as line managers, mental health first aiders and links to wellbeing benefits, but it is also useful to include links to external support networks such as the following:
    1. NHS urgent mental health helpline – for periods of crisis
    2. NHS guidance on stress – including useful contacts and guidance 
    3. Side by Side – an online community where you can listen, share and be heard (delivered by MIND) 
    4. Rethink Mental Illness – providing practical help on a wide range of topics including living with mental illness, medication, The Mental Health Act and carers rights.
  3. Raise awareness of stress – our greatest weapon against stress is awareness. Help employees understand the causes, symptoms and coping mechanisms for stress. Rethink Mental Illness has a useful guide which highlights the signs and causes of stress, together with some guidance on managing stress levels.   
  4. Share stories – if you have any advocates who would be willing to share their story that could really help others. It can be very daunting to speak out. Seeing someone else’s story can give that little boost needed to take that first step.  

What you can do to support your own stress levels

Whilst we are busy supporting others with their stress levels, we can sometimes forget about ourselves. Take a moment to complete this stress test to find out where your stress levels are. At the end you’ll also receive recommendations for things you can do to reduce your own stress. 

Using technology to manage stress in the workplace

Technology makes a significant difference to the awareness and support of employees. VRAMP is an internal communication tool that helps organisations better connect with their employees. Looking specifically at stress awareness and support, this is what VRAMP can do:

  • You can reach all your employees no matter where or when they work – you can easily share messages via the employee app, desktop or email.
  • You can give your employees a voice through comments and employee surveys – helping to pick up on signs of stress.
  • You can target specific groups of people through employee segmentation – for example, if a team is undergoing significant change, you can keep in touch just with them to ensure they are OK.
  • Detailed analytics provide valuable insight including engagement behaviours. VRAMP shows you who is and isn’t engaging. Should engagement levels suddenly drop, you have early indicators that can be explored before they become impactful.

Find out more about how VRAMP can help you manage workplace stress by seeing a demo.

author-rachel-stidworthy

Rachel Stidworthy

Marketing Manager

With over 15 years’ experience in communications I have seen first-hand the difference strong internal communications can make. I am passionate about helping organisations reap the rewards of an engaged workforce and feel privileged to work for an organisation that has this same passion. We can achieve so much more when we work together towards the same goals. 

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Why we support apprenticeships

6th January, 2022.

Why we support apprenticeships

The second week of February is National Apprenticeships Week. To mark the occasion, we thought we’d take off our internal comms and employee hats for a bit and talk about our experience of apprenticeships and why they are so effective.

We are a growing business. In 2021 our workforce increased by 25% and that is set to continue in 2022. As a business we are very aware of the social and environmental impact we have. At the start of 2021 we knew that we needed to expand our marketing team and were also very aware of the challenge young people had in finding employment during the pandemic. This led us to the Kickstart Scheme. The Scheme looks to get people aged 16-24 years, who are at risk of long-term unemployment, into work.

This is the first time we had explored such a route and, if I’m honest, it was a rocky start. We had very few applications at the start and those we had were a poor match to the skills and background we needed. In hindsight, I think this was more due to teething problems with the process but at the time it made us feel dubious!

After a couple of months of searching we came across one CV that seemed a better fit. A few weeks later Dan started with us! The Kickstart Scheme lasts for 6 months and during this time Dan settled in brilliantly. At the end of the Kickstart Scheme we offered him a permanent role but we also explored routes to expand his qualifications because he has a big thirst for learning. 

 

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Cue apprenticeships!

We quickly found a course that worked well for both Dan and us as his employer. Dan now continues to carry out his day job but also takes a day out a week to study for his Marketing degree.

The journey for us has been great. The process moved quickly and Dan was officially an apprentice just a couple of months after we looked into the options. The apprenticeship not only gives Dan an opportunity to expand his knowledge, it also brings fresh ideas and knowledge into our business. It’s this double benefit that made it an obvious choice for us.

But less about us. Let’s hear from Dan himself! Here’s his summary of apprenticeships:

“An apprenticeship appealed to me because it lets me learn new concepts whilst also putting those concepts into practice. It’s this combination of academic and practical experience that works really well for me.

Before I started I was apprehensive about fitting everything in. I always want to give 100% so to do that in work and in my studies, whilst also carrying on with everything else outside of work was daunting. But once I had a clear schedule I soon got into the rhythm and now it just feels normal!”

For us apprenticeships weren’t a planned route. As a business, we knew we wanted to support a young person in their career but what that route looked like very much depended on them. While we knew the format of an apprenticeship would work well within our business, unless it suited Dan as well, there was no point pursuing it. But as it happens, Dan’s enthusiasm and way of learning fits brilliantly, hence the success we’ve had to date.

If there are any businesses or potential apprentices considering an apprenticeship (or the Kickstart Scheme) we’d be more than happy to discuss our experiences with you. #AskAnEmployer #AskAnApprentice

#NAW2022

author-rachel-stidworthy

Rachel Stidworthy

Marketing Manager

With over 15 years’ experience in communications I have seen first-hand the difference strong internal communications can make. I am passionate about helping organisations reap the rewards of an engaged workforce and feel privileged to work for an organisation that has this same passion. We can achieve so much more when we work together towards the same goals. 

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Motivate Warehouse Employees

how to motivate warehouse employees

How to motivate warehouse employees

The demand for warehouse employees is rising. As stated by the Financial Times “employers are scrambling to recruit staff”. Now more than ever there is a need to focus on how to motivate warehouse employees. Improving employee engagement will both retain existing employees and appeal to future recruits. But this is an enormous challenge in this sector. Someone once told me; “The only thing that motivates warehouse employees is their salary and the people they work with.” There is certainly some truth in this. As you can see below from the top 10 reasons people leave their employment, compensation features highly while many of the others fit into the category of ‘cultural fit’.

Top 10 reasons employees leave their employment

  1. Feeling unappreciated
  2. A lack of proper compensation
  3. Insufficient time off
  4. Change in management
  5. Outdated machinery and equipment
  6. Unrealistic goals
  7. Lack of management support
  8. A lack of challenge
  9. Lack of joyful environment
  10. Lack of career progression

While the distribution sector is so buoyant there is a lot of competition with the potential to poach your employees. There is also the added challenge of many of the baby boomers now retiring resulting in the need to appeal to a very different generation.

Combine this with the fact that the average cost for losing and replacing an employee is £12,000 (Employee Replacement Cost), and it is clear that you need to do everything you can to retain and motivate warehouse employees.

5 steps to retain and motivate warehouse employees

By improving motivation and better engaging employees, you not only increase retention rates but you are also highly likely to see improvements in productivity. There are few sectors where staff satisfaction has such a direct effect on productivity. Here are the 5 steps we recommend every distribution organisation adopts in order to maximise staff retention and employee engagement.

1) Understand your employees

An obvious point but one that is often overlooked. You can’t improve their working lives unless you truly know what makes them tick. What are their motivations for coming to work? What do they enjoy about their working day? What don’t they enjoy? What barriers do they consider to be hampering their performance? What do they enjoy doing when they leave work?

If you don’t know the answer to any of these questions it is important to understand them. Without these answers you cannot set a benchmark, you cannot relate effectively to your employees and you cannot improve warehouse staff retention rates.

To find out the answers you could carry out employee surveys or ask in 1:1s. Whatever your method, ensure you get as many people involved as possible and explain the reasons for the survey to get buy-in.

2) Review your remuneration package

In such a competitive market, it is always a valuable exercise to review what you offer your employees. From salary, through to productivity incentives and holiday allowances. When warehouse staff can pick and choose their employer, these factors will make a huge difference in their choices.

You may want to carry out research on your closest competitors to understand where your remuneration package sits in comparison. The answers to the questions in step 1 will also guide you on what your employees expect and need.

If you don’t already, you could introduce some productivity incentives in which employees receive a reward when they reach certain productivity milestones. If you do this, the most important factors to consider are; make the targets challenging but achievable and consider your reward carefully. You may even want a few different rewards to cater for different employees. Another option to consider is ‘employee of the month’ which recognises and rewards employees who have achieved their productivity targets or who have demonstrated your company values.

You may also benefit from considering more flexible working hours in your employee engagement strategy. This is something the younger generation are likely to look for and is becoming more expected since the pandemic.

3) Provide a pleasant working environment

A very basic but absolutely vital employee need. An unpleasant vs a pleasant work environment will influence an employee’s decision on whether they stay or leave your company. Here are some factors you should consider:

  • Cleanliness – dirty areas are depressing but also potentially dangerous. Investing in a cleaning regime will always boost the mood of your employees.
  • Machinery and tools – in a job where productivity is measured constantly, anything that hampers an employee’s productivity will cause significant frustration. Where possible, ensure you have the right machinery and tools in place to minimise these frustrations.
  • Space to relax – working in a warehouse is hard work and often noisy. By providing a quiet, comfortable space to retreat to will help your employees recharge their batteries and have the downtime that is so vital in a busy work environment.
  • Use music – as well as improving morale, a study found that playing music improves the productivity of 73% of warehouse workers. This is therefore well worth considering if you don’t already have a music policy.

4) Ensure effective managerial support

Positive working relationships with managers make a huge difference to employee engagement. With the right processes and feedback loops in place a manager’s role in the distribution sector is absolutely critical to staff retention. They can show appreciation for the work the employee has undertaken. They will help the employee with any career progression aspirations. They will identify any training requirements or opportunities. And they will cascade information in both directions.

The role of a manager cannot be overlooked in this sector. They need to be granted the time and processes necessary to carry out effective 1:1s, provide quality support and put focus on employee engagement. This in turn will foster loyalty, all of which contributes to staff retention.

5) Consider your company culture

The final factor that wraps all of the above steps together is your company culture. Your culture should demonstrate the attitudes and behaviours you expect your employees to adhere to. In essence, when you have nailed your company culture, everyone will be working towards the same goals with mutual respect for one another. It is this shared ethos that will create a community and that will create loyalty amongst your staff.

Central to a solid company culture is communication. Your employees need to know what is expected of them and where they fit in the company goals. Likewise, your employees need to feel listened to and have the avenues to provide ideas and feedback. You can achieve this two-way communication loop far easier in today’s world. Technology such as employee communication software provides all of this in a single platform helping you master employee engagement and ensure your employees feel valued and part of the company’s journey.

daniel wright

Daniel Wright

Marketing Assistant

With a desire to grow personally and a wish to improve working lives through employee engagement, I am thrilled to be part of building an internal comms system that connects everyone.

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what is employee engagement

Employee Engagement?

What is Employee Engagement? To answer the question “What is employee engagement?” let’s turn to the famous visit President John F Kennedy made

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The Barriers Employees Safety and wellbeing

barriers to keeping frontline employees

The Barriers to Keeping Frontline Employees Safe and Well

Every organisation will say that the health and safety of their frontline employees is of utmost importance. But despite this awareness and eagerness, keeping everyone safe and well is extremely difficult. The statistics speak for themselves: in 2019/20 693,000 people sustained an injury at work, whilst an additional 828,000 suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety. We are also currently experiencing a decline in the mental health of the UK workforce as evidenced by a 2020 CIPD survey which found that just 35% of respondents believed work had a positive impact on their mental health, compared to 43% in 2018.

This decline in mental wellbeing combined with the knowledge that physical and mental illness results in a loss of 38.8 million working days per annum, highlights the need for UK organisations to up their game. In this blog we address the challenges and identify how you can improve the mental and physical health of deskless employees.

The barriers to frontline employee safety and wellbeing

When you read the stats above and then add COVID to the mix, the challenge of reducing injury and improving mental health is big enough as it is. But combine this with the complication of how to effectively reach your employees that ‘work on the tools’ and the scale of the challenge is amplified. Ultimately, there are two factors that complicate matters.

Their environment

By the very nature of their job, your frontline employees are more difficult to keep safe. For starters, their job roles often mean they are at greater risk of injury, but they are also harder to communicate with. They often work at different locations or on varied shift patterns. They simply don’t have the same consistent access to the information their desk-based counterparts have.

In fact, many frontline workers are still reliant on their line manager to pass on a message. This reliance on receiving information secondhand presents many problems:

  • Line managers will rate messages at different levels of importance and convey these accordingly.
  • Those responsible for distributing the message have no idea whether the message was received or if it was portrayed effectively.
  • The staggered method of distributing comms makes it nigh on impossible to communicate anything urgently.
  • Employees have a very limited opportunity to provide feedback.

Ultimately, any dependency on third party communications is unreliable. There are too many steps involved in the process and too many variables that will impact the speed, effectiveness and responsiveness of each communication.

Their perception

While the environment is an obvious blocker to communicating and keeping remote workers safe, there is a more problematic, silent barrier. Perception.

How frontline employees perceive the company they work for, their manager and the senior leadership has a big impact on how they work. Many of the decisions and actions that an employee takes will be influenced by their own motivations and drivers. If they are not engaged, the risk of them not reading the latest health and safety notice, or taking potentially dangerous shortcuts, or not mentioning their increasing anxiety, is increased.

But many organisations also suffer from a two-way perception challenge. Remote workers are often seen as just that, ‘remote’. They are labelled as outsiders. They are unseen employees whose needs and voices often come lower down in the pecking order than their office-based team members. It’s often a historical pattern that is engrained into the organisation. How many times have you heard things like; “we’ve always communicated that way” or “but the operatives just don’t care about that stuff”. These are all perceptions that need to be addressed and without addressing them, organisations will be left with a ‘them and us’ culture.

Ultimately, any perception, whether misconstrued or accurate, will be a blocker. If those on the frontline perceive themselves, or believe someone else perceives them, to be less valued than their colleagues they will lack pride, confidence and satisfaction. They will feel as though they don’t have a voice and the company culture, and profits, will take a hit.

Using employee engagement to improve health & safety

What the two barriers above highlight is that unless your remote employees are engaged, your health, safety and wellbeing policy will not be effective.

As a provider of employee engagement software, we have worked with our clients to strengthen their employee engagement strategies so they can communicate health & safety strategies that resonate and take effect. Take a look at our 7 employee engagement techniques for a deskless workforce and 5 steps to better engage your hard to reach employees to discover how you can put the right foundations in place to break through the barriers.

Or contact us to see the difference an employee communication app could make to your deskless workforce.

daniel wright

Daniel Wright

Marketing Assistant

With a desire to grow personally and a wish to improve working lives through employee engagement, I am thrilled to be part of building an internal comms system that connects everyone.

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Mental health workplace

mental wellbeing

Mental wellbeing in the workplace: 6 steps every organisation should take

A study by Oracle found that 76% of employees believe their company should be doing more to protect the mental health of their workforce. This statistics alone speak volumes but when you then combine this with the estimated cost of mental health on UK businesses, the message becomes even clearer. The Centre for Mental Health found that poor mental health costs UK employers up to £35 billion a year and this figure keeps on rising. This equates to a cost of £1,300 for every employee in the UK economy.

Many organisations are already stepping up and acknowledging mental health as a big part of their engagement and wellbeing strategy but if anyone in your organisation still needs convincing; Deloitte identified that for every £1 spent by employers on mental health interventions, they get £5 back in reduced absence, presenteeism and staff turnover. When you add this hard economic fact into the mix, it is clear that employee mental ill-health has to be a top priority.

How mental wellbeing strategies should fit into your organisation

It is important to note that any mental wellbeing initiative cannot be a standalone project. It isn’t something that should just be mentioned during Mental Health Awareness Week. It needs to be deeply ingrained in the culture of the organisation. At VRAMP we firmly believe that mental wellbeing and employee engagement are inextricably linked. After all, when you strip back employee engagement, its purpose is to make someone feel they matter. That positively impacts our mental health. We would therefore always recommend that mental health initiatives are part of your employee engagement strategy so they can be weaved into your company culture.

How to better manage and support mental wellbeing at work

We have combined suggestions for some of the UK’s leading mental health charities and support organisations to create a checklist of steps an organisation should take to implement better mental health support.

Step 1: Have the right support networks in place

Mental wellbeing is complex. For you to provide effective mental healthcare it is likely that you will need support from professionals. This could be access to a workplace mental healthcare scheme, links to mental health helplines, employees trained as mental health first aiders or support creating a mental health policy. Once you have solid support provisions in place, you can take on the remaining five steps.

Step 2: Change perception

Many employees are still reluctant to declare a mental health issue for fear that their employer will regard it as a weakness or failure. Your employees need to be comfortable and confident in sharing their experiences. They need to know that good health, both mental and physical, is a company priority. The best way to achieve this is to lead from the top. If senior leaders and line managers are honest and open, the barriers will begin to lift.

Step 3: Ensure your leaders are confident

If an employee went to their line manager and informed them they were struggling with their mental wellbeing, are you confident that all your line managers would know how to respond? If not, some internal training will be necessary to run through the support you have available and how to personally provide ongoing support – from the right questions to ask to a reminder to consistently carry out 1:1s and return to work interviews. If your line managers are confident, your employees will feel better supported.

Step 4: Communicate in many different ways

The more we communicate about something the more comfortable we feel. But we are all different and we prefer to consume information, and engage, in different ways. Therefore, the more channels you use to spread the message the more aware your employees will be of your commitment to support their mental health. From the induction process, through to articles, posters, weekly tips for line managers and guest speakers at company conferences. Every time you discuss mental wellbeing, it has the potential to resonate with another person.

Step 5: Involve employees with organisational decisions

The more you involve people, the greater sense of ownership they will feel, increasing productivity and morale. This might be input on your mental wellbeing policy or opinions on how the organisation should evolve. No matter how big or small the decision, you have multiple routes available to make it happen. These include staff surveys, focus groups, performance reviews, innovation events, team briefings and feedback through internal communication tools.

Step 6: Regularly take stock

To know how to effectively support your team you need to know if there are any factors that have changed that could have a negative impact on mental health. For example, a big project with tight deadlines, a noisier work environment, an increase in lone working, or poorly managed change could all cause mental health problems. By taking into consideration all the possible triggers and ensuring you monitor and measure them, you can make the necessary changes or interventions to protect your staff.

The final word

Ultimately, for us to normalise mental health and give it the same non-stigmatised understanding that physical health has, we need to communicate and engage. And when we spend around 50 years of our lives at work, the workplace has to be somewhere we are comfortable discussing our mental wellbeing.

For further guidance or support we recommend visiting:

NHS – https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/

Mind – https://www.mind.org.uk/

Mental Health Foundation – https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/

Mental Health at Work – https://www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/

Centre for Mental Health – https://www.centreformentalhealth.org.uk/

daniel wright

Daniel Wright

Marketing Assistant

With a desire to grow personally and a wish to improve working lives through employee engagement, I am thrilled to be part of building an internal comms system that connects everyone.

Relevant resources

what is employee engagement

Employee Engagement?

What is Employee Engagement? To answer the question “What is employee engagement?” let’s turn to the famous visit President John F Kennedy made

Read More »