Why The Mental Health of Your Team is More Important Than Ever￼
If you’ve been taking in the news, reading posts from friends and colleagues, or just listening to the people around you, then you already know that mental health has become a loud and necessary conversation that our country is having. Long neglected and even sometimes shamed, mental health issues within our society are just as prevalent as ever, with more and more people taking notice. Old stigmas are still there and can have an effect on whether or not a person seeks help for their troubles, but largely, the idea of seeking help for your mental health is becoming much more normalized.
If you’re reading this, then there’s a decent chance that you’re working at a company with benefits usually covering general health, dental, and eye care, but it’s much less likely that you have something set up to care for the minds of your teammates. Until now, you may not have even considered needing it. After all, why would you? You get sad sometimes, but you still come to work. Why can’t they do the same?
What you need to realize is that it’s not just a matter of feeling sad. When someone’s mental health is working against them, it not only affects them in their personal life, but it also affects you and how well your company runs.
More Than Just “Feeling Sad”
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, around one out of every five US adults are living with a mental illness;
around 53 million people as of 2020. This includes things like depression, anxiety, OCD, and myriad other diagnoses that can make day-to-day life more difficult for those affected.
This means that in your workplace, it’s likely that there are multiple people that are having to push past some form of internal hardship in order to do the jobs you need to be done. Contrary to some old-world ways of thinking, these people aren’t less than, lazy, or anything of the sort. They’re people that have legitimate medical conditions that should be taken into account.
People can become overstimulated, dissociative, and frustrated by what’s going on around them. Sadness is only one small part of what a mental health condition can look like, and if you’re someone who doesn’t suffer from such an affliction, it’s not something you can necessarily relate to. These symptoms have a different meaning than what you assume they do, and they can outright prevent a team member from doing their best work and working to their full potential.
Despite the overwhelming amount of research and documentation out there, some organizations still don’t believe that mental health is worth making accommodations for, and they don’t believe that the investment is worth it for their bottom line. They would be wrong.
people prefer to work for companies that provide mental health support. This support could include but isn’t limited to flexible work hours, the ability to work remotely, mental health stipends, and employee paid time off being respected by the organization.
If you’re not committed to having a good, transparent mental health culture for prospective employees, you’re going to be actively driving away amazing talent that could be driving you towards achieving your lofty goals!
A little investment in accommodation can secure you top-tier talent looking to bring their unique abilities and perspective to an employer that cares about what they may be going through. Stating your commitment to such things on your career page is a green flag in the eyes of many people looking for a place to work that won’t judge them based on their needing a little flexibility to perform at their best.
Shine A Light
There’s a certain amount of stigma and shame associated with divulging mental health issues. Many people won’t bring it up
to their employers because they’re afraid that they’ll be painted as being lazy, problematic, or otherwise unreliable, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
This combined with the hardship that can come along with burnout and stress is why you should always be open about mental health within your organization. When you engage with your team regularly and discuss things like workload, company culture, and benefits, it’s going to let them know that they’ll be able to come to you with concerns instead of keeping them bottled up. That means fewer surprises in the form of sick days and drops in productivity.
A Stronger Mind, A Stronger Organization
There are undoubtedly readers out there who still aren’t quite getting what we’re trying to say here, and that’s okay.
It’s easy to discuss the things that your workers may be going through, but at the end of the day, they’re still going to be there working, right?
The answer is “yes”! Those people will still be there, and they’ll do the best they can. However, their best can be better with support!
When employees receive treatment for their mental health issues, it results in higher productivity, fewer sick days are taken, lower medical costs, and decreased disability costs. That’s an awful lot of benefits! Employees with depression miss an average of 31.4 days a year, and another 27.9 if you look at the loss in productivity alone.
That’s a huge loss in productivity. If that number shocks you, remember that by working on better mental health initiatives, you can cut that number down significantly. In fact, according to a study completed by the National Safety Council and the University of Chicago shows that organizations can expect to see a return of $4 for every $1 invested in employee mental health . Their findings also showed that employees in mental distress use $3,000 more in health services than those not suffering mental distress and that the cost of days lost per employee in mental distress is about $4,800. Couple that with the potential for turnover (which you know isn’t cheap), and you’re looking at a huge chunk of change that you don’t necessarily have to lose!
A little bit of focus and compassion can get some of those days back, and build a much stronger team overall!
Best Practices For Employee Mental Health
There’s no cure-all when you’re looking to improve team members' mental health, but there are steps you can take to
lessen the impact! Here are a few we’ve implemented that have worked really well:
Be Flexible - If the work gets done when you need it done, then less emphasis should be placed on strict, heavily monitored desk time. Not everyone works with the same rhythm, and sometimes people are going to need a little time away from their screens. It’s okay to give them that and be understanding. You’ve heard that everyone is fighting a battle that you don’t see, so just keep that in mind. You don’t have to understand it, but you can be there, and you can be supportive.
Workload Check-ins - Meeting with your people and making sure they have the right amount of support and time to get their projects done is imperative. Burnout and stress can have a lot of negative impact, so simply let them know that it’s possible to move people around to give them more assistance. If they think their deadlines are unrealistic, then consider a change in the timeline if their part of the project isn’t the most important aspect.
Mental Health Therapy Stipend - Even if mental health coverage is part of your insurance plan, it usually won’t cover all of the costs. With therapy sessions coming with a price tag that could cause financial strain, we made the decision to seek help as painless as possible by allotting $300 to each of our team members for therapy per month. Those weekly $40 visits are no longer the burden of the individual to bear, and as such, we’ve got a happier overall team who is much more productive than a team without access to such care!
Wellness Stipend- Mental health doesn’t end with medications and therapy. Physical wellness also plays a huge role, which is why in addition to the Mental Health Therapy Stipend, team members also have a general wellness stipend of $100 per month. This can be used on gym memberships, classes they want to take, massages, wellness seminars, you name it! This will often allow team members to take care of themselves in ways that once felt financially daunting. It’s a huge relief!
Invest In Your People
This may seem like a lot for you to invest in the wellness of your team, but for us, it’s a no brainer. The amount of productivity
that you receive in exchange for a little bit of caring easily outweighs the costs. We could easily pocket the money we’re giving for therapy and wellness, but we’d lose so much. We wouldn’t just lose productivity and ROI, but we’d lose the culture we’ve cultivated. We have an expert team that works harder than you can imagine, and not only that, but they want to be here and stay here. We retain top-level talent by taking care of them, and we draw that same level of talent to us by keeping up with policies such as these.
Your team spends a third of their life working. They come in, they’re dedicated, and they’re invested. Investing in them is what a forward-thinking organization should strive to do. Remember that 80% of workers know what they need to thrive best and that they’re looking for somewhere that can provide them that. It’s not them being entitled, it’s them knowing what’s best for them and going after it. You can’t hold that against them. Making your workplace more open to addressing the mental health needs of your team is going to carry you much further than a workplace built on indifference, and we’ll bet on kindness and understanding every time.
We’re looking to change the way you do business, and we’re leading by example. We’re changing the way organizations look at mental health, and we’re challenging everything you thought you knew about online marketing. By utilizing automation by way of Salesforce and Pardot, we’re able to take all those little tasks that eat up your time and patience, and take them off your hands! You’ve now taken back your time, and can focus on innovation! What you’re best at!
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