An important step in strengthening your team and your business is to assess the mental health wellness in your workplace. Follow these tips for a safe and welcoming working environment.
By Jill Windelspecht
One of the biggest challenges my clients are facing right now is retaining and hiring employees. What they are also facing is burnout among those employees they have to help them meet the demand, which can result in more turnover. You have seen “help wanted” signs everywhere, pleas for people to be patient and courteous. It feels like we are asking more now of our team than we have ever asked. I know that as a business owner you don’t just care about the business—you care about the people who make it happen.
According to a report conducted by Mental Health America (MHA), many employees across the globe are experiencing increased mental health challenges.
Check out these three mental health workplace stats:
• 9 in 10 employees report that their workplace stress affects their mental health
• 3 in 5 employees are not receiving adequate support from supervisors to help manage stress
• 4 in 5 employees feel emotionally drained from their work—an early sign of burnout
Here is a real shocker: Companies with 50 employees or fewer had the unhealthiest average supervisor support and mental health scores.
My mentor John Maxwell said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” It is in how you treat people and how they feel cared for that ultimately will make the difference in any organization.
Do you want to know how your employees are feeling right now? Simple…ask them! Ask the question, “How are you?” and when they say “Fine,” don’t stop there. Ask more open-ended questions. What is going well for you right now? What would you need to be able to do your job better? What is one thing you would do for the team right now if you were me?
Your employees are an invaluable source of information and ideas, and they can help you when you really partner with them and ask. It sounds simple but this is not a common practice—unfortunately. If you are not comfortable doing this, ask someone externally to talk to your team and find out how they are doing; sometimes they share more and it allows them to share freely without judgement. I love doing this for teams and find that when you ask the right questions and listen—really listen to what is being said—the answer is consistent across the team and typically easy to implement.
If your team is burnt out, they need to be heard. The solution won’t always be the same for everyone but there is so much power in just being heard. It shows you care, you want to know what you can do and that they are important to you.
One of the easiest ways to get feedback and find out how you can really help your team and grow your business is asking them to answer these three simple questions:
1. What should we start doing that will help you, the business and/or the customer?
2. What should we stop doing that will help you, the business and/or the customer?
3. What should we continue doing that will help you, the business and/or the customer?
If you haven’t asked for this type of feedback before, you may hear crickets because they may not trust you enough to share this—or they need to think about the answer. One of the most important things you can do when you ask these questions is listen (or really, shut up and listen!) without interrupting or asking for more clarity (there is always time for that later). Listening without waiting for your turn to speak or judging or saying, “We tried that and it didn’t work.”
Have you heard the phrase, “Put on your own oxygen mask first?” Start with your leadership team. What are they thinking and feeling? If they are burned out as well, they can’t support the team. How are you developing them, preparing them to really lead in a way that empowers the team and helping to support their employees and address challenges early? I will write more about that in the future!
Finally, here are some things you can do right now to provide a safe and welcoming environment for employees:
• Train supervisors to feel comfortable providing emotional support.
• Encourage employees to talk to their supervisors about changing job stressors.
• Encourage supervisors to check-in with employees regularly.
• Provide proper recognition to employees for their efforts.
Caring doesn’t cost you anything, but the payback is priceless!
Jill Windelspecht is the founder of Talent Specialists Consulting. She can be reached via email at email@example.com or LinkedIn.
Jill founded Talent Specialists Consulting so that she could invest in serving leaders so that great teams thrive. As a leadership coach she equips individuals with the tools to build their most effective, authentic leadership style. Jill’s amazing clients describe her as passionate, practical and committed to their success. Hundreds of leaders have used the mindset, skillset & actionset approach to build the careers and teams they deserve. Leaders using all their intelligence create a coaching culture in organizations that drives employee engagement, high performance, and better business results. Prior to founding Talent Specialists Consulting, Jill travelled the globe providing leadership developing programs for Eaton Corporation and led talent development and leadership training from the executive level to the shop floor. As a Certified Coach with an emphasis in emotional intelligence and neuroscience, Jill is sought after for executive coaching, workshops, organization consulting, and speaking.
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