Supporting your workforce with mental health: How to connect with employees

Here are five ways to better connect with your employees, with actionable steps for better mental health support.

Yugi the Giraffe - 22 November 2021

Are your employees happy, healthy, engaged and feeling valued? Wellness and employee mental health is recognised as central to success – the key to a more positive workplace, increasing retention and attracting top talent. But as external factors impact workforce mental health, do you have the pillars in place to support your employees?

Working from home and an increased reliance on technology has removed the human connection of working for many employees, with 1 in 6 workers are dealing with a mental health problem such as anxiety, depression, or stress. With the remote working trends projected to continue, companies are adapting provisions to provide solutions and support the social aspect of working that’s critical to employee mental health.

Here, we discuss five ways you can improve company culture – allowing employees to feel more comfortable in reaching out, and increasing engagement with your mental health support provisions.

Involve leadership teams

Culture comes from the top – facilitate leadership openly talking about mental health, to normalise conversations around mental health.

Empower line managers by educating and training them on how to spot common symptoms, and support mental health issues within their teams. Understanding how to talk about and help with mental health issues means that management teams are better equipped to offer support.

Implement frequent check-ins with management, or between employees, to monitor progress and to troubleshoot issues before they escalate; and integrate mental health support into workplace policies, so employees can be confident when coming forward with any issues.

Integrate wellbeing within your company culture

In 2021, 40% of the global workforce chose to leave their current employer. Whether it’s due to a lack of wellbeing support or an increased desire to work remotely, this figure represents employees who are no longer happy in their roles. Implementing changes in culture and focusing on wellbeing can help to ensure high-performing employees stay within their role.

These benefits are increasingly important in making your business more attractive to new employees – particularly the younger workforce, whose consideration of company culture is increasingly important.

How can you promote wellbeing?

There are a number of elements you can promote within your company’s culture to promote wellbeing.

Provide flexibility

Provide flexibility in employees’ schedules and promote regular check-ins to make sure the agreed arrangements are still working – or whether further action is required. 65% of employees believe that choosing their own working hours would help them to achieve a better work-life balance. Scheduling pressures are an avoidable mental health stressor.

Mental health sick days

In a recent report, 26% of Millennials and 22% of Gen Zs reported that they had taken time off work due to stress and anxiety – but 44% gave their employer a different reason.

Many employees take sick days for their mental health, under the guise of physical ailments because of mental health taboos. Not knowing about the employee struggles impedes your ability to support them. Actively promote mental health sick days as a priority for employees who need it so that the added stress and anxiety that a sick day can cause is avoided.

Utilise technology and innovative approaches

Use wellbeing technology to engage employees in innovative ways: offer employees access to apps to help with sleep and stress, offer meditation time, yoga or mindfulness training. This will help employees to deal with mental health and stress problems instead of allowing them to build up over time. Providing these apps will show employees that your organisation cares about their mental health and wellbeing.

YuLife’s innovative app is a feature of our group life insurance, allowing you to provide a range of services to employees to support their wellbeing. Engage the proven psychology of reward schemes – with YuLife, employees gain rewards in return for completing wellness challenges such as walking, cycling and meditation to encourage healthy living. Promote your EAP and the easy and discrete access available to medical and mental health care professionals – in YuLife’s case, through the app.

YuLife provides employers with the ability to analyse data on employees’ usage of the app so that trends can be monitored and working practices changed accordingly. For example, using sleep apps could be a sign of stress so encouraging more breaks or allowing for more flexible working can help to relieve this. This allows employers to spot problems before they spiral out of control.

Create opportunities for human connection

A recent survey found that 4 in 5 employees who can work remotely like to do so at least two days per week – many go days without speaking to anyone in the team, which can have an impact on mental health

Employers can address this modern-day issue by speaking to employees regularly, to find out what their needs are and how you can best support them individually.

Helping employees to connect with each other on a regular basis can also help them to feel less isolated, and can help surface issues that can be missed when working remotely or connecting via video conferencing. Provide regular social events and chances for ‘watercooler moments’ where employees can get to know each other or have fun together either in the workplace or in a different environment. But remember that not all employees will want to be involved in social events, so will need alternative support.

Promote the support available, when crisis hits

Are you adequately promoting your support services? Help employees to deal with personal problems that might affect work performance, health and wellbeing – in promotion of the discrete and professional provisions that can support them.

As part of YuLife’s Group Life Insurance, you can provide employees with access to support services through the app. Helping employees to deal with personal problems that can cause stress and anxiety such as financial security, childcare and relationships at work can prevent small issues from escalating. With increased wait-times for public health appointments, this provision is also increasingly attractive and can be leveraged to retain and attract new talent.

Any support you offer should be tailored to individuals and integrated into your workplace policies so that everyone gets what they need. Different people have different needs and requirements which should be considered to make your wellbeing program as effective as possible.

Moving towards a connected workforce

Changing your company culture doesn’t happen overnight but small changes can make a huge impact in helping to slowly change it. As employees become happier and new employees are attracted to the company, they will become more and more comfortable in coming forward which has a knock-on effect throughout the entire company.

For YuLife, life insurance is more than death coverage – it’s about life, and supporting employees day-to-day, with insurance that gives back. An innovative solution in response and recognition of a market where employers are increasingly dedicated to improving workforce health and wellbeing.

Click here to get a quote and learn more about YuLife’s Group Life Insurance.

Yugi the Giraffe

Yugi is our YuLife mascot. Like all giraffes they've got a big heart – in fact the biggest heart of all land animals.