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How A Focus On Mental Health Can Improve Performance

2017/18 due to work-related stress, anxiety and depression. This accounted for 44% of all work-related ill-health. At the Modern Mind Group organisation, we provide a mental health course designed to educate our clients on different types of mental health, how to notice signs of a mental health challenge and how mental health should be helped within an organisation. In this article, we are going to discuss how shifting your focus to mental health is worthwhile to your employees and management teams in order to bring better relationships and higher performance levels. At first, you may be asking, why is an employee's personal mental health my responsibility as a leader? Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive at the Centre for Mental Health charity, states that “Those employers that ignore the issue, or who undermine the mental health of their staff, risk not only the health of the people who work for them but the wealth of their business and the health of the economy as a whole.” Many business owners believe that their employees' mental health of their employees isn't their responsibility, yet employees today have come to expect that their leaders will not only be supporting mental health in the workplace but also take responsibility for it. Employers do have the legal obligation to ensure the health and safety of employees, this does mildly include mental health as stress risk assessments are a legal requirement although well-being or mental health risk assessments are not a legal requirement but are recommended and multiple organisations are working towards having this assessment listed as a legal requirement. Thrive Law states that “Most mental health conditions are likely to satisfy the legal definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010, as such conditions have a substantial and long term impact on the individuals’ day-to-day life. This means those with mental health conditions are likely to be protected from disability discrimination, and be entitled to reasonable adjustments from their employer.” So, how do we carry out workplace mental health assessments for the benefit of healthy employees with better performance levels? Employee Experience Employee experience is defined as a set of psycho cognitive sentiments about the experiential benefits of employment, a good employee experience will have employees satisfied with the meaningfulness of the work they are producing and will feel valued and supported by the organisation. There are 6 common factors that directly affect the employee experience that you should be looking to manage, the first one being the workload you give employees. You should be asking, do your workloads match employees’ abilities and experience and are the deadlines reasonable and mutually agreed upon? The second factor is clarity, are the employee's roles, responsibilities and expectations clearly defined and do they understand how their role fits into the bigger picture and helps towards the company goals? Thirdly there is personal development, have you ensured employees are given regular and fair opportunities for learning, training, career development and promotion? The fourth factor is management, do your managers develop and reward the capabilities of the employees? Management has a large impact on employee experience due to their ability to reward, empower, control, and restrict. Fifth is the work environment, Is it suitable for the roles and preferences of the employees? You may want to consider noise levels, lighting, space, location and temperature. And the last factor is personal issues. line managers should be aware of issues affecting employees such as illness, bereavement, financial worries or other stress-related factors which might affect their ability to cope and perform well at work. Do they have a way of finding out? Does your organisation have a method to help employees with a mental health challenges? Workplace Culture Workplace culture can be defined as the shared values, belief systems, attitudes and the set of assumptions that people in a workplace share. Although historically there have been differences among investigators regarding the definition of organisational culture but there are 4 main types of culture Clan Culture.

Adhocracy Culture.

Market Culture.

Hierarchy Culture.

These are all affected by 6 main factors, similarly to employee experience.

Firstly there is work-life balance, do your employees work reasonable hours? How often is there a call for overtime to be done? Or how many vacation days are given?

The second contributing factor is leadership, which much like management is largely responsible for creating a good workplace culture. Leaders should be visible and accessible as often as possible, alongside having a system of impartial and supportive supervision and appraisal structures.

The third factor is how the organisation manages change in the workplace, for example, management, organisation, work content and use of new technology. Are changes at work managed in a way that involves staff and tries to listen and respond to their views?

Fourth we have communication from all lines of management, leaders and even communication amongst the employees. Is communication open, effective, manageable and responsive? ? Can employees access the information they need to do their job while avoiding the risk of information overload?

The fifth factor is relationships, does your organisation promote positive behaviours to avoid internal conflict and to promote team-working and information-sharing? Do team meetings include relationship-building conversations or are there enough team building days?

Lastly is diversity and inclusion, does your organisation take steps to ensure that employees don’t feel isolated due to the nature of their work or as a result of their identity or background. For example, because of cultural or religious beliefs, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, age or gender?


All of these factors contribute largely to mental health as well as other aspects of the employee's work life and the organisation's performance as a whole. What an organisation says and does about employee wellbeing and mental health can speak volumes about its values and culture, this can lead to job seekers valuing your organisation over another that doesn’t have a larger focus on employee wellbeing. Simple steps such as having leaders trained in stress management or having managers take mental health courses can make all the difference in having a supportive organisation that will care for employees. This care for wellbeing will show in productive work and open communication from staff in all roles.

 

The Modern Mind Group are emotioneering human performance not engineering it.


As people operations and performance consultants, we work with your business to identify and improve performance gaps so that you can be more profitable and professionally develop your people. Over 12 years of expertise in people operations and performance with results to back it all up. Why settle for the average when there is a world of possibility when you know how to achieve it? Untapped potential - Let's go get it!

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