In a post-pandemic world, mental health support in the workplace is more important now than ever. To address this pressing issue, we sought insights from a diverse group of professionals, including psychologists and CEOs, on how they promote mental health support within their organizations. From promoting peer-to-peer guidance and open dialogue to encouraging self-care and employee recognition, here are the top ten strategies these leaders used to support employees across generations.
Promote Peer-to-Peer Guidance and Open Dialogue
At our organization, mental health support is a priority across all generations. We approach it by integrating peer-to-peer guidance. New employees are assigned a seasoned team member to mentor for the first year.
This person becomes a trusted ally, answering work-related queries or lending an empathetic ear when emotional support is needed. We have a culture of open dialogue through monthly team meetings, allowing all to share their experiences, the good and the bad. It promotes collective problem-solving and emotional understanding. Additionally, we emphasize informal socialization, blurring the lines between different age groups and hierarchies. Our management, including our boss, actively participates in these processes, upholding the ethos of openness.
As a young employee, I found this climate of understanding and empathy extremely supportive. The fear of judgment is minimal, fostering a more comfortable environment to express ourselves when things aren't going well.
Heythem Naji, Psychologist, heythemnaji.com
Foster Empathy and Open Communication
At our organization, we take immense pride in fostering a supportive environment that transcends generational boundaries. Our culture revolves around empathy and genuine concern for one another, being open to sharing thoughts and emotions without judgments of age or experience.
Effective communication and openness to different viewpoints serve as crucial channels for maintaining this culture. This unbiased outlook builds trust among colleagues, allowing for candid discussions about personal issues and concerns. Our senior employees act as guides and mentors, readily available to lend a listening ear and offer valuable advice. Even in remote work settings, they proactively gauge team members' emotional states and provide opportunities for venting or taking breaks when needed.
Overall, our culture's emphasis on empathy, trust, and open communication creates a supportive atmosphere where employees of all ages feel comfortable seeking and receiving the mental health support they need.
Darsha Patel, Associate Consultant, Naman HR
Provide Adequate Sick Time for Mental Health
As a psychiatrist and a business owner, I value my employees' mental health. In my practice, I make sure that employees have adequate sick time and that they understand these can be used to take care of their mental health as well as their physical health.
I also provide a psychologically safe working environment by listening to my employees and letting them know their input and feedback are valued. These measures are available to employees across generations and are relatively simple steps that all organizations can take to support employees' mental health.
Dr. Bryan Bruno, Medical Director, Mid City TMS
Create a Supportive Environment for Employees
We have created a very healthy and diverse workplace where help comes around and goes around. Addiction does not discriminate, and neither do our employees who have dedicated themselves to helping. We encourage self-care and ensure that every individual who works here has a voice.
We try to be hyper-conscious when an employee is struggling with burnout or dealing with the effects of transference, and we always go the extra mile to make sure that we are supporting them in whatever way they need.
Nicholas Mathews, CEO, Stillwater Behavioral Health
Enhance Skills and Support through Peer Mentorship
As a manager at an organization that employs people with a range of skill sets and wide experience, the best way to let the team develop better internal communication is to have them learn from each other.
For instance, some people have excellent technical skills, while others have potential and interest but need some support. By setting up peer mentorship, skills are being enhanced, and people are growing within the organization. On a personal note, sometimes employees need emotional support, and it makes a difference if it comes from someone going through the same motions.
Whether it's a professional or personal issue, knowing they're able to work through them with someone who can relate is a great motivator!
Manasvini Krishna, Founder, Boss as a Service
Implement a Comprehensive Mental Health Support Program
Our organization is committed to supporting employees across generations by prioritizing their mental health and well-being. We have implemented a comprehensive mental health support program that includes regular check-ins, access to counseling services, and workshops on stress management and resilience.
Furthermore, we have established a culture of open communication, where employees of all ages feel comfortable discussing their mental health concerns and seeking support from their managers and colleagues. By fostering a supportive environment and providing tailored resources, we aim to address the unique needs of our employees and promote a positive work-life balance for everyone, regardless of their age.
Brian Clark, Founder, United Medical Education
Offer Flexible Work Arrangements and Wellness Coaching
Our organization supports the mental health of employees across generations by offering flexible work arrangements and providing a wellness coach.
Sometimes, an employee's personal life situation can change, affecting their schedule or their availability to be in the office. We provide flexible work options, such as remote work, flexible hours, or compressed workweeks. If an employee requires adjusted scheduling, these options can help them find efficient ways to achieve a better work-life balance and manage their mental health accordingly.
We also have a wellness coach who comes into the office once a week (also available for video meetings if an employee is out of the office). Our employees can schedule time with them during work hours to address anything they may need or want to discuss. Available during work hours, this service also helps break up the monotony of certain workdays. Making a service like this accessible encourages employees to prioritize their mental health.
Alex Ebner, Owner, Ace Medical
Practice Empathetic Facilitation and Active Listening
At Voltage Control, we are deeply committed to our employees' mental health and well-being across generations. Our approach is rooted in empathetic facilitation, active listening, and a supportive team environment. These principles guide how we support each team member's mental health.
Empathetic facilitation involves creating a psychologically safe and welcoming environment for everyone. It fosters an atmosphere where people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. We achieve this by setting the tone from the top, with our leaders demonstrating empathy and understanding in their interactions with the team.
Active listening is another critical component. Our leaders are trained not just to hear, but to listen and understand. This creates an environment where employees can openly express their needs, including mental health concerns, without fear of judgment or retribution.
Through these methods, we aim to provide robust mental health support for our workers.
Douglas Ferguson, President, Voltage Control
Initiate Conversations on Mental Health Support
As a leader under 30, I totally understand and relate to all the young people who complain about not receiving the mental health support they need. I think most of it comes down to a lack of communication from upper management.
Young workers today, myself included, are not exactly sure how to start these conversations, what they are allowed to talk about, and who they should approach about these issues. I believe the organization should take the initiative and start the conversations to open up to younger workers and encourage them to openly talk about mental health and the support they think they need to manage and resolve these issues in work contexts.
Tom Golubovich, Head of Marketing, Ninja Transfers
Encourage Self-Care and Employee Recognition
In my company, we encourage our team members to block out time in their calendars for lunch, breaks, or whatever they need, and to really take it. I can only hold people's hands so much, especially online, but hitting that button regularly makes a difference, at least for my employees. We also have daily, fast, 10-minute team check-ins, and as cheesy as it sounds, I am always reminding our staff with stuff like, "It looks like a beautiful day today in Pennsylvania! Try to get outside and get some sunshine!" or "It's a scorcher today. Stay cool and stay hydrated!".
Also, I always give praise. It doesn't have to be big and public, but recognizing someone's successes for completing a big project or simply doing well, in my opinion, goes a long way. I know that all of this isn't going to cure anyone's mental health problems, but it is good for self-esteem and helps employees feel valued, which is important in giving them support and mitigating the strain on their mental health.
Samantha Hawrylack, CEO, SJ Digital Solutions
In this post-pandemic era, it's clear that mental health support in the workplace is more crucial than ever. By fostering a culture of understanding, self-care, active communication, and empathy, organizations can create a supportive environment where employees, regardless of age or background, can openly discuss their mental health concerns and know that their well-being is a shared priority.