The mental health of employees at the workplace is two-fold for employees; personal and workplace. The cause can be either but a company has to nail both these paradigms for an ideally perfect employee mental well-being. Any mental health-related issue will have an effect and one cannot leave it aside when they start to work. Consequently, organisations will have to find ways to promote mental health support cost-efficiently for personal and work-related mental wellness. The challenge is in how organisations address it and provide avenues for employees to confront it.
We asked Geetanjali Dhingra how they approach mental wellness at ViDU. Geetanjali has over 5 years of diverse experience in various HR industry sectors IT, Telecom & AI and enjoys working towards new initiatives in employee engagement and employee mental well-being.
Here’s what she has to say to some of the most pressing questions companies have regarding employee mental wellness.
How to recognise employees with mental health issues?
Recognising mental issues at the workplace is not quite often an easy task. Generally what I have noticed employees dealing with mental health issues generally tend to respond in one of the following ways:
- Dip in productivity
- Absenteeism at work
- Less interaction with peers
- More personal leaves
- Irritated/stressed at work
However, companies don’t have to wait till they see one of the above expressions. A regular survey or employee interaction will also help team managers and HRs identify problems and get feedback.
How do you manage employee mental wellness at ViDU?
At ViDU, our most important asset is our people and their overall wellness is our core responsibility. We have partnered with YourDOST for the mental and emotional care of our employees. We understood that employees may or may not feel comfortable talking about their mental struggles to their colleagues even if you create a safe space. As we have partnered with YourDOST, we send weekly emails to our employees that are self-assessment tests to understand if they are subjected to any mental disorders like stress, anxiety, depression, etc. The emailers also enclose access to an assortment of therapists and counselors for work, relationship, family-related issues. They are available 24x7 to our employees for consultation. This way, we are giving our employees the opportunities and channels to support our employees’ mental health in workplace.
How to build organizational culture that values mental health?
I believe, if organisations want to offer mental health support, they should ingrain it in the culture so it becomes everyone’s responsibility to be empathetic and supportive. Mental wellness is not just offering webinars and yoga sessions once in a while. We recommend activities weekly because the important part of mental wellness is regular check-in with employees, listening to them and solving the causes. It becomes easy for the people’s team to manage this with a benefits administration platform or mental health sites like YourDOST. This makes engagement easy, you can track mental wellness, you don’t have to worry about consistency which is important in mental wellness. With such platforms, you can automate and manage employee wellness easily and regularly.
Employee engagement goes a long way in establishing an employee-first culture. At ViDU, we have created a safe space for employees to be who they really are and voice their opinions without judgment.
I suggest teams focus on cross-departmental engagement & encouraging our employees to be true to what they do. We also ensure team managers reach out to our employees once a week and have a holistic understanding of them. We also celebrate festivals and occasions to build values & belongingness among coworkers.
What if employees take advantage of an employee-friendly culture?
It is possible for a few employees to take advantage of the work from home arrangement and the leaves that we give in case of personal difficulties. That’s why it is important to extensively set up goals and performance metrics to understand the consistency of an employee. If someone who has been consistently a good performer is underperforming, then you can attribute it to their personal issues and help deal with them. If that’s not the case the team managers and HRs would know and can take action accordingly. Having smaller teams with a team manager can help in having better communication, performance and relationships.
I think the quarterly town halls and sessions across organizations help in giving a sense of direction at the organizational level and help employees take responsibility and be productive. The foundation is to believe the employees are good at heart and the key to growth is extensive and tailor-made performance metrics for all teams.
For building a great work culture amalgamation of employees feel valued, a sense of belongingness and a holistic approach to well-being is crucial. As far as mental well-being, since May 2021, our employees have taken 349 counselling sessions with experts on YourDOST and we are seeing increased sign-ups and participation. Employees are feeling much better about themselves after talking to experts and taking part in webinars. This is a sign for companies to offer mental health benefits to their employees which eventually leads to increased engagement and productive work culture.