86% of the nation’s annual health care expenditures are for people with chronic physical and mental health conditions such as depression, heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Further research shows that work is the most common stressor for Americans. (PEO Insider)
What can we do as a community for our employees to make our work environments less of a stressor? Life can be stressful enough. As a PEO, Preference works with companies daily for HR and Payroll issues but looking back at the past year, mental health was brought up quite a bit. It can be a very uncomfortable conversation, but also what is most needed. Mental health is often kept quiet in the professional world as to keep work and life separate, however our workforce has shifted and so has this taboo topic.
Recruiting and retaining employees today is a challenge but providing an open environment to learn about your team needs is a requirement. Our team at Preference can assist with navigating those workplace conversations and getting you the resources required. We’ve taken 5 ideas from the PEO Insider December January Issue to start conversations with your team:
- Have leaders share their own experiences as a model of openness and humility. This sets the tone for your culture and create open communication without judgement or discrimination.
- Regularly audit the current workload and check that employees are not shouldering more than they can handle even during a staff shortage.
- Encourage employees to utilize time-off and sick time. This also encourages cross-training for your team. Enhance greater working flexibility and enhanced time-off policies as you are able.
- Offer opportunities for professional development and career growth. All. Levels.
- Provide training opportunities for managers and team leaders on how to navigate mental health conversations. Allow managers to start the conversation with disengaged, burnt out employees to start creating change in your organization.
- Engage employees in decision-making. This increases a sense of job control, fairness, and support
As a business owner you can provide other opportunities for health and wellness through various benefits, financial planning support or even education. But the list above can be free and simple ways to start the conversation in your business.
The stressors in life will always be around, but we can work to make work-life stress a conversation and create a culture built for employee satisfaction and retention.