“As a division, we’re all taking trauma informed care modules so that we can really understand the best way of working with people to create that physical, emotional safety,” she told HRD. “Depression and anxiety are absolutely on the rise. And we know that burnout is certainly impacting employees in the workplace. But as for the future, who knows what’s waiting? That’s why it’s so important for HR to be fluid and agile – managing the health and wellness of our employees, as well as the operational considerations in the workplace.”

Letting go of gimmicks

By this point, one would hope that HR departments had rolled out at least a semblance of a mental health plan. The biggest mistake employers could fall prey to is assuming that, once those office doors open, it’s 2019 again. People have changed, their needs and expectations have completely evolved. It’s no longer enough to offer free beers on Fridays or buy ping pong tables and kid yourself into thinking you have a ‘cool culture’. Employees want tangible, authentic, support – not gimmicks.

Read more: Going hybrid? Here’s what to factor in your HR policy

“Mental health should already be a core component of your culture,” added Dr Manjak. “And if not, then you need to start there. You need to ask your employees what they would like to see – what learning and development opportunities do they require. Do they want lunch and learns? Community champions? Volunteering days? There’s a wide range of options for companies of all budgets and sizes.”

Budgeting for mental health

These initiatives really don’t have to break the bank. After all, trying to vie for a slice of the annual budget is akin to entering the gladiatorial arena. HR will need to put together a simple, cost effective, plan – one which speaks the numerical languages of the boardroom. 

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