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Employee engagement and wellbeing is an ongoing objective for all organisations, business leaders and managers. Not only do these initiatives support the overall wellbeing of employees, but it supports both talent retention and attraction when done successfully.
Our expert team of consultants work with organisations of all sizes across the globe, giving them insight into varied cultures and processes. Our team have in-depth knowledge of best practice for both attracting and retaining staff. Promoting a culture where your employees feel engaged and valued by the business can support their overall wellbeing and mental health.
Loneliness in the workplace
Over the last two years, poor mental health has been a growing issue across all demographics. The covid-19 pandemic accelerated this with the lack of physical and social interaction due to social distancing and restrictive lockdowns, loneliness has significantly increased with one in four adults experiencing the feeling of loneliness for some, if not all the time.
As the world has slowly resumed to normality, the re-introduction of social interaction has been long overdue for many who have felt isolated throughout the pandemic. However, loneliness is not just associated with physically being alone.
Loneliness can often be misinterpreted, people can experience loneliness even when surrounded by family, friends, and colleagues. Loneliness can be a result of feeling disconnected and separated from others.
In the short term, loneliness can affect mood and overall wellbeing, but chronic loneliness can have a significant bearing on physical health too. It can impact an individual’s ability to carry out day to day activities, to perform to their true and best potential in work or to build and maintain meaningful relationships with colleagues, friends, and family.
Engaging your employees and ensuring they feel connected
While this year's theme for mental health awareness week is focused on loneliness and the #IveBeenThere campaign, it is important for businesses to review how they support their employees overall mental health all year round. In today’s hybrid working world with an increased number of employees working remotely, there are many factors for employers to consider when supporting positive mental health for their teams based in and out of the office environment.
We highlight eight steps for businesses to put in action to support the engagement, connection, and overall wellbeing of employees:
Review mental health and wellbeing objectives
Who is responsible for mental health and wellbeing objectives in your organisation and are the senior leadership team engaged and visibly behind these company goals? It is important to establish what is in place to support employees with their mental health and ensure there are key members of staff who have had relevant training, or access to external support or wellbeing initiatives or assistance programmes.
Gain feedback from your employees – Listen to your team
Conducting regular surveys or focus groups to hear feedback from your employees is important to ensure you listen to their needs, challenges and positive comments about the organisation and areas that impact mental health. Do all employees feel valued? Is loneliness and isolation an issue with remote employees? Encourage honest and open feedback with your team to make improvements and provide adequate support going forward. Communicating both the delivery and review of feedback is key to make sure employees feel their feedback will be considered, or actioned.
Consider onboarding processes
The first few days and weeks in a new role can be daunting, no matter what stage of your career and level of seniority. Having a comprehensive onboarding process that involves introductions across the business is crucial. Whether a new employee is joining the business in the office, or based remotely, having a well-structured induction process with touch points across as many teams as possible will help integrate the new employee to the business. The onboarding process needs to give an excellent impression to a new employee so they can see the type of business they’re joining, one they feel they connect with and feel a part of. Having a specific onboarding process for remote employees that really emphasises connections with the rest of the team is important.
Communication – Consistency
Communication is key. Having open, transparent, and consistent communication within an organisation supports employee engagement. Utilise internal communication platforms and ensure relevant team members are responsible for communicating key messages and updates. In larger organisations, internal communications and engagement teams will take ownership of this area but for smaller businesses, this can be an additional responsibility for someone keen to support internal engagement. Ensuring employees feel they are given full clarity in communication, especially when it comes to communicating change that may impact their role, or the business is vital. When employees experience poor communication, it can impact trust of an employer and can lead to insecurities and anxiety at work.
Inclusivity – D&I
Is your company culture inclusive? Often, those who feel excluded and disconnected from the company culture can lead to poor engagement and a noticeable difference in mental health. Ensure you consider an inclusive environment for all demographics, ethnic groups, those with visible or hidden disabilities and any other minority group. According to the Mental Health Foundation, factors such as poverty, genetics, trauma, discrimination or physical illness make it more likely for someone to develop a mental health problem.
Making reasonable adjustments and demonstrating flexibility
For employees who have struggles with their mental health, employers should make reasonable adjustments to support them in whatever way they can to alleviate work stress and to help enhance their wellbeing. This could be making changes to their role, working hours or work environment. Take each situation as individual and tailor towards the employees needs. Demonstrating flexibility as an employer is key to engaging employees and supporting their overall wellbeing.
Team building and social activities
Having plans in place to connect teams and bring employees together can significantly contribute to employee engagement, morale, and good mental health. Employee engagement relates to performance and work output, alongside loyalty and length of service. Encouraging communication between teams and having regular social events and get togethers will make employees feel part of the team and allow them to spend time with colleagues in a more relaxed setting.
Raising awareness of mental health in the workplace, educating teams and leadership on the signs to recognise is often something for which many organisations choose to engage with an external expert or mental health practitioner. Providing some members of staff with relevant mental health training will put them in the best position to support those in need. Sharing recognised information from mental health experts with teams and providing access to speak with qualified professionals should they need support or guidance with their mental health is a fantastic way employers can look after their teams.
At CSG Talent, we offer our employees flexibility that suits their individual circumstances, and we encourage an open-door policy to approach members of our leadership team or colleagues they feel most comfortable reaching out too. We have spent time listening to your teams, hearing their feedback both positive and negative and we aim to ensure we continue to create a fully inclusive and supportive work environment. Our employees have access to confidential 1-2-1 support from a Mental Health Professional and have taken part in training to build their knowledge and understand their own mental health in detail.
Caroline Walker, Head of Marketing & Communications at CSG Talent reflects on the importance of these initiatives from both a personal perspective and the impact it has had on the business; “Businesses are increasingly realising the importance of initiatives to support employee well-being. At CSG Talent, we recognised we could be doing more, so over the past couple of years, we have taken the time to assess this and implement various feedback and support mechanisms for our colleagues. From my own personal perspective, having the flexibility to work both remotely and in the office and to adjust my working hours as needed makes a massive difference to me and enables me to feel more ‘in control’ of the different areas of my life, both work and personal. I think it’s important for the leadership team to lead by example. Crucially, it’s important to be cognisant of the fact that everyone’s personal circumstances are individual and ‘one size does not fit all’ . As we have increasingly focused on our methods of internal communication, ensuring our fully remote colleagues are integrated, focused on creating a more diverse and inclusive environment, implemented mental health training and external support we have seen that it has made a huge difference to our employee’s well-being and organisational culture and this very clearly translates into improved performance.”
Below are resources to utilise as a business, or to share with your employees: