What does mental health and wellbeing in the workplace mean for your business? Do you think often about how to support mental health for better employee wellbeing? Is providing exercise, nutrition and other lifestyle benefits enough? When have you asked your employees how they are actually feeling?
Lots of questions indeed! This and so much more is what runs through our heads when we think of employee wellbeing. It is such a predominant topic now. With it gaining so much attention in the national media and public mind, we can expect to see a change or a greater understanding of what this truly means for employees and businesses. Some organisations are beginning to do this really well, as are some schools.
My daughter’s school has developed a social and emotional learning program that they start in preschool and carry right through their school years. They use a mood meter to help the children understand their feelings and to learn strategies on how to move from one mood to another. They have props and programs in the classroom to support this learning program such as yoga, coloured lego mats (to match the mood meter colours), mood jars and squidgy balls, to name a few. More recently the children are being asked ‘how are you feeling today?’ and they are using emoticons for the responses. It’s wonderful to see schools focussing on children’s wellbeing from a young age so that children can understand their emotions, learn how to deal with them and start to articulate their feelings.
Adopting a similar approach to a mood meter is one thing we can do in our organisations. When we think about the whole person we should be asking employees how they are feeling and how they are tracking against their performance objectives regularly? As a manager, you may think you know your employees but have you stopped to ask some questions to get a true understanding of their wellbeing, and consider them as a whole person? It might be that your employees also struggle to articulate their emotions in a work environment, or find it difficult to be the person who initiates that sort of conversation. If so, they could be suffering in silence.
We have thought long and hard about how to better understand the whole person and not just their performance. Yoomi is a valuable tool to bridge that problematic communication gap between manager and employee. From the employee perspective, it gives them a regular opportunity to really take the time to consider their performance and how they are feeling from a wellbeing and employee engagement perspective. This is about moving away from waiting until their next performance review or finding another time to have the courage to talk to their manager.
Managers meanwhile, can discover how an employee is feeling, understand their true emotional state and have the strategies in place to support them. Normalising discussions about mental health and wellbeing in the workplace will go a long way to finding effective solutions. What can you do differently in your organisation?