What’s one benefit that team members want across the generations? No, it’s not foosball.

What if I told you that 80% of employees would stay at an organization if it provided quality mental health resources and 87% of employees want their employers to care about mental health?

You may tell me that it’s just a millennial thing. That would be fair considering 50% of millennials have left roles in the past for mental health reasons, but Harvard Business Review also states that 75% of Gen Z have left roles in the past for mental health reasons. And by 2025, Gen-Z workers will make up 27% of the workforce, according to Forbes.

“Live, laugh, love” is not just a phrase to hang over the fireplace. It is analogous to mental health because it impacts the way you live, laugh and love. Mental health impacts how we handle stress, relate to others and how we make decisions.

There’s an undeniable and critical connection between providing access to quality mental health resources in the workplace and nurturing a great workplace culture.

Where do employers start?

The foundational work in fostering a healthy culture includes empowering your company’s leaders to exhibit authenticity, vulnerability, trust and empathy.

Authenticity

    • Encourage managers to lead through self-awareness and a result focused style. Through teaching self-awareness, managers will be able to constantly evolve and adapt their leadership style to what each situation requires. For example, is an employee less communicative than desired because they need face to face interaction as opposed to texting or Slack?
    • Teaching a results focused style of management allows for less blaming/finger-pointing and more solution-oriented discussions. By focusing on the result and the “blame,” managers will be able to spot where the opportunity for improvement lies without unnecessarily embarrassing the employee.

 Vulnerability

    • Encourage managers to coach by telling stories and sharing anecdotes of their own mistakes, failures or hardships. This will foster more authentic connections between leaders and their employees.
    • Communications will become more sincere and meaningful. For example, the manager may ask how the employee may be better supported at work and then suggest they work on solutions together to minimize the employee’s barriers to success.

Trust

    • Bake psychological safety into the culture. Teach leaders to reinforce the belief that employees will not be punished, rejected or humiliated for voicing concerns, questions or mistakes.
    • This may also be used to increase inclusion because when employees feel a sense of belonging they are more likely to feel comfortable bringing more of who they are to the workplace. This allows the employer to leverage all the experiences of the employee to produce better results.

Empathy Empowerment

    • Teaching empathy gives managers the tools to interact thoughtfully with employees.
    • Shifting the conversation from blame to “thank you for bringing this to my attention, I know this must have been difficult for you,” teaches employees that admitting mistakes or sharing bad news can be done without fear of reprisal. This mitigates everything from compliance to harassment matters. And when employees feel “safe,” they perform better with increased innovation.

For more information on this topic or to explore how Apex may be able to assist you and your organization, contact bsalazar@apexbg.com or visit apexbg.com.

Brooke Salazar

Authored By

Brooke Salazar, JD, PHR

HR Consultant, Apex Associate Counsel and DE&I Officer
Meet Brooke