As we continue to weather a mental health pandemic, it’s important to remember your employee and what they may being going through in a time of uncertainty.
Blue Monday serves as a useful reminder to employers of the increased importance of offering holistic support for their workforce – not just at this time of year, but all year round.
Bethan Dacey, Senior Client Relationship Manager and Mental Health Ambassador, MetLife UK shares her top tips on boosting morale this January.
1. Start the year with a bang – Why not keep some of the festive spirit going by engaging with employees and hosting workplace virtual events – whether that’s a simple team tea break, a quiz, fun training or a general weekly chat. Community and connection are so important to achieving a sense of togetherness. Plus, why not kick start some fundraising for a local charity at the same time. Just small donations really can make a big difference and feel more meaningful.
2. Stay sympathetic – It’s been a difficult time for workers. Continued uncertainty, the increasing cost of living and working from home has taken its toll. For some, they might be returning to work after a career or role change, working from home for a long period or feeling anxious about how the pandemic is evolving. By staying aware of what employees are struggling with, employers can spot who needs help and how to provide it. And understanding that some employees might be feeling anxious, concerned or unhappy can go a long way to helping them through. Signposting all support tools, particularly those with 24/7 access, such as an EAP, can go a long way.
3. Keep your employees motivated – Set new targets for teams, and perhaps encourage a bit of friendly competition across the office. Helping to communicate about the future and introducing any new business benefits or incentives and generally including employees can go a long way to getting your employees excited about being back. Working with them to also set personal development plans will help gain further insight into what motivates them individually and how you can best support.
4. Create an environment where people can speak up – If employees feel safe and able to share any mental health challenges, employers will be able to identify the risks and devise strategies to better manage issues. Businesses need to learn how to start conversations and reduce the stigma around mental ill health at what can be a very overwhelming and lonely time of year.
5. Support their overall well-being – Traditional benefits – such as retirement, medical, and dental insurance – provide a safety net for employees. But as the world changes and new ways of working accelerates, this is altering what employees want from their employers. A more holistic approach to benefits that supports employees is emerging. Employers who support employees in and out of the workplace can help ensure both will thrive today and, in the years, to come. Our Re:Me report found that half (50%) of workers would sacrifice some of their salary for personalised employee benefits.