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Creating a caring workplace

How can you ensure you’re doing the very best for your team? As an employer, there are a number of ways you can support happier, healthier people who are empowered to feel their best by creating a place where they feel safe, comfortable, and supported.

At the fundamental level, a safe workplace revolves around removing both physical and psychological risks. Actively supporting thriving mental and physical well-being can be a bit trickier to navigate though, as the requirements are wide-ranging and come to life in a number of ways. Creating a caring work environment can include anything from putting measures in place to preventing staff from working excessive hours to offering communication channels for employees to raise concerns.

Polls suggest that some employers need help understanding how to bridge the gaps in their care. In the last five years, one in five Americans was reported to have left their jobs because of company culture, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Poor work cultures have cost employers billions in turnover (as much as $233 billion in the US alone, in fact) and many cite its impact on personal well-being in addition to effects on the bottom line.

Thankfully, there are proven strategies for helping people thrive with mindful workplace cultures. Once businesses adopt these strategies, they can develop a caring environment and help employees reap the benefits of well-being – from improved focus to reduced stress levels.

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Cultivating a culture of well-being

Keeping people happy and healthy, and making them feel valued is key to giving them reasons to stay. Doing so also empowers talent to bring their best selves to work, which in turn leads to thriving businesses. Employers play a significant role in workers’ lives and have the potential to influence their well-being in a remarkably positive way. However, while a number of companies are recognizing this by adopting well-being programs and practices, there are still some barriers to overcome.

Take remote working, for instance. It can make seeing when an employee’s well-being is at risk more difficult. A recent poll of HR decision makers revealed that 86% believe their staff require more well-being support and 40% are concerned about the mental health of their employees following the pandemic. With the change to working styles comes the need to adapt to new demands and stresses.

There are a number of ways leaders can reevaluate how they look after their people. Simply checking in with individuals goes a long way towards helping them manage stress. Acting intentionally to gather feedback from different teams can give holistic insights into how people are really feeling, and can point to meaningful steps you can take to improve care. When these open interactions are encouraged regularly, it opens up the opportunity to drive powerful progress. Helping employees feel comfortable to speak out, acting on their concerns, and gathering ongoing feedback enables companies to track whether their efforts are working out. Surveys, one-to-one sessions, and focus groups are just some of the ways organizations can understand what’s really going on with employees’ well-being before finding the right tools to help them get there.

And because everybody is different, employers can really make a marked impact by understanding each individual’s unique needs. For example, our 2022 report ‘Workforce Attitudes Toward Mental Health’ uncovered that female-identifying employees are missing more days of work because of stress and anxiety compared to male-identifying employees. Additionally, while the last year saw stress levels remain high across the board due to increased workloads and staff shortages, those in leadership positions were most affected of those who reported missing work in the past year due to mental health issues.

Getting to the bottom of what each person needs to succeed and personalizing support accordingly is what will set a business apart as a caring place to work. Health and well-being programs should be developed to support the ebbs and flows of emotions for those who are struggling, as well as those who are simply coping and the ones already thriving to prevent complacency.

Supporting every stage of mental health

Our report highlighted that employee emotional and mental health efforts have petered off significantly since the initial 71% boost in benefits following the pandemic — only 25% of companies have sustained their focus. So how can companies keep up the positive drive?

A robust care strategy continuously meets cultural and financial needs, as well as fulfills physical and emotional care conditions. It homes in on emotional care in an inclusive way, offering support in many forms and for different stages of well-being. For instance, preventative measures promote self-care and enhance well-being with mindful activities such as meditation. Employers can also give people the resources to cope with life’s challenges as they emerge, with skill-building initiatives and ongoing coaching to maintain a healthy mind. Training can help employers identify when more support is required and elevate issues accordingly. It’s crucial to understand when clinical intervention like therapy and psychiatry is needed too, so that the right care can be given to make a meaningful difference to employees’ lives.

As the need for accessible mental health support and benefits intensify, it’s important to keep up with employees’ care needs. Focusing on well-being for your workforce doesn’t just benefit the people you employ – it has a profoundly positive impact on your business. If you’re looking to learn more about how to step up your strategies, get in touch with us today. We can help you build a caring and mindful culture.

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