20 May. 2019 | Comments (0)
The only way corporate mental health initiatives can be successful is if they are aligned with communication efforts. There are several functions of corporate communications that are necessary to consider when evaluating a company’s approach to mental health.
Encouraging an open line of communication between employees at all levels of the organization is essential in crafting a top-tier corporate mental health strategy. Without an open communication culture, employees may find themselves isolated, detracting from their overall productivity. Additionally, communications need to go beyond department boundaries. When collaboration is promoted throughout the company, more individuals have the opportunity to gain additional support outside of their team.
Quarterly assessments should be in place to ensure any communication setbacks between managers and employees are addressed. Utilizing communication tools already in place is an easy way to enhance a company’s mental health approach. For example, creating a section of the intranet dedicated to the company’s mental health offerings and how employees are utilizing them is a great starting point.
Often, there is hesitation when it comes to bringing up the topic of mental health in the workplace. The only way to combat this reticence is by encouraging executives to actively sponsor mental health initiatives. Effective corporate mental health is beneficial to all parts of an organization. Thus, there is no reason all areas of a company shouldn’t publicly support any efforts made to promote positive mental health. It is management’s responsibility to end the stigma around mental health, and there needs to be support at all levels in order for corporate mental health initiatives to be effective.
Great communication is stunted if it is not backed by transparency. Sincere actions are important in promoting a healthy working culture. Transparency involves not only identifying where mental health issues may arise, but also doing the appropriate actions to address them. Otherwise, a company is inauthentic in its approach to overcoming poor mental health situations.
Sevuan Palvetzian, Chief Executive Officer of CivicAction, states, “The next level of impact is having an authentic commitment—and an accompanying game plan—to doing more for the mental health of our employees.” In order to effectively establish a corporate mental health environment, it’s essential for a company to follow through and create an ongoing improvement plan.
“The key driver for a mentally healthy workplace is culture, and culture depends on leaders who understand the importance of fostering trust, empowerment and transparency,” says Jennifer Elia, Assistant Vice-President, Integrated Health Solutions at Sun Life Financial. Transparency can only exist if working in tandem with an open line of communication. To foster a positive working environment, there must be trust at all levels.
Corporate Social Responsibility
The more employees are reminded of the big picture purpose behind their work, the greater motivation they have over their day-to-day functions. CSR programs create these opportunities for individuals to work outside the bounds of the office and encourage individual growth and development.
Partnering with local nonprofits or hosting a volunteer day allows employees to bring a new sense of purpose to their daily routine. Thus, CSR should work in conjunction with creating a greater sense of well-being in the workplace.
Companies are not experts in mental health, and no one expects them to be. The standard is, however, for companies to partner with local organizations whose expertise is mental health. Collaborating with outside professionals creates more impactful programs that lead to a greater success rate.
Organizations companies can partner with include: APA Center for Workplace Mental Health, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mental Health America, and The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Collaborating with one of listed organizations not only brings credibility to corporate mental health initiatives, but it allows for the experts to assist in creating dynamic, customized well-being changes.