Why All Businesses Should Have a Mental Health Policy

In the last two years, employee mental health has become one of the top challenges for businesses. Between increased remote work and resource constraints, employees are paying more attention than ever to their mental health. That’s why it’s important to have a mental health and HR policy in place for your organisation.

Keep reading to learn why mental health policies are a must for businesses today and how you can get started implementing one right away to support employee wellbeing and a healthy workplace.

Why Your Business Needs a Mental Health and HR Policy

Mental health has always been an issue, but it continues to become an increasingly large topic of discussion, especially in the workplace, due to how prevalent the impacts of negative mental health are. According to a National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, 46% of Australians between 16 and 85 years old experience a mental health issue in their lifetime. 

Many Australians in the workforce are struggling with their mental health. In Australia, untreated mental health conditions cost workplaces roughly $10.9 billion per year.

With these stats, numbers, and costs, it’s clear that every workplace should have a mental health policy. Luckily, implementing a mental health and HR policy isn’t as complex as you might anticipate. 

First Steps Towards Implementing a Mental Health and HR Policy

We’ve already emphasised the importance of implementing a mental health policy in your organisation, but where do you start? 

We’ve got you covered with a few easy initial steps. Here’s how you can take action and implement a mental health and HR policy for your business:

Prioritise Prevention

It’s always easier to prevent a problem than deal with it when it arrives, both at work and with mental health.

Although your employees will always have personal problems outside of work, you can minimise how their work affects their mental health by fostering a positive environment.

Many elements at work can significantly add to an employee’s stress, including:

  • Deadlines
  • Workload
  • Other co-workers
  • Management

Review whether your expectations are realistic for your employees or if you’re overloading them and therefore increasing their workplace stress. Better yet, establish a clear line of communication with your employees to ensure they know they can come to you with issues regarding their work, before these issues get excessive. 

Reduce the Stigma

Unfortunately, mental health issues such as anxiety and depression still carry a negative stigma in society. Many people keep their issues bottled up – especially at work – for fear of being singled out, seen as different, or even losing their job. 

Although you can’t change society as a whole, one of the best things you can do is reduce this stigma in your workplace. You can provide resources that create awareness and normalise the discussion of mental health. This can contribute to creating an open dialogue and let your employees know that they can find the support they need at work.

Train Management and HR

If an employee is dealing with mental health issues at work, typically, two parties may get involved: the employee’s direct report and HR. That’s why you must train these team members to deal with employee mental health.

Proper training will help the management and HR departments identify issues and address them accurately by providing employees with the necessary resources, including self-help tools or programs to guide them.

Management and HR training shouldn’t be a one-time occurrence. Revisit training regularly to ensure they continue adhering to mental health and HR policy best practices.

Encourage Work Life Balance

Work Life balance is a key component to employee mental health and an overall healthy workplace. Not only does it reduce stress and prevent burnout, but it can also increase productivity.

There are several ways to promote work life balance at your organisation; one of the simplest being providing a flexible work schedule. By giving your employees the flexibility to work at times that best suits them, you let them maximise their day and empower them to be more productive in their professional and personal lives. You potentially give them back time to spend with their family or do the hobbies they love.

Use Employee Engagement Surveys

Employee engagement surveys are a great way to determine the general mental health level of all employees. This is one of the largest preventative moves you can make for your employees’ mental health, so pay attention to survey results.

If you find your employees are not engaged or there’s an overall negative sentiment on issues like mental health or work life balance, act on the results to show your employees you’re listening and encourage them to further voice how they feel.

Wrap Up and How HRonHand Can Help

The importance of employee mental health cannot be emphasised enough. After all, happy employees are productive employees. That’s why having a good mental health and human resource policy in place should be a priority – although it takes time to implement. The good news is that the HR professionals at HRonHand have done a lot of the hard work for you. 

HRonHand has a mental health policy ready for you to download and use. This policy is designed to help employees deal with mental health issues by:

  • Defining mental illness and providing examples of common symptoms
  • Explaining why good mental health is important
  • Showing how to improve and maintain positive mental health
  • Encouraging employees to seek professional help in circumstances where they might be experiencing mental illness
  • Providing contact details for organisations that provide counselling and support for people suffering from mental illness.

Download our Mental Health and HR Policy today and start improving the wellness of your employees. 

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