Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.
A lot is said of company culture and brand identity related to the marketplace. Companies seek out brand ambassadors to take campaigns of all sorts viral. Consistency of messaging is important and must be kept together by your employees. To do that, you need to ensure your employees are supported so they can produce as desired and protect your brand.
Where we stand currently, it’s become imperative for employers to support your staff and protect your brand. We have had to contend with the pandemic, the economy in massive flux and the prevalence of gun violence. Yes, this all affects your brand and business; there is no escaping that fact. The constant bombardment of calamity and the coming of more of the same or worse tends to send any person scrambling for meaning in times like this.
The most prudent thing a company can do is acknowledge there could be problems. Here is an excerpt on the topic from an October 2021 Havard Business Review article: “In 2020, mental health support went from a nice-to-have to a true business imperative. Fast forward to 2021, and the stakes have been raised even higher thanks to a greater awareness of the workplace factors that can contribute to poor mental health, as well as heightened urgency around its intersections with DEI.”
Create management talking points that can be used if any issues become evident. Many things can deter workers from seeking mental health help through an employer, but the major one is the stigma associated with seeking care. Here is a road map that the CDC suggests can be helpful for employers looking to promote awareness about the importance of mental health and stress management.
If your company has a human resources department, have them review what programs are available, if any, that address mental health. Check with your health care provider to see what is already a part of your current spending. This also applies if you don’t have an HR department; you will just have to get it done yourself. I believe that it is wise for a leader to use available resources to help employees who may be having a problem or are on the verge of having issues. Consider the cost of retraining and the multitude of other things associated with new employee onboarding.
I would caution that intervening un-aided by trained professionals in the mental health area is not what’s expected. You could become involved in something more than you have bargained for. Having a professional come in or Zoom in to share some basics and offer their contact information is a great step. Posting resources in the common area of the work environment and in employee online web portals is another strategy for generating visibility of such mental health resources.
If someone is having issues, it’s important to suggest they check things out and consider using a personal day — or you can add health days as needed. Just know that there is no shame in seeking help; if your employees come out stronger, you may too. I must stress that you are not to take on any restoration task only to allow for access to care.
Of course, every situation is different and adjustments can be made, but the key point is to get those who need help that help, if possible. It’s better to know where your employees stand as they are your true brand ambassadors and they need your support. It’s your brand — do what you can today.