According to the HSE, in 2018/19, there were over 600 thousand employees suffering with anxiety, depression or stress in the workplace. Whether they're a new recruit or an old hand that's suffering, looking after the mental health of your employees is as important as their physical health. Wiht this in mind, what can you do within your business to help anxiety levels in the employees you mentor?
Clear Company Policy
One of the first and perhaps the most important factors is to ensure that your entire business is open to mental health awareness. Maintain a clear visible strategy to show staff that both mental and physical wellbeing is important and they can be confident to speak, through established channels when they need help or believe another member of staff may.
Mentoring junior employees can help greatly in reducing their stress levels, which in turn gives them more confidence and ultimately leads to greater productivity and help them to settle into their work.
When handled sensitively, a mentor can be the difference between an anxious employee succeeding in your company or crumbling under the pressure.
Mental Health Awareness
Managing mental health in the workplace requires a strategy that promotes wellbeing for all staff. It is important that staff who require additional mental health support feel they can speak out, be listened to and receive support. It is important to focus on what employees can do, rather than what they cannot.
Providing a mentor for an anxious employee will provide them with the security of support from someone who will get to know them and be able to personalise the support they give. It can be as simple as giving feedback on a task more regularly than they would normally receive, or simply an ear to discuss concerns they are having whether it is in work or their private life.
Mental health can affect an employee differently from one day to the next. By supporting your managers to work with those suffering, developing an action plan in advance with tailored support ready for the times they feel they are not coping so well, will ensure you are able to respond quickly as issues arise. Creating practical and agreed steps in advance gives both the employer and the employee a basis for review and monitoring. It should cover triggers and warning signs, so that both learn to recognise the onset quickly. Is should also recognise the impact an occurrence may have on their performance and what support can be offered to reduce the effects and lastly cover what workplace changes may be needed to facilitate the support.
It should also identify positive steps that the individual can take to safeguard their wellbeing, and manage their anxiety.
Many of the changes required are often small and inexpensive, but will require some thought. Perhaps scheduling a catch up meeting to help prioritise workloads, offering flexible working to facilitate causes of anxiety outside the workplace, allowing adjusted working hours or an additional break which can help some individuals cope, especially those on medication.
Your company will benefit by fostering a caring attitude for staff and reduce the number of staff that may be unable to continue working if no support could be offered. Anxious employees will often thrive, grow in confidence and ability and provide many years of loyal service if the right support is given by their emplpyees and those that mentor them.