Some workplace wellness programs focus on helping employees lose weight, quit smoking or manage their stress levels. But, total wellness goes beyond weight loss, physical fitness, and stress reduction strategies. For an employee wellness program to work, these strategies will have to be integrated fully into your company culture. Here are five things that employers like you can do to effectively accomplish that objective.
#1 Make sure you already have anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies in your company.
People who are struggling with mental health issues often become victims of unwanted attention. Their strange behavior may have triggered a deep dislike, and to some extent animosity, in others who don't understand what they're going through every day. And that makes them vulnerable to harassment and bullying.
Take the initiative to educate your employees about their mental wellness. Train your managers on how to deal with instances of bullying and harassment at work as fairly and discreetly as they can. It's important that everyone is made aware that issues concerning mental and emotional health aren't something to laugh about or used as an excuse to take advantage of someone.
Anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies become even more paramount for an impact sourcing provider wherein the company's main objectives are to significantly improve the lives of its employees and their families.
#2 Disciplinary, grievance and conduct policies should provide the necessary support to employees.
Understandably, employees who are going through disciplinary or grievance proceedings will need some time off work. Expecting them to come to work and still get things done in spite of what's happening is totally unreasonable. Mind's Workplace Wellbeing Index has made it clear:
As formal action can have a negative impact on an employee's mental health, appropriate support and adjustments should be explored and detailed in the disciplinary, grievance and conduct policies. The policies should also take account of the impact these processes can have on employees' mental well-being.
#3 Install corporate policies that address equality and diversity issues.
Make sure you have policies in place that "celebrate diversity and uphold equality for all employees irrespective of their gender, race, ethnic origin, disability, age, nationality, national origin, sexuality, religion or belief, marital status and social class."
Insensitivity towards other genders or an intolerance for other races, cultures, or religions can create a hostile work environment for your employees. And, this has a negative impact on their mental well-being. It greatly affects their work even if they're not the ones who are being persecuted for their beliefs, gender or appearance.
#4 Review your sickness and absence policies.
You may want to reconsider mental health issues as legitimate reasons for taking a sick leave. Not every employee who says he or she is not feeling well can present a medical certificate. This wrongly assumes that an illness only occurs because of a physical cause.
If you're operating a call center in the Philippines, then you'll be in for a major surprise. Depression and anxiety disorders are not even covered by local HMOs. These issues may be covered by parity laws in the West, but legal measures still need to be effectively implemented in the Philippines. It's up to employers of impact sourcing workers in the outsourcing industry to take the initiative and implement policies that will give their employees the necessary support in dealing with their issues.
#5 Senior leader buy-in is important; it's the key to successfully integrating employee wellness into your corporate culture.
Mental well-being is not just about depression and anxiety. It's about managing stress. It's about learning how to deal with anything that will cause a distraction at work, or decrease one's motivation, or lower the morale of your employees. This is where senior champions for employee mental health play a vital role in making your initiatives a roaring success.
Once your employees become aware that their senior managers totally support these mental wellness initiatives, they will feel they are in a psychologically safe environment. They will be more comfortable in disclosing their problems with their supervisor or co-worker. When these issues are given attention, managers can swiftly find solutions for them and your employees can finally focus on their jobs and their future.