Read full post: Bridging the Gap: Exploring the Relationship Between HR and Mental Health

Bridging the Gap: Exploring the Relationship Between HR and Mental Health

As stewards of employee wellbeing, Human Resources (HR) professionals play a crucial role in supporting mental health in the workplace. While they may not directly manage mental health issues, HR is responsible for fostering an environment where employees feel valued, respected, and supported. 

From creating inclusive policies to designing benefits structures and ensuring psychological safety, HR initiatives can significantly impact employee mental health. Keep reading to learn how to bridge the gap between HR and proper mental health support, including strategies you can implement to help you find the balance.

What is HR's Role in Supporting Workplace Conflict?  

HR are the stewards of worker’s mental health. Although they aren’t directly responsible for managing team members’ mental health, they are responsible for creating inclusive policies, designing great benefits structures, and ensuring everyone has a fair and equitable workplace experience. 

It’s also HR’s role to ensure accusations of bullying are properly investigated, that all managers follow workplace policies, and that appropriate disciplinary actions are taken when necessary. Although these activities aren’t directly related to mental health, they play an important role in ensuring worker’s psychological safety and wellbeing. 

HR Initiatives to Promote Mental Health  

If you’re looking to bridge the gap between HR and mental health in your workplace, try implementing these 4 innovative initiatives. 

  • Promote Flexible Working Initiatives
    Remote working exploded into popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. This new style of working kept businesses afloat, workers safe, and employees productive. However, lots of people found they preferred this style of working once we were allowed back to work. 

Remote and flexible working initiatives allow team members to balance their home and personal lives, to be more productive, and reduce commuter stress. Plus, it saves your business money in utility bills and 52% of workers say it makes them quicker to complete their work, and 47% it improves their wellbeing. 

If you don’t already offer flexible working initiatives, consider extending this benefit to your team. 

  • Create a Culture of Openness
    Psychological safety is a big topic of conversation right now. By definition, psychological safety is a worker's belief that they won’t be ridiculed, punished, or otherwise embarrassed for speaking up with their ideas and suggestions. Creating a culture of openness and encouraging healthy debate will increase the psychological safety among your team, making them more likely to speak up and share their thoughts, concerns, and feedback.

There are lots of ways you can do this. Using phrases like “This is a safe space, and everyone’s ideas are important,” actively listening to employees without judgement, and demonstrating vulnerability as a leader can all contribute to fostering psychological safety. 

Additionally, offering opportunities for workers to collaborate, support the decision-making processes, and encouraging constructive, peer-to-peer feedback can help cultivate an environment where individuals feel valued and respected. 

  • Provide Training and Education
    Offering training and education into wellbeing, mental health, and common coping mechanisms for stress are essential to creating a happy workforce and bridging the gap between HR and mental health. 

By providing resources and workshops on topics such as stress management, resilience building, and emotional intelligence, you empower your team members to understand their own wellbeing needs, encourage empathy towards those with mental health challenges, and help the team work towards a culture of support and understanding. Plus, these training sessions will enhance team relationships and support business critical skills like communication, conflict resolution, and active listening. Winner winner!

  • Craft a Mental Health Friendly Benefits Package
    HR are responsible for crafting reward and benefits packages for workers. To bridge the gap between HR and mental health, try to craft a benefits package that offers ample mental health and wellbeing support. For example, offering benefits like:
  • Wellness Programs: 
    Wellness programs can include in-work support like yoga mornings, healthy snacks, or onsite fitness facilities. Alternatively, you could offer off-site wellness programs like discounted gym memberships, mindfulness sessions, or stress management workshops. Off-site wellness programs may be a little pricier than in-house services, but they can make a real difference to your worker’s mental health and the employee experience over all.

  • Financial Benefits: 
    Offering financial benefits like cycle to work schemes can promote wellness through encouraging a healthy lifestyle and it allows workers to pay a little less tax every month. You could also offer financial planning assistance, retirement savings plans, and access to financial education resources. Financial stress can significantly impact mental health, so providing support in this area can help alleviate anxiety and improve overall well-being. 

How Can HR Look After Their Own Mental Health?

Although HR’s primary role is to support the business, its workers, and keep business culture alive, you can’t do that if you’re running on fumes. 

81% of HR leaders admit to being burnt out, and 95% believe that working in HR is too much stress. These are scary figures, and it’s only going to increase unless we take the steps to look after ourselves. 

Carve time out of your day for a coffee and a catch up, go for a walk at lunchtime, and most importantly— learn when to say no. HR professionals are guilty of saying yes to everything to be supportive and helpful. But, to really add value to a business and act as strategic partners, you need to establish healthy boundaries and prioritise self-care. 

The Bottom Line on Workplace Mental Health

Your employees do their best work when they’re happy, fulfilled, and mentally healthy. However, trying to balance the demands of work and personal life can often lead to stress and burnout. As HR professionals, it's crucial to prioritise mental health in the workplace, both for your employees and for yourself.

By implementing innovative initiatives like promoting flexible working, creating a culture of openness, providing training and education, crafting mental health-friendly benefits packages, and promoting mental health days, HR can play a significant role in supporting the mental well-being of employees.

If you’re looking for a tool to do the heavy lifting, consider implementing a HR solution with integrated AI wellbeing support. Plumm helps workers manage their mental health, book time off, and complete a range of training and support courses.

Sign up for a free trial today and see the difference it can make!