More than 47 million American workers quit their jobs in 2021, half of which claim to have left due to mental health issues, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Reducing stress and alleviating burn-out could be the key to slowing the Great Resignation.
As reported by HRM, “60% of employee benefits leaders said employee expectations around mental health support rose over the past year, and 92% said providing mental health support became a higher priority for their company over the past year.”
For front-line workers, mental health is a top concern as they are expected to work while others can quarantine at home, and the stress is compounded because due to their inflexible schedules, child-care is more difficult.
The CDC suggests the following ways to address mental health in the workplace:
- Make mental health self-assessment tools available to employees.
- Offer free or subsidized clinical screenings for depression from a qualified mental health professional.
- Distribute materials, including brochures and videos, to employees about the signs and symptoms of poor mental health as well as opportunities for treatment.
- Provide free or subsidized lifestyle coaching, counseling or self-management programs.
- Host seminars or workshops that address depression and stress management techniques, such as mindfulness, breathing exercises and meditation, to help employees reduce anxiety and stress.
- Create and maintain dedicated, quiet spaces for relaxation activities.
However, employers can’t offer benefits and not develop a culture that respects the mental health of its employees.
According to Harvard Business Review, “Although employers have responded with initiatives like mental health days or weeks, four-day workweeks, and enhanced counseling benefits or apps, they’re not enough. Employees need and expect sustainable and mentally healthy workplaces, which requires taking on the real work of culture change. It’s not enough to simply offer the latest apps or employ euphemisms like ‘well-being’ or ‘mental fitness.’ Employers must connect what they say to what they actually do.”
In addition to benefits and initiatives, employers need to provide managers with training to help them recognize the signs and symptoms of stress and depression in team members and encourage them to seek help from qualified mental health professionals. A two-way conversation that engages employees in discussions around decisions that could affect job stress is also important for establishing trust.
The Great Resignation can be slowed when employers prioritize and value the needs and health of their employees.
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