One of the outcomes of opening up the conversation around mental health is that there might be a lot more employees who want to come and talk to you! As a leader, HR professional or line manager, listening and supporting your employees is core. But how do you balance their needs with the rest of your responsibilities, provide the right support, and avoid feeling overwhelmed, drained or burnt-out yourself by the end of the day?
Taking care of your own mental health and ensuring you have strong support systems and networks around you is vital in enabling you to be there for others in the best way possible.
We share some of our suggestions and those from our clients:
1.) Host dedicated drop-ins on a specific day and time of the week. They can be group sessions where employees benefit from the support and ideas of others, or one-to-one slots, but either way, ring-fencing time can help contain and focus your energy.
2.) Upskill. If you’re often approached by colleagues who are struggling, but feel out of your depth to help, consider upskilling, like Kellie from ICAB has - by taking an accredited counselling qualification, and attending courses - speak to us to find out how we can help.
3.) Be there to listen and support, but don’t feel you have to solve everything. Instead, be prepared to signpost effectively. Create a list of resources and organisations for scenarios that might come up, so you can ‘hold the hand’ of your employee while they seek support from professional services. This list could include your EAP, company healthcare insurers, their doctor or mental health support services. Or it could be that they would benefit from being paired up with a mentor or wellbeing coach, either internally or externally.
4.) Grow lines of support across the organisation - like Chartered Accountancy Firm, Gerald Edelman have done, by training and creating wellbeing champions and upskilling line managers with mental health skills. Importantly, remember to communicate who your champions are, what they do and how to contact them, so everyone in the organisation is aware of the initiative. You might also want to include them on your signposting list!
5.) Review your own support systems - both inside and outside of the organisation - where you can confidentially ‘off-load’. Whether your line manager, peer-support via a mental health buddy or trusted colleague or outside networks and HR groups, it’s important to be able to find someone to talk to and release the weight from your shoulders too.
We hope you found some of these suggestions useful and welcome any other you might have. Comment below or email us.
If you’d like to get in touch to find out more about how WorkLifeWell can support you, please get in touch at [email protected]
Author: Jayne Burton | Wellness Specialist | WorkLifeWell