Successful organisations rely and thrive upon the skills and effort of their employees. When these workers are well enough to take on their jobs, they contribute significantly to company growth.
However, available evidence suggests that Australian workers are losing time and productivity at work due to poor mental health. Each year, close to 25% of workers in Australia lose 50 productive hours to absenteeism caused by depression. Another 8% suffer severe depression that has led to the loss of 138 hours per person per annum.
As most companies have small teams working to achieve company goals, the interaction between wellness and success is more complex. In the workplace, a stressor that impacts the wellness of one team member is likely to impact the entire team in some way. Similarly, poor wellness outcomes may have a negative impact on the success of the team.
On the other hand, thriving mental health and wellness of one or more team members can have a huge positive impact on the efficiency and success of the whole team.
When companies are more conscious and proactive about their staff’s mental wellbeing, they tend to see improvements in the way their staff perceive their jobs, reduced employee turnover, and increased productivity.
How Can Employers Make their Teams More Effective?
Leaders at organisations can bolster the mental base of their staff by creating a working environment that’s psychologically safe, conducive for collaboration, and open to communication between employees and management.
In many cases, training may be required to reorient workers away from an unhealthy mindset, or just to make them more able to help colleagues dealing with stress or any other mental health issues. Companies may find that there’s as much work to be done in both these areas; a survey of Australian workers indicated that 45% of those with mental health issues were facing stigma at work.
Team members could benefit from training in these areas:
Workers who operate in fast-paced, high-intensity industries are at the risk of developing chronic stress problems. This is also true for people who work in shifts.
All employees at risk for stress can benefit from resilience training to keep up with the demands of their work. Typically, this involves introducing them to modes of thinking and action that should enhance their mental toughness.
Uprise is an employee assistance program that teaches employees best-practice resilience skills based on 10 years of research. Learn more.
However, teaching resilience skills shouldn’t be viewed as a band-aid solution for overworked employees. If team members are being assigned more than they can handle, management should take action to adjust their workloads where necessary make their jobs more manageable and healthy.
2. Psychological Safety
Psychological safety is the state of being able to work and share one’s thoughts with other people without the fear of negative consequences for one’s self-image. It is similar to trust; if there’s very little trust between members of a team, that team has a low psychological safety profile.
Training can help individuals improve this aspect of their mental life. Ideally, training programs for psychological safety will include a way to track the progress that is made during or after the program.
Uprise offers training to help its users boost their psychological safety profile. By building up individual resilience and mental health literacy, UpSkill training improves self-reported measures of team cohesion and psychological safety. This spans hope, optimism, resilience, and self-efficacy. In 2018, Uprise boosted psychological safety by 10%.
A report by AON demonstrates that when communication improves, so does employee engagement. For a successful team, there must be excellent communication between team members. This communication should be built upon trust, loyalty and strong bonds between team members working towards a common goal.
Communications training is often overlooked, but this type of training can have a significant impact on the quality of work overall. This kind of training is useful because it helps employees to better sell their ideas and feel heard. This boosts the wellbeing of individual team members, and overall team cohesion.
4. Mental Health Support
Team members may not be open to talking with their colleagues about their mental health challenges. This is a high priority in today's society with one in five employees likely experiencing a mental health concern. Leaders, managers and even colleagues should be trained in recognising the signs and initiating discussion around mental health issues.
Mental health literacy programs can equip workers with the skills to feel more comfortable to help others. Uprise includes specific training on how to identify, start a conversation and manage a crisis situation. All of the Uprise training modules can be learnt alongside support from a registered psychologist to give a more personal insight into what the employee is experiencing.
Uprise is a proactive employee assistance program (EAP) provider that improves employee engagement, retention and performance by enhancing psychological wellbeing. Learn more about how our program helps to proactively reduce employee stress.