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Mental Health Awareness Week: How to improve employee wellbeing

| Heidi Thompson | 15 May 2023

Employee wellbeing is not a new concept, but an area that has grown considerably, particularly during the pandemic. It can no longer be seen as an area more often tackled by large companies, but integral for all businesses to support, develop and grow an effective team.

Before you set out to support the wellbeing of your team, my advice would be to consider why we are doing this. The why is important, as to be effective, well-being has to be authentic, it has to go beyond posters and webinars (albeit they have their role); and instead consider all aspects of how we work.

It’s a difficult balance to get right and can be costly. There are so many options available and it's important to get the right fit for your organisation. What do your employees need? Employees will also have different needs and it's vital that well-being is inclusive to all.

Start talking

This all starts with open conversations. Get some feedback to find out what they’re wanting from the company and what they’d use most. This can include surveys, as well as gathering together groups for people to bounce ideas off one another.

These stories resonate with our employees and encourage them to open up more. We also signpost to support groups, podcasts, books, and other services around each area. I’m really proud of how our team has embraced LetsTalk and the really raw and honest conversations we have had, which I know has helped many people. Such conversations help us form better working relationships as they are able to understand what each other is going through.

We also offer an EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) which I would highly recommend as it provides free (to the employee) 24/7 access to trained professionals to discuss worries and concerns they may have. An EAP cannot be the only solution to well-being but I do consider it being a really useful addition.

Supporting a whole team

At Duncan & Toplis, we have trained all of our managers in mental health to help them to spot signs of where team members may be suffering. We’re not turning our managers into counsellors, and we also have to support their own mental health too, but it enables them to have the skills to identify when someone within their team may need some additional support. In addition, some of our HR Team are also mental health first aider trained, which enables us to understand the needs of our teams and signpost methods of support.

We also do regular webinars and discussion groups, we have an online wellbeing hub within our intranet for podcasts, articles, and other resources that may help with their problems alongside the EAP which can be very useful in all manner of issues - even if you’re just feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Begin your wellbeing journey

Sometimes wellbeing can be hard to measure in terms of effectiveness, but the best thing for us has been talking. When people open up and share stories, it inspires others to do so too - but you need those mechanisms in place first to make it happen.

Well-being is certainly a continual process, which starts by having sensitive conversations and embedding actions that offer support and flexibility. This ensures that employees are heard, making them feel understood, valued and recognised.

If you’d like support with improving team wellbeing, get in touch with us.

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