May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. As we reopen businesses and you work to figure out what the future of your workplace will look like, it’s essential to consider how your workplace fosters employee health while improving organizational performance. 

As a business owner or manager, your concern with productivity doesn’t have to come at the expense of your employees’ stress level. Each person has experienced the pandemic differently and brings individual filters and needs with them as they consider their future work life. In my consulting experience, especially in a tight labor market, turnover is a much more significant threat to profit and productivity than taking the time to explore what your people need.

Based on the American Psychological Association (APA) research, here are five areas and examples that drive employee health and business productivity.

  1. Employee involvement: participative decision making, self-managed workgroups, continuous improvement teams, multi-rater performance evaluation systems.
  2. Health and safety: high-quality health insurance, mental health coverage, smoking cessation resources, healthy food options, exercise classes, safety, and ergonomic assessments.
  3. Work-life balance: telecommuting, flexible shifts, child or elder care resources, compressed workweeks.
  4. Employee recognition: fair compensation, performance-based bonuses, recognition events, verbal acknowledgment by managers, formalized peer recognition programs.
  5. Employee growth and development: training, tuition reimbursement, coaching and mentoring, job enlargement and enrichment, career counseling.

Whew, that’s quite a list!  So, what’s the spark here?

Before you flip out over everything you might do to foster employee health and drive productivity, start with a simple conversation to learn what’s essential to the individuals on your team. After all, that’s the genesis of participative decision-making, so you will already have begun!

Source: Introduction: Building A Psychologically Health Workplace Matthew J. Grawitch and David W. Ballard Copyright 2016 APA

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