3 ways to integrate mental health initiatives into DEI strategies

Collages of younger employees working virtually Creating a culture of belonging and welcome begins with embracing soft skills such as the ability to humanize team members, practice transparency, and make cultural competence a priority. (Photo: shutterstock)

Employee well-being and mental health have taken a front seat in the modern business model. In fact, 54% of employees We believe mental health is an issue of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and that 50% of employees have left their jobs for mental health reasons, according to a report by Mind Share Partners. Because a sense of belonging is closely related to mental health, there is no doubt that mental health challenges in the workplace are often the result of a lack of focus on DEI. We are wrapping up Mental health awareness monthIt is time to reverse and modify current mental health and mental health practices in the workplace, especially since 60% of employees have reported symptoms of mental health struggles within the past year.

Related: Mental health challenges continue as workers grapple with the fallout from the pandemic

While the Kaiser Family Foundation notes it 83% of companies It offers health and wellness programs to its employees, and these programs often fail to reveal the link between employee well-being and DEI. Creating an inclusive workplace culture is a vital part of business growth, employee retention and companies with strong DEI programs have proven to be more profitable, but there is more work to be done as employers often lose track of employee health and wellness. Here are three ways business leaders can reassess their current EDI goals to be more inclusive of mental health.

1. Re-evaluate what DEI means to company employees

As companies improve and adjust their goals to keep pace with changing times, companies can empathize with one another by ensuring that these goals reflect the unique priorities of employees, which often include mental health. A search found by Mind Share Partners 91% of employees We believe company culture should support mental health, up from 86% in 2019. The pandemic has motivated many employers to help find ways they can offer resources within existing DEI initiatives to help improve retention and create a more inclusive workplace. Employee resource groups (ERGs) are one way to help increase empathy and emotional awareness, and can enable employees to educate their peers.

McKinsey research has found that workers who feel highly engaged in their organizations are Almost three times More than their peers to feel enthusiasm and commitment towards their organizations. Re-evaluating what DEI means to employees and adjusting internal initiatives accordingly to better accept and support employees is key to increasing feelings of inclusion and belonging, and thus improving mental health in the workplace. Where 86% of HR managers She believes a company’s mental health resources can increase employee retention, and according to SHRM, implementing internal initiatives can be beneficial to both the individual employee and the company.

2. Get expert help

Research from Mind Share Partners found that 68% of millennials and 81% of Generation Z workers quit their jobs due to their mental health. as such almost half (45%) of employees’ experiences with inclusion are due to a manager’s overall behaviors, and according to Catalyst, companies should help managers develop the skills needed to create a comfortable workplace for all employees. Creating a culture of belonging and welcome begins with embracing soft skills such as the ability to humanize team members, practice transparency, and make cultural competence a priority. Additionally, implementing employee feedback on new directions, initiatives, and company changes can help managers see what parts of the DEI and mental health resources are missing.

Approximately Nine out of 10 (88%) HR professionals believe that mental health resources can increase employee productivity, according to SHRM. While the benefits of including mental health as a goal of DEI are plentiful, human resource managers have searched for the best ways to help employees improve themselves while retaining the best talent in the company. Leaders can outsource help from experts outside the organization to bring new perspectives, conversations, and guidance to the workplace.

Furthermore, leaders can provide educational programs for managers to further enhance their skills in speaking on mental health and mental health topics to promote a safe and comfortable workplace. However, creating and promoting well-being initiatives shows employees that their mental health is a priority for the company, and helps make them feel valued. This will encourage workers to stay in their company because it helps them feel that they are important and supported members of the workforce, regardless of their differences.

3. Support DEI conscious strategies during talent search

Even if DEI’s current strategies are inclusive of gender, race, and ethnicity, companies must ensure that recruitment efforts include all potential candidates, including 1 in 5 adults in the United States Struggling with mental health every year and 20% of the population It is considered a nervous bifurcation. Strategies like universal design help ensure that decisions in the workplace benefit everyone, not just a select few.

McKinsey’s research shows that the majority of employees agree that inclusivity is an important factor when choosing to join a company. in addition to, 39% of employees They refuse or decide not to seek a job due to a perceived lack of integration into an organization, demonstrating that DEI’s goals and strategies must be communicated at the beginning of the recruitment process.

As part of the talent acquisition process, human resource managers must adjust job descriptions to be comprehensive and thoughtful to show potential candidates that the company does not discriminate based on the applicant’s background or identity. Candidates can be reluctant to apply or accept a job if DEI’s goals and company actions are unclear. When hiring, HR managers can increase communication about emotional well-being by enhancing the resources of a mental health company. In order to demonstrate to employees and candidates that the company fosters an inclusive workplace culture that helps employees be their best selves at work, HR professionals must be open and honest about available resources, benefits, and options.

Finally, expanding existing talent pools to include candidates with non-traditional backgrounds helps celebrate employee differences and helps create a diverse and accepting culture. As the definition of DEI continues to evolve, companies and human resource managers are working to keep pace with the trends and desires of employees. By assessing employees’ definition of DEI, enlisting outside help and improving internal communication, and promoting DEI from the start, companies can include mental health policies as part of their DEI strategy.

Jess Green He is the Senior Vice President of Customer Success at Crane.

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