We recently published a blog titled “3 Ways ERGs Support Employee Mental Health.” In it, we explored how employee resource groups foster a sense of belonging among marginalized groups, promote psychological safety in the workplace, and help develop cultural awareness and allyship at every organizational level.
Now, we’re back to offer 3 concrete things ERGs can do to champion mental health at work. Let’s jump in:
This one may ruffle some feathers, but we said what we said. Gone are the days of complete separation between the professional and the personal. There are very real things happening in the world and in your employees’ lives, issues that can’t be compartmentalized between the hours of 9 to 5. Creating space for tough (but necessary) conversations around these issues promotes psychological safety, a key ingredient not only for thriving mental health, but also for heightened productivity and performance.
There are very few spaces, in the workplace or otherwise, where your employees are encouraged to open up in a productive way about the issues that matter to them: race relations, the climate crisis, even politics. ERGs, which already foster a sense of belonging for employees, are the perfect settings to have meaningful conversations.
*Pro-tip: Even conversations in the safest of spaces can go off the rails if you let it. Consider structuring these discussions with one or two facilitators and a predetermined set of questions to help keep everybody on track.
If ya’ don’t know, ya’ can’t grow. The issue of mental health is still highly stigmatized in many cultures, and it’s possible that some of your employees (and higher ups) may not fully understand the impact of mental health on a person’s life and work. That’s where you come in. While it’s not your job to educate your colleagues, you may consider taking the opportunity to inform others on what mental health really is, how to identify its deterioration, and avenues for support.
This doesn’t have to be just another PDF file that gets lost in your office’s general Slack channel. Consider running a creative internal campaign that sheds light on individual employee’s stories, or taking time during all-hands meetings to shed light on common mental health issues.
*Pro-tip: While we love a good personal story, some people are more affected by numbers and stats. Did you know that 68% of Millenials have left their jobs for mental health reasons? Or that 91% of people believe that companies have a responsibility to support employee mental health? Sharing data like this may very well get the attention of colleagues who might otherwise appear unfazed.
Your ERG must first and foremost be a safe space for its members, but it also has the capacity to affect real and meaningful change at the organizational level. Every employee has a story and has been shaped by experiences both in and out of the workplace; similarly, every employee has at least one idea for how their company can better support their mental health. Collecting these ideas and presenting them to company leadership in an organized way not only amplifies the voices of underrepresented employees, it also provides leaders with a useful starting point from which to enact change.
*Pro-tip: Sharing insights with company leadership also serves to hold leaders accountable. Consider these reports as a way to put pressure on leaders to prioritize employee mental health, for everyone’s sake.
Are you an ERG member or company leader who is ready to put employee mental health first? We can help. Connect with Chezie today.
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