Managers: Creating a Culture of True Wellness

Likely, the idea of employee wellness is a concept that has been introduced previously in your workplace. You may have engaged in fitness challenges, held pizza parties in the breakroom on Friday afternoons, or talked about your dedication to wellness in an all-hands meeting. However, what impact do those have on employee wellbeing? Are they giving you the desired results?  


While these events, policies, and initiatives can improve workplace culture, morale, and recruitment efforts, they can sometimes feel surface-level or transactional for struggling employees. A recent study noted that some wellness offerings may be more beneficial to already-healthy employees. Given the increase in employees struggling with mental health issues, what can you do as a manager to create an effective and impactful culture of wellness?  


Offer Mental Health Education  


You may have told your staff in an email or during a meeting that you value employee mental health and wellbeing. However, once it was said, what action did you take? If follow-up steps weren’t taken, this may make employees struggling with emotional distress or mental health issues less likely to talk with you about it and can further perpetuate the stigma around mental health.  


Engage your team by providing mental health education where you can teach yourself and others how to talk about mental health in the workplace. They can build the tools to encourage others when they need support and feel better equipped to identify employees experiencing emotional distress. Not sure where to start? Invest EAP’s management consult team can support you with this!  


Develop Flexible Workplace Policies  


Flexibility in the workplace can give employees a sense of job control and increase their satisfaction with their work which, in turn, can increase their mental wellbeing. Find opportunities within your organization to consider options such as work location (working from home or hybrid environments) or workplace schedule (such as flex time). Not only does this improve your ability to attract and retain workers, but it can also accommodate the needs of many workers, such as aging workers and parents.    

These policies allow your team to adapt and adjust based on their circumstances. This could be due to their mental health or other events happening in their lives. Flexible workplace policies and benefits like sick time, paid leave, vacation time, and bereavement policies are beneficial. However, ensure it is easy for all employees to access these benefits and ensure they are aware of them.   


Invest EAP services are one employee benefit to promote and encourage your team to utilize. Talk to your staff about the benefits of our robust EAP and even share positive stories of your own experience. We also would be happy to meet with your team to encourage them to use our services – contact us today!   


Manage your emotions well 


It’s important for employees to see you as level-headed and willing to handle strong emotions well. Move with purpose and focus. Remember what you can control in a world where so much is out of our control. How you react to situations in the short and long term can make a big difference.  

Practice radical acceptance and understand that sometimes bad things do happen to good people, too. It can be hard to accept but know that sometimes life throws curveballs.  

Lead by example - Allow employees to trust you and show that you’re planning for the company's (and your team’s) future success. Bring on excitement often about the organizational mission and values that its leaders have. Doing so will keep your workers engaged in work while also feeling confident that leadership has everyone’s backs. 


Engage in Compassionate and Authentic Leadership  


Human connection is essential to alleviate some of the effects of stress, anxiety, burnout, and workplace distress. Oftentimes, people feel alone in solving these types of problems and view it as a personal failure. Instead of encouraging your staff to engage in self-care, encourage your team to care for each other. This can be done by coming together as a group, having compassionate conversations about what people may be struggling with in the workplace, and finding ways to move forward productively.   


We aren’t asking everyone to become best friends and hold hands, nor do we expect this to become a meeting of complaints. Instead, it is a discussion where the purpose is to acknowledge the emotional reality of work that might otherwise be ignored and to actively help group members engage productively with their reality. Your team may describe how work situations impacted them, and others can validate their experience by listening actively and showing compassion. Through these collective and supportive conversations, genuine connections are built.  


Are you a manager needing additional guidance on building a workplace wellness plan? Contact Invest EAP today at 888-392-0050.