41 Ways To Improve the Emotional Heath Of Your Workplace
The emotional health of the workplace is important to the success of your organization. If you want to be a winner in the global economy, you must understand the value of your workforce.
According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH):
- 25% to 33% of workers report high job stress,
- The number of workers who fear job loss has doubled in the last decade.
- There has been an increase in disability claims, morale problems, and higher health care costs associated with work stress
How does this affect your bottom line? The American Psychological Association offers these observations:
- In a survey of Ohio small business executives, 57% claimed that their companies have suffered productivity losses due to emotional problems of employees.
- 80% to 90% of all industrial accidents are likely related to personal problems and employees’ inability to handle stress
- In a 3-year study of a large corporation, 60% of absences were found due to psychological problems
Promoting an emotionally healthy workplace is good for the bottom line. It is also a realistic goal
There are four “Vitamin Cs” of an emotionally healthy workplace. When your workplace has the recommended dose of these “Vitamin Cs” the emotional health of the entire organization improves. The Cs are:
David Whyte, poet and organizational consultant says, “Anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small.” The first Vitamin C of an emotionally healthy workplace is Commitment. Employees need to work for something that is larger than themselves. When an organization has an articulated purpose that contributes to making the world a better place, employees will commit time and energy to the workplace.
- Develop a clear mission statement and post it in a public place
- Communicate the “Big Picture” to your employees
- Communicate your purpose to the local or national community
- Discuss the value your organization offers to the human community
- Stand for something important and encourage others in your workplace to do the same
- Discuss the value your organization offers to your workers and customers
- Make long-term outcomes more important than short-term financial benefits
- Discuss values openly and non-judgmentally
- Listen to the ideas of every employee
- Take the needs of the employee as serious as the needs of the company
The Chinese character for “crisis” can be translated two ways, either as a problem or an opportunity. The powerful truth is that optimism and the willingness to persevere are more important than intelligence or skill in success. When we foster the sense of challenge in employees we bring out the best they have to offer. The second Vitamin C fosters a challenging environment.
- Change your language to speak of “opportunities” rather than “problems”
- Persevere when projects are important even when the answers are elusive
- Promote optimistic attitudes in your organization
- Identify strengths in your employees to use their strengths.
- Offer advanced training opportunities
- Cultivate positive goal setting activity
- Encourage continuous organizational learning
- Reward employees willing to attempt to solve problems, even if they make mistakes along the way
- Encourage creativity and the willingness to take risks
- Support employees when they are working on problem resolution.
It's important “to be able to choose situations in your job in order to be more effective and to use your skills,” since “having control reduces the stress you experience.” The third Vitamin C is Control. Establishing a sense of control is a key factor in reducing stress and in increasing productivity.
- When assigning someone responsibility for a job, make sure they also have the authority to carry it out
- Identify what is in your control and work within your circle of influence
- Give employees leeway in the “how” of their work as long as the task is completed well
- Assume responsibility for your own behavior, avoid blaming others for your mistakes
- Be flexible
- Give workers time to plan and organize on the job
- Ask for input from employees about the best way to do their jobs
- Insist that everyone learn from mistakes
- Provide employees with all the information essential to their jobs
- Make sure employees have the material supplies they need to do the work they are asked to do.
The conclusion of Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, leaders of a Gallup poll of 80,000 managers is that people leave managers, not companies. How you treat employees makes a difference. It is the forth Vitamin C necessary for an Emotionally Healthy Workplace.
- Appreciate employees for the work they do well
- Acknowledge important events, i.e., the anniversary of being hired for your organization
- Be concerned for the life outside of work of your employees
- Highlight the strengths of each worker
- Treat employees as individuals, not just as a member of a group
- Treat everyone with justice, i.e., treat them in accord with what each one needs rather than treating everyone the same
- Get to know employees as whole persons, not only for the roles they assume in the company
- Let employees get to know you as a person, not just as a boss
- Take special care to meet the needs of the weakest members of the organization
- Provide opportunities for informal gatherings away from the pressures of the workday
- Use people’s first name when you talk with them
I am already acting on these items:
My next priorities for action are: