To be avoided: 4 mistakes by employers that lower mental health

'Employees who encounter these misses are seven times more likely to say their job had an extremely negative impact'

To be avoided: 4 mistakes by employers that lower mental health

It's no secret that work has a massive impact on employees' mental health, for good and for bad.

So, in 2023, it's a great opportunity for HR to re-assess the ways it can better take care of employees' mental health.

Beyond having an engaged workforce, Gallups identified five pillars for boosting mental health that include:

  • demonstrating a commitment to building the strengths of each employee and helping each do what they do best every day
  • managing employees in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work
  • employees who believe that their organization authentically cares about their overall wellbeing
  • employees who trust the leadership of their organization
  • employees who feel connected to the organization’s culture. 

4 big mistakes

But the organizations that are the most notorious for harming the mental health of employees are disproportionately guilty of four offenses, according to Gallup research.

“Employees who encounter these misses are at least seven times more likely to say their job resulted in an extremely negative impact on their mental health in the prior six months.”

The four mistakes to avoid are:

Materials and equipment required to do the job right are not being provided: Asking employees to carry out their jobs without giving them the right tools to do it is among the "strongest negative influencers of mental health," according to Gallup.

This is even more important as remote and hybrid work takes the centre stage in the post-pandemic workplace. A survey from Exoprise among 3,000 respondents revealed that unreliable equipment and services is the second most important factor behind employee burnout and turnover.

In fact, 15% of the respondents said they would quit because of poor experience with productivity tools.

The opinions of employees are not adequately heard or counted: Opinions or feedback that are ignored or neglected in the workplace can also lead to "frustration, worry, stress, and anger and harm the social fabric of the organisation's culture," according to Gallup.

An environment where employees can comfortably share issues with their managers and C-suit executives is the "key to a healthy company," said Craig Sneesby, managing director at U&U Recruitment Partners.

"It comes back to the importance of having clear, open and honest communication between employees and employers and creating a safe space for discussions," Sneesby previously told HRD.

Customers are not being properly cared for and prioritised: Poor execution of company plans is also a "major factor in poor employee mental health," according to Gallup.

"This includes not consistently delivering on the brand promises made to customers and maintaining the speed and agility to accommodate customers in a changing marketplace."

Management does not know what employees do best: Managers who are unaware of their employees' natural strengths can also bring significant harm to mental health, said Gallup, as it could reduce engagement to a "mere two per cent."

Engagement as starting point

Having an engaged workforce will be the starting point for many employers if they want to improve their employees' mental health, according to Gallup.

"When Gallup tracked over 10,000 of the same, randomly selected U.S. workers over a six-month period, those who were classified as engaged in February 2022 were five times more likely to report later that their job had an 'extremely positive impact' on their mental health over the prior six months than were all other employees," Gallup said in a Workplace insight.

"Those who had been classified as actively disengaged, in turn, were likewise over six times more likely to report that their job had an 'extremely negative impact' on their mental health over the prior six months than all other employees."

Raising awareness of employee assistance programmes is also important, according to Gallup, but that is "just the beginning."

It is also important how the "human capital of an organisation is managed and how its brand promises are kept."

"The ramifications of successful execution or missing the mark are far-reaching for the organization itself, and for the people who work there," Gallup said.

Recent articles & video

All Australian states, territories see decline in job ads: SEEK

CMFEU fined nearly $170,000 for 'obnoxious, bullying interactions'

Number of women Chairs in top Australians firms hit record-high

Counting employees: How to know if you're a small business employer

Most Read Articles

Director 'forces’ manager to leave before end of notice period: Is it dismissal?

'I will not be performance managed again': Worker tears up PIP in front of HR partner

FWC awards compensation despite worker's poor performance, attendance