Employers are struggling in the area of attracting and retaining talent like never before. We’ve heard about how team members want a positive work-life balance and the opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to the solutions their company is providing. We’re also hearing more about how today’s workforce is actively seeking to become employees of an organization that supports mental health. But what does that mean? The American Psychological Association (APA), in the 2022 Work and Well-being Survey, has some new findings that are worth reviewing.
Using Mental Health Support as a way of Attracting and Retaining Talent
The recent COVID-19 pandemic reminded us of how quickly everything we take for granted can suddenly disappear. The daily routines of traveling to work, dropping off kids at school or day care and enjoying activities like attending concerts and sporting events in person came to a screeching halt. Jobs ended for some of us, and other people fell gravely ill. Stress skyrocketed. Luckily, employers reacted positively. 71% of workers surveyed by the APA agreed that their employers are paying more attention to the topic of mental health. But are employers supporting the topic in the way that their team members expect?
Stress by Age and Occupation
Researchers dug into what’s causing employees stress this year. For some workers, the fear of not being able to pay bills is real. 54% of workers who worry about money say they are stressed. And 37% of employees who fear continued inflation will be looking for a new job soon.
Employees also state that other factors add to the level of stress they’re feeling. They believe the following benefits would help:
- Flexible work hours 41%
- A culture that respects time off 34%
- Remote work options 33%
- Four-day work week 31%
Team members don’t appreciate feeling excluded in their workplace. Those uncomfortable feelings drive up stress and drive down the likelihood that employers can succeed at attracting and retaining the best talent. Researchers found that only 50% of employees in manual labor jobs believed they worked for an inclusive company. The numbers are a bit higher for office workers (60%) and customer/patient service agents (59%). Regardless of profession, over half (53%) of younger workers, ages 18 to 25) do not feel accepted at work. The numbers are also disheartening for employees of color, those with a disability and members of the LGBTQ+ community. If your team members are encountering hostility or indifference in your workplace, don’t expect them to hang around for long.
Researchers also reported on toxicity in the workplace. Around 20% of manual laborers and customer/patient services agent call their workplace toxic. Verbal abuse comes from coworkers, managers or customers. These findings echo our own research and serve as a reminder that psychometric assessments serve as a powerful tool for learning which job applicants may exhibit toxic behavior in various workplace situations.
Improving Your Workplace Environment
There's always room for improvement in the workplace. If you feel out of touch with what’s happening in your work environment, follow the advice of recent Manage Smarter guest Matt Tenney. Matt and I discussed the importance of starting small and surveying your employees with one or two questions. You may suspect you know the answers to these questions, but with the survey results you can confirm your suspicions. Then you can take immediate and visible action. For example, if too many employees in a specific department are experiencing hostility from their manager, make it known that the manager is in immediate training for the next several days. If the manager doesn’t publicly own up to their action and improve their demeanor toward the employees, invite them to leave. At the least, you should remove them from their position of power. Taking swift and highly visible action sends a message that you value input and are willing to do what it takes to reduce current stress and to act on what's needed for attracting and retaining employees.
Going forward, act to reduce workplace stress and toxicity and emphasize the availability of mental health benefits to your team.
Photo on Pexels from Pavel Danilyuk
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