In today’s rapidly evolving and demanding hybrid work environment, organizations face the challenge of cultivating a harmonious workplace where the workforce can flourish and the business can thrive. Vital to this objective is a corporate culture that values mental health and physical safety, where employees can bring their whole selves to work, unlocking their full potential and driving personal and professional growth. This environment promotes employee well-being and enhances productivity, creativity, and overall job satisfaction.
Research has found that active efforts to improve workers’ mental well-being and belonging ultimately improves corporate performance. To ensure that mental health programming is most effective in the corporate space, here are six strategies to keep in mind.
Before offering programming, it’s important to learn what your employees need and desire regarding mental health support and what impact you would like such programming to have on corporate performance. Consider an anonymous survey or focus groups to assess employee and business needs. Include opportunities for open-ended feedback, which will generate ideas you may not have considered. You might also consider asking longer-term employees why they have stayed with the organization and use these insights to build programming.
The mental health programs you offer will be more effective and better attended if they are part of your workplace culture. If programming is the only indication that mental health is essential, the offerings may feel more like one-offs instead of deep-rooted values and commitment of the organization.
To create a culture of mental health in the workplace, leadership must exemplify these values. If they regularly email employees late at night or on weekends, employees receive the message that they’re expected to be “always on.” A series on self-care wouldn’t be sufficient to offset such counter messages. In contrast, if employees are regularly encouraged to use all their paid time off each year, leaders send a message that they prioritize their employees’ mental health. Management can also lead by example by participating in their organizations’ mental health programs.
To maximize participation, mental health programming needs to be widely accessible. This includes offering several date and time alternatives, having online participation options, incentivizing participation, and providing ample time so employees can participate without falling behind on their workload.
Effective mental health programming creates a community among participants and a sense of belonging, mattering, and support. Employees benefit from having a safe space to share with their colleagues and grow in a group context. And the goal of programming should be that this peer support and sense of community lasts long after the workshop or group ends.
Assessing the effectiveness of your mental health programming will instill confidence in leadership that such programming is accomplishing the established goals. Pre- and post-launch surveys measure important variables for the employees and the business. To assess the impact on employee mental wellness, measure satisfaction at work, burnout, belonging, resilience, and engagement. To determine the impact on organizational wellness, study things like changes in job performance, turnover, sick days, and willingness of employees to recommend the company to others.
In a people-centric culture that values client satisfaction, your workforce should be regarded as a vital source. Merkle recognizes that employees are not just passive followers of company culture but powerful agents of cultural transformation. Our business resource groups (BRGs) and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) team partner to deliver employee programs, such as:
- LIFT – (Leveraging Internal Future Talent) – Tailored to the needs of high-potential women in a dynamic, hybrid workplace, this comprehensive executive networking program enhances skills, confidence, and competence, enabling women to excel in their current and future roles.
- Motivational Mondays – Designed to give employees a fresh start to the week, this program imparts various techniques, such as breathing exercises, stretching, and guided meditation, accompanied by positive-themed quotes and affirmations.
- Forward Movement Fridays – This group program equips participants with practical tools, strategies, and behavioral change principles to achieve personal and professional goals. It provides a supportive environment for individuals to shape their path to success.
Programs like these offer practical techniques and tools to encourage a supportive community where employees can thrive. They create workforce empowerment by fostering a positive and productive workplace.
Kirt Morris’ role as chief DE&I officer at Merkle focuses on making meaningful impacts to the US workforce when it comes to DEI initiatives and goals, including anti-racism programs, allyship training, and greater employee diversity through proactive recruiting efforts. Morris is also a 15-year Merkle veteran with over two decades of experience in technology implementation and system integration. Prior to his time at Merkle, Morris held consulting positions at Capgemini and Ernst & Young.
Dr. Michelle Pearce, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, board certified coach (NBHWC) and university professor. Her clinical and coaching practices focus on using the connection between mind, body, and spirit to improve health and obtain optimal well-being. She has authored several books, including Night Bloomers: 12 Principles for Thriving in Adversity.