Picture this – a workplace where employees feel not only physically healthy but also mentally robust, bringing their A-game to the table every day.
Vis-a-vis this: There is an workplace where people don’t feel like going because they are not sure of what to expect, they don’t speak out even if they have something to share, people just finish their work somehow and survive the day, they are actively looking out for the next opportunity to get out of this situation, they are afraid of making mistakes, so much so that they feel crippled to do even the basic work they are supposed to do…
Which of the workplaces between the two above do you think is a productive, growing place?
Prioritizing mental health isn’t just a trend; it’s a strategic move for teams and organizations. In the hustle and bustle of the business world, the mental health of employees is often overlooked. For Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) it’s especially important that they elevate their workforce engagement, because the team is relatively small and the results of any excellence or deviation are visible sooner than large corporates, and can be leveraged or prevented earlier, depending on whether its excellence or deviation from the normal.
Let’s explore why prioritizing mental health is a direct path to boosting employee engagement in the unique landscape of MSMEs.
Understanding the Impact of Mental Health on Engagement
Engaged employees are the heartbeat of any successful organization. Their passion and commitment drive productivity and innovation. However, the mental well-being of employees directly influences their engagement levels. Let’s break down the impact:
Reduced Stress, Enhanced Engagement: Stress is the silent productivity killer. MSMEs can foster a supportive environment that helps employees manage stress, directly impacting their engagement. When stress is minimized, employees can focus more on their tasks, contributing to overall business success.
Improved Morale and Team Dynamics: Mental health struggles can affect morale and teamwork. Prioritizing mental well-being creates a positive workplace culture where employees feel comfortable sharing their challenges. This openness builds trust and strengthens team dynamics, essential for high levels of engagement.
Increased Resilience: Engaged employees need resilience to navigate the ups and downs of the business world. Prioritizing mental health equips employees with the tools to bounce back from setbacks. A resilient workforce is an engaged workforce, ready to face challenges head-on.
According to WHO (World health Organization)
Practical Steps for MSMEs to Prioritize Mental Health:
Open Dialogue and Awareness: Start by fostering an open dialogue around mental health. Raise awareness through workshops, seminars, or guest speakers. When employees understand the importance of mental well-being, they are more likely to seek support.
Flexible Work Arrangements: MSMEs can leverage their agility by offering flexible work arrangements. Whether it’s remote work options or flexible hours, accommodating employees’ needs fosters a healthy work-life balance.
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): Implement EAPs that provide confidential counseling and support services. Knowing there’s a safe space to discuss mental health concerns encourages employees to seek help when needed.
Training for Managers: Equip managers with the tools to identify signs of mental health struggles and offer support. A well-informed leadership team contributes to a culture of understanding and empathy.
Inclusive Policies: Develop inclusive policies that destigmatize mental health concerns. Communicate these policies clearly to employees, emphasizing the company’s commitment to supporting their well-being.
Mental health issues don’t come announcing its arrival. It comes slowly, and sheepishly. Often it happens that the symptoms show up late when the stress has already made some inroads.
There is another aspect to remind ourselves for sure, and that’s a delicate one, because it stems out from a positive human nature. No one wants to lose. No one wants to give up easily. And in that effort, people try a little more, for a little longer. In that effort to try to do better, people put more effort and energy. Sometimes this effort goes much beyond the normal capacity. When the stress overpowers the willpower, people don’t realize. When it seems like stress, its often a little late.
What to do?
Keep talking about mental health. Keep the awareness high: Awareness about how it happens, what are the symptoms, what to look out for, what to do when the feelings are not so great, who to turn to when days become increasingly difficult…
There is a lot. And a lot has to be done.
In the world of MSMEs, where every team member is a valuable asset, prioritizing mental health is a game-changer. It’s not just about ticking boxes; it’s about creating an environment where employees thrive, and the business follows suit.
By recognizing the intricate link between mental health and employee engagement, MSMEs can build a workplace where individuals feel seen, heard, and supported. The result? An engaged workforce that propels the business forward, turning challenges into opportunities and fostering a culture of success. In the realm of MSMEs, prioritizing mental health isn’t just a choice; it’s the cornerstone of sustainable growth and prosperity.
At Employee Engagement Academy (EEA), we help HR Leaders, Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs improve Employee Engagement in their organizations. Get into the myriad of discussions about Employee Engagement, about creating a better a better workplace, about improving productivity and profitability of your business. Visit EEA website, follow EEA at various social media platforms, and do note that you can dive deeper through our 3-day course on Employee Engagement.
Follow Co-founders of Employee Engagement Academy on LinkedIn:
1. Srikanth Acharya
2. Subrata Kabiraj
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