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You will hear a lot in the news and the business world about the importance of corporate culture as a competitive advantage. That is true—the culture of your company is a way you can set yourself apart in a fast-paced, evolving, and incredibly competitive marketplace.

Why is that?

Corporate culture is going to allow you to attract the best talent, and that talent is going to be engaged and productive. They’re also going to be innovative and constantly working to develop their skillset.

So, how do you achieve a culture that lends itself to being a competitive advantage? One way is by supporting employee mental health. The following are some things to know about mental health in the workplace and how it plays a role in corporate culture.

The Importance of an Employer

Adults spend around one-third of their lives at work according to a recent report from Forbes. Our jobs shape our physical and mental health in many ways, and for employers, it’s important to recognize that role.

For years employers have been working on ways to help promote physical health in the workplace, but they’re just now really starting to delve into helping promote employees mental health as well.

It’s not just something that helps employees. When employers have a culture that understands and values employee mental health, it can help improve employee engagement, productivity, and workplace satisfaction. It can help reduce absenteeism and turnover and make for a better overall workplace for everyone.

Employers can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the thought of integrating something like mental health in the workplace, but it doesn’t have to mean a huge, expensive overhaul. Little changes can go a long way in this area.

Create Awareness

One of the best things an employer can do that doesn’t have to cost a lot of money is working on increasing awareness about mental health issues. Employers can provide educational materials to all employees and perhaps provide some training on dealing with their own mental health issues and how to provide support to their co-workers.

By creating awareness, not only does it make employees more able to recognize problems or red flags, but it also helps reduce the stigma of mental illness.

Even if you can’t train every employee on mental health, training managers is important. Managers tend to work directly with their employees, so them having a general understanding of mental health in the workplace can go a long way. It can also make them better overall managers and help them lead more successful teams.

Promote Autonomy and Flexibility

Employees who feel like they’re being micromanaged tend to be less happy at work, and it can have a negative impact on their mental health. As long as employees are getting their jobs done and doing them well, try not to micromanage and encourage managers to promote a sense of autonomy. Often companies with the best corporate culture are where the outcome and results matter, but not necessarily how someone gets there.

Flexibility is something that helps employees maintain work-life balance, and it’s something a lot of employers are seeing makes good business sense as well. Flexibility can help reduce burnout and stress, and ensure that when employees at work,they’re focused and productive. Work-life balance can look different for everyone, but recognizing and valuing it in the workplace is what’s essential.

Provide Positive Feedback

Providing positive feedback to employees isn’t a cure for a mental health issue, but what it is, is a way to promote positivity in the workplace, and that’s important for mental health. You want your employees to feel valued and appreciated, yet so often we forget how far a simple “thank you” or “good job” can go. These efforts cost nothing but can bring tremendous value to individual employees and the entire organization.

Make Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being Part of Your Core Values

Revisit the values of your company, and work to integrate the importance of mental health and emotional well-being into these. When you revise your core values, make sure your employees are aware of these changes, and receive messaging that’s consistent with the changes. While outlining core values doesn’t necessarily mean that mental health will become a top priority in the workplace, having it in writing is likely to make it a more salient point for everyone in the organization.

Finally, conduct regular surveys that will allow you to check in with employees and see how they’re doing and what their attitudes are toward work. You can see if they feel connected and energetic when it comes to work, or if they’re seeming to be experiencing a sense of burnout and disconnection.

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