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Mental Health Matters: How to Support the Well-Being of Employees in the Workplace.

  • 05.26.2023

Poor working conditions, heavy workloads, long hours, and other factors impacting mental health can reduce employee productivity, resulting in a negative work environment. Gen Z employees — a key demographic for many employers — have unique mental health needs, with 92% of college seniors wanting mental and emotional health benefits as part of work compensation packages. Understanding and improving the well-being of everyone in the workplace is crucial for HR and talent acquisition teams.   

Understanding Mental Health Challenges in the Workforce  

Research shows good employee mental health positively influences productivity, innovative behavior, and work engagement. Companies with awareness of mental health challenges in the workplace can provide the right resources to employees experiencing a difficult time at work. Mental health concerns affecting employees include:

Stress and Anxiety

Employees might suffer from stress and anxiety at work because of tight deadlines, a lack of autonomy, job insecurity, and other factors. Research shows 84% of workers report feeling stressed at work, with this number increasing to 91% for 18-to-24-year-olds.


Every year around 12 billion working days are lost globally due to depression and anxiety, which results in $1 trillion of lost productivity. Depression may be the result of factors in the workplace, such as limited support from bosses or inadequate pay. Or it might happen because of an external factor, such as a death in the family or a relationship breakdown. Moreover, depression isn’t always situational and could be down to genetics or unidentifiable factors. Regardless, employers need to recognize the symptoms of this condition and provide ongoing support like access to counseling services, self-care apps, and other mental health resources. 


Burnout is a state of physical or mental exhaustion caused by stress that can result in decreased job satisfaction. Employers should not only recognize team members who experience burnout but also the factors that contribute to it, such as long hours and organizational changes.

Loneliness and Isolation  

Employees need to support employees who feel lonely or isolated at work. These feelings can cause team members to emotionally withdraw from their jobs, impacting workplace performance.

The Role of Talent Acquisition and HR Professionals

As talent acquisition and HR professionals, you play a vital role in supporting mental health in the workplace. Here are two ways you can improve employee well-being:

Recognizing the mental health needs of employees    

Provide managers with the right training and resources for identifying and supporting mental health in the workplace. That can help managers recognize the symptoms associated with poor mental health — changes in behavior, absenteeism, and turning up late for work — and know when to escalate concerns to HR.

Implementing policies and practices that promote well-being

Creating policies and practices for well-being in the workplace can improve consistency when dealing with employees’ mental health. These policies and practices might include:

  • Giving employees more control over their work hours with flextime, compressed work weeks, and the ability to work from home
  • Managing an individual’s workload by delegating duties to different team members
  • Hiring additional staff members to manage heavy workloads 
  • Allowing staff to take mental health days to reduce stress and burnout 

Strategies for Supporting Employee Well-being  

Here’s how you can support the well-being of employees: 

Flexible work arrangements and mental health resources    

Flexible work arrangements, where employees choose their hours, can improve mental health outcomes for your workforce. Alternatively, employees can work from home or adopt hybrid work schedules if being in the office increases stress, anxiety, depression, or burnout. 

Providing employees with access to the right resources can also improve mental health. For example, employees can discuss work-related problems with a counselor. Or enroll in employee assistance programs that encourage a positive work environment. 

Be careful which technological resources you use for well-being. Some digital tools, such as social media platforms, can make mental health worse. However, apps like Calm, which teaches meditation and promotes better sleep, can be valuable resources for your workforce.

Encouraging open communication and employee engagement

You can create a supportive working environment by communicating the importance of mental health to employees. That can be done through one-on-one meetings or internal communication systems. You can also improve employee engagement and emotional well-being through team-building activities and mentorship programs. 

Measuring the Impact of Mental Health Initiatives 

Once you have created strategies for supporting mental health in the workplace, you should measure the impact of these initiatives:

Establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) and analyzing feedback    

Regularly survey employees about their well-being and satisfaction with measurable benchmarks such as work well-being scores. You can then adjust your strategies for mental health support based on the results and feedback you receive.     

The long-term benefits of a mentally healthy and supportive workplace 

After implementing strategies for mental health support, you can create a more mentally healthy and supportive workplace over time.

That can result in long-term benefits such as increased revenue from improved employee productivity.


HR and talent acquisition teams play a significant role in supporting mental health in the workplace. By coming up with strategies for employee well-being — including for Gen Z workers, who are more likely to want emotional and mental health benefits from employers — and measuring the impact of these initiatives, you can prioritize mental health for your company and create a more safe, flexible, and collaborative working environment. 

Want to learn more about mental health in the workplace? Check out these resources from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Want to learn more strategies for retaining and finding top talent? With over 100 years in the business, Bayard is here to help. Connect with us to learn more. 

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