With falling stock prices and less cash runway, there’s no denying that the life science industry has been through a tumultuous time recently, leaving many employees feeling more stressed and stretched than ever before. Rather than hoping things will ease and return to normal, it is time to put mental health on the map and encourage your teams to consider their health and well-being. Not sure where to start? We have the advice you need!
Define Your Support in a Policy
The most important thing you can do for your employees is to provide an explicit policy on how you will support employees who are going through difficult times. Share everything people can access and where they can find it, highlighting their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Doing this will educate each employee and empower them to get support before their mental health needs grow and become a reason they require time away from work.
Create a Culture of Openness
Evidence shows that people who feel their mental health is supported in work are 26% less likely to report ongoing mental health symptoms. The best way to make your workplace open and supportive is to encourage people to be open about their mental health needs and accept the help on offer. To do this, you will need to start from the top, expecting your managers to be modeling the support you want to filter down and to receive the information they are given with the right attitude so they can create the change you want to see occurring.
Provide Tangible Support Systems
It’s not good enough to tell employees that you are there for them without offering a real support system that they can use, as this will often lead to discontent. Instead, make sure that you have specific systems in place that they can use when they need some help. This can include an employee counseling service, access to time off for mental health appointments, and informal support systems accessible throughout the workday, such as relaxation spaces and mental health signposting information.
Use Peer Mentors
One of the best support opportunities you can offer individuals is to work with a peer who has been through a similar experience and can mentor them as they traverse the system with their mental health needs. This can be as simple as providing tips for coping with work when they are having a hard day to advocating for them when they need time away from work. Remember to set out the parameters they are expected to work within and define a schedule to arrange a time for support so that people know exactly what is on offer and how to access it.
Hire the Right Leaders
The only way any of this will work for employees is if you have a management team that believes in mental health support and encourages individuals to use it without any attached stigma. If you are keen to find the best managers who can achieve this, then why not GeneCoda® get to work? As a leading US executive search firm, we know how to find great candidates who will align with your values and ethics – call us today to discuss how to get started.