If there’s one glaring challenge today that’s common to most organizations across industries and businesses, it has to be maintaining employees’ well-being. Given today’s highly competitive markets and rapid technological advancement, the workforce has to face ever-growing skills gaps, regularly adding stress to already stressed-out employees.
Yes, the pandemic has exacerbated the situation, but that in no way means that it is the genesis of mental health issues in the workforce. A 2015 study by industry body Assocham pointed out that 42.5% of employees in the private sector in India showed signs of general anxiety disorder or depression.
Nonetheless, COVID-19 has certainly highlighted the underlying mental health issues in the workforce by manifolds. A recent survey revealed that in India, 50% of employees are worried about an uncertain future due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Another global survey undertaken by Qualtrics in the early days of the pandemic revealed that more than 44% of those surveyed had said that their mental health had declined due to the new workstyle.
Yet, this very situation has presented a unique opportunity for L&D teams to bring about initiatives that can lay renewed stress on training to build resilience and manage anxiety among employees at all levels. Though several organizations may have had employee wellness programs in place, the pandemic reiterated an urgent need for them. Investing in L&D programs to solve mental health issues is now an unambiguous strategy so that learners can focus on other areas of development with a stress-free mind.
From overtly tying well-being to L&D programs to using training to increase employee engagement and retention, here are 3 tips on how L&D can play a key role to impact employee mental well-being positively.
1. Bringing Wellness At The Centre Of L&D Training To Improve Productivity
Are your L&D programs and employee wellness initiatives siloed off from one another? If yes, then it’s necessary to make health and wellness the core of your L&D strategy. By doing so, you can offer a better work-life balance to your employees which will, in turn, help drive productivity in the organization. Some key steps to do so are by offering employees opportunities for professional upskilling, core skills development, soft skills development, coaching, and mentoring. Remember, your people need to be not just physically but also mentally healthy to achieve the most from areas of training and produce the best work for the organization and its clients.
2. Focusing On Wellness In L&D Training To Boost Engagement
Optimizing the potential of your L&D function should not stop at combining training and wellness. You can use your L&D program to demonstrate to your employees how invested you are in their growth and development. When employees feel invested, there’s a higher chance that they will be more engaged and motivated to grow in their roles. One way is to tie up with wellness programs by external partners and align them to your L&D program. This way, employees will feel that their organization is seeking out external expertise and making their wellness a priority which will drive them to become organically involved in the workplace culture.
3. Integrating Wellness Into L&D Programs To Improve Talent Retention
Last but not least, you can use your L&D training to improve your retention and recruitment metrics. While investing in L&D programs for health and wellness is an effective way to illustrate your commitment to the well-being of your existing employees, it also stands as an organic recruitment incentive for incoming talent. Just as it aids recruitment, it will also encourage talent retention. When L&D programs align with wellness, your employees will see they are being supported and that their well-being is an important focus for the organization, which will help improve engagement and, in turn, reduce turnover.
Ignoring mental health issues in your workforce can cost your organization dearly. As more companies expand their mental health purview to meet the demands of employees, your organization could be at a disadvantage as talent may move to other places that focus on mental health. By focusing on mental health, you can not only ensure happy and healthy employees but also boost the bottom line of your business.