Problems with the emotional health of employees is costing employers up to $500 billion per year. As a result of stressed-out employees, the global wellness market is growing nearly twice as fast as the global economy, according to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI).
For employers wondering whether their workers are stressed out and unhappy – and thus hurting the bottom line – the signs are everywhere.
Discontented employees are less likely to engage each other in conversation, relying instead on email. The absentee rate increases and production declines as workers call in sick more often. And, of course, eventually employees begin to search for a more emotionally stable place to work, leaving managers to constantly look for replacements.
“The employers who do not consider their employees’ emotional wellness are bound to suffer high turnover rates,” says Alex Zlatin, CEO of Maxim Software Systems, a dental-practice-management software company, and author of Responsible Dental Ownership (www.alexzlatin.com). “Employers who are not responding to those needs will feel a significant impact.”
Zlatin says there are many ways to change the company structure to accommodate employees who are feeling stressed out:
Review existing (or create new) core values, vision and purpose. These items often sound like flaky ways for big corporations to show their connection to clients. The reality is, if done right, these items are the pillars of every company.
Walk the Walk. Leadership’s role in corporate change begins when its leaders behave the way they expect their staff to behave. If one of your core values is “have integrity” and the leaders do not act with integrity consistently, they cannot expect it from their teams.
Invest in employees. Create a “game” room for staff. Explore team activities that are pure fun and are not specifically designed to “enhance teamwork”. Treat random employees to lunch.
Monitor client feedback. Are your clients happy? If they are not happy, is it because your employees are not happy? When client feedback starts heading south, it might be because your employees are not “smiling on the phone” and if they are, it feels and sounds fake. Client feedback is the canary in the coalmine that your employees are not happy.
Don’t let employees suffer in silence. To reduce and prevent burnout, employers need to create a workplace culture that encourages employees to raise their hands and ask for help.
“The pressures of today’s society are unlike anything we have seen before,” Zlatin says. “These pressures don’t go away when a person goes to work. If employers want to have happy, satisfied employees, it is important that they offer comprehensive emotional wellness programs.”