HR "hot topic" Blog


Mental Health: Making a Difference in Your Workplace

Mental health affects us all. In any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness (Canadian Mental Health Association, 2013). According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, mental health issues accounted for more than $6 billion in lost productivity (i.e. absenteeism,presenteeism and turnover) in 2011. While tackling such a widespread illness may seem difficult, employers can have a powerful impact on changing attitudes within the workplace. Educating managers on the importance of supporting, empathizing and understanding employees’ everyday struggles will assist in creating a more open and supportive workplace environment.

Although mental health conversations are more prevalent nowadays, there is still a stigma around these illnesses in the workplace. As an employer, you play a critical role in increasing awareness and de-stigmatizing the workplace. There are many different ways that you can create a more mentally healthy environment;starting with implementing an accommodation policy and then effectively communicating the policy to your employees. A well written accommodation policy,encourages employees to come forward with mental health issues, clarifies the employer and employee’s role in the accommodation process, and gives the employee a better understanding of the steps involved should they require and seek accommodation. Employees are more prone to discuss any mental health issues with you if they know that no conversation is off the table. Like any other individual, employees affected by mental health issues want to know that they will not be judged or treated differently for disclosing their illness. Being able to offer your support is very important. After an employee discloses this information to you, it is important to sit down with them and develop a plan of action moving forward. Be supportive but ask clear and specific questions such as, “What type of support do you need from me in order to be successful?” or“What are some of your everyday struggles here at work?”. These types of questions can be helpful in creating a personalized plan for that employee.  

Educate your workforce

Providing training and learning opportunities in the workplace is a great way to de-stigmatize the workplace and provides managers and supervisors with the right tools to be alert to signs of mental illness. Some red flags include: disinterest in everyday work, productivity decreasing, frequent and unexplained absences, constant late arrivals, and inability to work collaboratively with co workers. Many people are not educated on the topic of mental health, therefore offering more information can be very helpful in creating a more supportive environment. According to Bell Let’s Talk day, 87%of Canadians reported that they are more aware of mental health issues since their initiatives began back in 2010. This proves that starting a conversation about mental health truly helps.

Join us in keeping the conversation going and working together to create a stigma-free Canada. 


     HR Performance and Results offers services in all areas of Human Resources and Health & Safety, as well as training and development workshops on topics such as Leadership and Communication Skills. Contact HR Performance and Results today to learn more!

January 2019

Communication: Times are changing and so are the ways we communicate in the workplace

The ways in which we choose to communicate with one another are ever evolving. Thanks to the rapid evolution of technology, information that once required face-to-face conversations and was restricted by geographic location, can now be sent instantaneously and can reach audiences around the globe within seconds. Although we are constantly "connected" through technology, his also creates a sort of disconnect from human contact. Gone are the days where we would shake someone's hand to congratulate them on a big promotion or a job well done. Instead, we write a LinkedIn post about it or comment on their Facebook photo. 

This has had both negative and positive impact on workplaces and the way we choose to communicate with our employees. Although e-mail has allowed us to reach a wider audience and can save us time, it can also feel impersonal and emotionless. By removing in-person contact, we lose those small facial cues and gestures that help us to build social relationships and connections. 

Effective communication in the workplace can boost morale, develop trust between co-workers, managers and employees and can have a positive effect on absenteeism and turnover rates. When management has a clear line of communication with their employees, it creates a feeling of inclusiveness from the employees' side and in turn creates a sense of trust between the employee and upper management. Here are a few simple tips we suggest to improve communication and boost morale within your team. 

  1. Give praise when praise is due. A simple "thank you" at the right time can go a long way. Acknowledge the small successes and show appreciation for hard work. This can make a world of a difference for someone who is feeling over-worked or undervalued. 
  2. Give praise fact-to-face. Although a "great job" e-mail seems more efficient, it can come off as impersonal and ingenuine. Take the time to congratulate your employees on a job well done with a handshake and a smile. 
  3. Hold staff meetings to share important information with your team. Information can get easily lost in translation. In addition to sending out informational e-mails about upcoming company changes, give employees the opportunity to hear the news from you in person. This will also allow them to ask questions and share their concerns, reducing the number of follow-up e-mails that will inevitably flood your inbox. 
  4. Try holding a lunch and learn session to teach employees proper e-mail etiquette. Without non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, tone of voice, and hand gestures, messages can be taken the wrong way. Encourage your employees to follow respectful e-mail etiquette with clients/customers, management and between colleagues. 

     HR Performance and Results offers services in all areas of Human Resources and Health & Safety, as well as training and development workshops on topics such as Leadership and Communication Skills. Contact HR Performance and Results today to learn more!

October 2019

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