A 2020 MindNation survey pointed out that 53% of Filipino employees are currently suffering from varying degrees of mental health challenges. The top sources of their anxieties are fears about the COVID-19 virus, financial problems, and work performance pressure. It’s predicted that these numbers will continue to worsen and have a long term impact on work environments, health, and work-life balance.
“Business leaders need to be more understanding about how the pandemic is affecting their team members and provide new and different ways of supporting their employees,” says MindNation psychologist Jessa Mae Rojas. “One of the ways they can do that is to be more compassionate; that is, creating a work environment in which employees feel safe and comfortable to express their needs.”
“Business leaders need to be more understanding about how the pandemic is affecting their team members and provide new and different ways of supporting their employees.”Jessa Mae Rojas, MindNation Psychologist
According to Monica Worline, Executive Director of the CompassionLab at the University of Michigan, a research scientist at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, and co-author of Awakening Compassion at Work, organizations that operate with compassion enjoy the following benefits:
- Increased employee retention.
Employees who receive empathy, understanding, and help from their colleagues and superiors are likely to stay in the organization for a long period of time and direct all their efforts for the benefit of the organization.
- Stress reduction.
Employees in a compassionate workplace can vent out their professional troubles to each other and socialize in the office. This lets the stress dissipate and increases the likelihood of being more productive.
- Stronger interpersonal bonds.
Leaders and managers who follow compassionate approaches at work have employees who will want to reciprocate the goodness they receive. This will lead them to form healthy and strong professional relationships with their team members.
Lack of compassion at work, on the other hand, results in more absenteeism (the practice of regularly staying away from work without good reason), presenteeism (showing up for work without being productive, generally because of ill-health) unhappiness, and disengagement from work. “All these lead to less productivity and increased employee turnover, both of which are bad for the company’s bottom line and image,” points out Jessa.
As a business leader, you can express compassion in the workplace by:
- Initiating difficult conversations with team members on a one-on-one level if you notice they are in pain or undergoing some personal stressors. Regular check-ins are essential so that you get to know your employees on a deeper level and can spot signs that something is amiss in their work or persona lives. And when they do confide in you, communicate understanding and support so that they feel secure and comfortable enough to tell you their needs, whether it’s extra time off or even financial assistance. “Even just telling the person you care and that you’re there for them can be good,” says Jessa.
- Actively listening to others without judging them.
A great place to start is to start a meeting by asking the attendees “How are you?” or other open questions related to their well-being and not saying anything until they’ve completely finished responding. And if a team member is not being forthcoming, just keep reiterating that you are always available to listen whenever they are ready.
- Carefully stating criticisms in a constructive manner, so that someone who is underperforming or made mistakes will not take the negative feedback personally.
In an empathetic work environment, leaders and co-workers treat each other with respect no matter what designations they hold. Additionally, they are open to negotiations and not dictatorial, and ready to lend assistance should anybody need a hand.
- Offering learning opportunities such as webinars and resources that focus on mental health. Sometimes, people are not even aware of what it is they need, i.e. self-care or self-compassion until it is already too late. Additionally, leaders may not be properly equipped to conduct mental health first aid or engage in difficult conversations. So partner with a mental health and well-being company that can create a customized program for your employees, making sure that services are geared towards achieving holistic health.
Emotions and mental well-being influence productivity at work. No person who is undergoing depression or other mental health challenges can work with the same efficiency if they are stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed. Leaders who push for a compassionate workplace culture can directly foster advancement and help distressed employees become capable again.
MindNation can help you develop a more compassionate workplace culture. We hold training programs to help team members to become more empathetic, active listeners, and build emotional resilience. Partner with us to build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Visit www.mindnation.com or email [email protected] to know more about our services.