Strategies for Organizations to Ensure a Happier Workplace

#BreakTheStigma to Ensure Employee Mental Wellbeing
Niveditha Navin, Learning & OD Specialist, C2C Organizational Development

May 26, 2023

In the lead-up to our last blog on why it's time to #BreakTheStigma around mental non-wellbeing, as part of our awareness campaign to mark this month as #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth, this blog looks at why employers need to do much more to address the daunting challenge of mental non-wellbeing at the workplace, with some actionable strategies that your organization can employ. #BreakTheStigma 


“Taking care of the mental health of your employees is going to make your business more competitive.” -Mark Henick, Mental Health Strategist

Mental health challenges are a reality! Burnouts are more prevalent than organizations would want to admit. Attrition and mental health are more closely related than employers wish to accept. Recent research conducted by McKinsey Health Institute across 15 countries and nearly 15000 employees highlight nearly 59% of respondents having reported at least one mental health challenge.

During and post pandemic, organizations had begun to identify and acknowledge the growing incidences of mental health challenges in the workplace. With a greater number of Gen Z reporting feeling stressed at work, the need to address the growing percentage of mental health issues has become non-negotiable in the last couple of years. Mental health support has grown from being good-to-have to an absolute necessity. Organizations have woken up to the fact that their performance greatly depends on the state of mental well-being of their employees. They have responded to the need in a frenzy, offering wellness programs, app subscriptions, mental health days, and in-house counseling. But the question truly is, is that adequate? Are the steps taken by employers enough to address the daunting challenge that mental non-wellbeing is?

How can organizations help employees?

As much as organizations have prided themselves on providing mental wellness initiatives, these peripheral efforts may not yield substantial results. What needs to be done is a change at the grassroots level – providing employees with an environment that values them, their contributions, and their mental health. Recent findings suggest that changing workplace conditions to prioritize employee well-being can lead to improved job satisfaction and lower burnout levels, positively boosting business outcomes. Here are a few approaches that organizations can adopt to make a difference - 

More autonomy and flexibility: There is enough research data indicating that work stress can significantly be reduced when employees are given more control over how, where, and when they get their work done. Providing employees a platform to collaborate seamlessly with their colleagues and giving them the autonomy to choose where and when they get their work done can significantly reduce the levels of burnout or stress related to work.

Adequate staff to avoid high workload: The need to take on more work than one can manage and work for unreasonably long hours in a high-pressure environment can take a toll on employees’ health and mental well-being. Hiring more people may come at a cost, but so does attrition which results from burnout and stress. Balancing organization headcount to be able to spread out the demands of work will greatly help in maintaining a healthy work environment.

Opportunities to be involved: An effective and smart approach for organizations could be to provide opportunities for their employees to participate in organization-wide decision-making and help solve workplace problems. The feeling of being involved in planning in the workplace can contribute to reducing burnout and the want to quit their jobs.

Increased communication: As much as leadership may think they communicate enough, research indicates otherwise. Employees whose managers or leaders do not communicate enough are more likely to experience work-related stress and anxiety. Create an environment where it is imperative for leaders to communicate with their teams more often, keeping them in the loop on any organizational updates, or changes in work hours, by setting work expectations and acknowledging any good work being done. The need to amp up communication is more with a huge number of organizations’ workforce working remotely. Drill down the importance of frequent check-ins with employees that go beyond just a “How are you?”. A personal connection with the employees could help them feel involved and reduce any signs of workplace stress. 

Encourage support for employees’ personal needs: Employees may have different circumstances that they are battling on a personal front. Encourage leadership to forge a personal bond with their teams, acknowledge any personal needs they may have, and provide the flexibility that allows them to balance their personal as well as work lives better. Support from organizations in accommodating their personal needs could lead to better job satisfaction and lesser attrition. 

The need basically is for organizations to modify their policies and way of working to lay more stress on flexible working hours, the paid time off given to employees, the compensation provided, and the connection that leaders take efforts to forge with their teams. The efforts that organizations take today will result in them being able to retain their best employees, improving their performance and business results. 

It is never too late for organizations to take steps to foster a culture where employees feel happy, and that their efforts are being recognized. Let’s together create more mentally healthy workplaces and cultures for employees worldwide.

Niveditha Navin is a Learning & Organizational Development Specialist who is passionate about learning and creating solutions that help people grow. She thrives on creating compelling content for business, learning and skill building.     


Present company included: Prioritizing mental health and well-being for all | McKinsey
Addressing employee burnout: Are you solving the right problem? | McKinsey
7 Strategies to Improve Your Employees’ Health and Well-Being (hbr.org)
8 Ways Managers Can Support Employees’ Mental Health (hbr.org)