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  May 22nd, 2024 | Written by

Is the Mental Wellbeing of Staff a CEO’s Responsibility? 

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It’s no secret that mental health issues are on the rise around the world, with one out of every two people in the world developing a mental health disorder in their lifetime. 

As taboos surrounding mental illness break down and the way we live grows ever more digital, it’s expected that the number of cases being reported isn’t going to slow down soon. 

With over 200 centers focused on burnout treatment in the US and many more across the globe, workplace burnout has been added to the list of mental health concerns for global business owners. 

Employers are now being looked to for answers but, as the CEO of a global business, is it your responsibility to look out for the wellbeing of your staff, or should personal lives stay personal?

Is staff mental health a CEO’s responsibility?

In all circumstances, the answer to whether or not a CEO should take responsibility for their staff’s wellbeing is a resounding yes. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you’re taking the blame for their mental illness or even confirming that the workplace is a contributing factor. 

What it does mean is that it’s your responsibility to do what you can to ease the impact of such mental health conditions and provide the right support when they’re at work.

Staff expect mental health support

Over 80% of workers said that they consider mental health support important when looking for a job and will actively seek positions where wellbeing is prioritized.

If you’re looking to hire top talent at your company, you need to have their mental health in mind. However, despite demand, work environments are the cause of a huge number of mental health problems and can exacerbate existing illnesses. Discrimination, electronic monitoring, and stress all contribute to poor wellbeing, and it’s up to you, as the CEO, to address these issues. 

Read also: Everything You Need to Know About Tech Recruiting Platforms

The demand for mental health support is set to increase, too, since Gen Z has entered the workforce. This generation ranks company values second only to pay when looking for a job and is more open and accepting of mental illness than any generation preceding them. As CEO, if wellbeing support isn’t fundamental to your workplace culture, your younger team members might be more inclined to vocalize that change is needed!

People are your company’s biggest asset

People are the most crucial resource that your organization has. Without staff, your processes halt leaving your clients unserviced and dissatisfied. 

Employees can make or break an organization, and providing the support they need to feel mentally well will directly affect the success of your business. Aside from the ethical reasons for supporting your staff, the threat of not looking after them should be motivation enough to create a strategy. 

What are the risks of not supporting your staff?

The more people struggling with mental illness, the more likely you are to see staff shortages and absences, along with decreased productivity and engagement. There could also be problems between staff, with increased emotions leading to arguments and team dynamic issues.

In worst-case scenarios, you may lose members of your team. When they realize that going to work puts their mental wellbeing at risk, they’re far likelier to resign without another job lined up. In fact, 1 in 4 employees has left their job due to mental health, showing just how impactful it can be. 

When word about your lack of mental health support gets out through word-of-mouth, you’ll struggle to hire new staff. Talented, experienced individuals simply won’t interview for a company that doesn’t value their health, leaving you with an incomplete team and skill gaps that can’t be filled.

Finally, you’re putting the lives of people at risk. Mental illnesses are complex and if the environment you’ve created is worsening someone’s illness, there can be a permanent impact on the individual’s life.

As CEO, that should be enough for you to take responsibility for your staff’s wellbeing whilst in your workplace.

Create a mental health support strategy

Once you’ve decided to take action on mental illness in your business, start by educating yourself. Understand how to spot the signs of different mental health issues, what they entail for the individual, and how you can help. 

Read also: 3 Steps Companies Can Take To Improve Mental Health In The Workplace

This training should involve your senior leadership team, too, and if possible be company-wide. The more people on board with your wellness strategy, the better results you’ll see from the wider organization.

Let your staff know that you’re available to talk, too. If they do come to you, listen to them and be ready to provide actionable support. This could include:

  • Offer a flexible work plan.
  • Adjust their workload and redistribute elsewhere.
  • Provide access to a qualified list of therapists or mental health treatment centers.
  • Giving them time off work where needed.

Sometimes, simply showing that you understand and won’t discriminate against them if they need to take time to focus on their wellbeing is enough to make a difference. 

It’s also important to lead by example. Show good well-being practices by not working too late, not replying to emails when at home, and being open about any self care practices you do. If you’ve had any experiences with mental illness yourself that you feel comfortable sharing, do so. Being open will make staff more comfortable coming to you and being honest about their own struggles, which is essential if you want to help them.

Final words

As CEO, there’s no doubt that the mental well-being of your staff whilst at work is your responsibility. This article should have shone a light on why it’s so important and given you some tips to start providing support. Just remember to educate yourself, be ready to listen, and always lead by example.