Workplace mental health compounded by leadership gap

Workplace mental health compounded by leadership gap

It likely won’t surprise anyone to hear that COVID-19 has caused major burnout in the workplace – something leaders need to reconsider as employees slowly return to the office. A new survey, “The Pandemic Within the Pandemic: Why Leaders Need to Reconnect on Mental Health at Work,” shows that more than a third (38%) of the world’s employees were experiencing burnout over the past 12 months and mental health had declined as a result.

And because the workplace is made up of a cross-section of generations, burnout seems to be affecting each one differently. Gen Z and millennials were more likely to suffer burnout over the last 12 months with 45% and 42% respectively being affected. Generation X is suffering at a rate of 35% and Baby Boomers are the lowest at 27%.

Related: 4 ways you to help create a healthier workplace environment and stave off burnout

“It is very hard to imagine a company successfully managing a return-to-work initiative, or sustaining performance during the pandemic, with such high levels of burnout,” said Jessica Conser, LHH SVP Products and Solutions. “These are the people who must set the tone for their companies, and find a balance between home and office that will allow the people they lead to effectively manage their own stress and burnout. They can’t do that if they are completely worn down.

Mental health issues vary by location as well. According to the survey, Poland and Canada have the highest rates of deteriorating mental health with 45% and 32% respectively. At the low end of the survey is Romania at 21%, Australia at 14% and China at 7%. Globally, an average of 32% of people say their mental wellbeing got worse in the past 12 months.

The major divide preventing assistance from leaders is their inability to help. The survey notes that leaders are not only burned out but don’t know how to help others. Sixty-seven percent of non-managers believe their leaders are not checking on their mental health or physical wellbeing. Leaders appear to want to help but 53% say they have not found it easy to identify when staff may be struggling with mental wellbeing. The other side of that coin is that 71% of workers say having the right support for mental wellbeing at work will be important to them in the future.

“If we’re going to do a better job of responding to mental and physical wellbeing, we need to equip leaders with skills like empathy so they can have frank and meaningful conversations with people they lead to find out how they are really doing,” said LHH’s Jessica Conser. “Particularly in scenarios where people may be working remotely, it’s not enough to just ask someone ‘how are you?’ You have to show them you really want to know more about their mental and physical wellbeing to get to truth of how they are doing.”

The survey concludes by stating companies must incorporate something called “organizational empathy” into their corporate culture. Once it is built into the company structure, it becomes second nature and leaders will feel more at ease providing the necessary support to their employees….[Read more at:]