Redworks Blog (all posts)

Your Path to Excellent Employee Engagement Starts with Mental Health

If you’re having trouble with keeping employees engaged in the workplace, you’re actually in the majority—marketing research firm Gallup reports that only 20 percent of global employees are engaged at work. This isn’t specific to any particular industry either, but the one common thread seems to come down to mental health.  

From a numbers standpoint, the impact of mental illness is impossible to ignore—costing the global economy upwards of $2.5 trillion annually. Before you can start making any changes, it’s important to understand the current state of your workforce and take note of any existing signs of disengagement. 

Once you have a better idea of what you’re working with, you can start to take action and implement changes that will create long-lasting positive results.   

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement might look different based on your organization. In general terms, Quantum Workplace defines it as: “the strength of the mental and emotional connection employees feel toward the work they do, their teams, and their organization.” You need to look at your workplace as more than just a place for people to do their jobs. If you want to create an environment that fosters growth and creative business strides, you need to pay more attention to engagement.

When your employees are engaged, you can expect them to be:

–       Team-oriented and purpose-driven.

–       Driven to meet goals and come up with solutions.

–       Adaptable to changing business environment.

–       Focused on learning, growth, and improvement.

Disengaged behaviors can look more like: 

–       Negative outlook and overall pessimistic attitude.

–       Happy to take credit when something goes right but quick to shift blame if something goes wrong. 

–       Increased absenteeism or tardiness.

–       Focused on monetary value rather than reaching business goals.

Why is employee engagement important?

The more disengaged your employees are, the more it’ll cost you down the road. According to data collected by McLean & Co., for every $10,000 in annual salary an organization loses about $3,400. Multiply this by the actual salary and number of employees and you’ll get an idea of how much you’re losing by not taking action to improve engagement. 

How you can start to improve your employee engagement

Acknowledge the importance of mental health

The sooner you make it clear to your employees that you value their mental health, the faster you’ll see results. Even with the growing demand for mental health services, it’s often very difficult for people to get the help they need. Try to ease this dilemma as much as you can. 

Conduct an honest assessment

You need to know where your employees stand—engagement surveys are a great way to start out, asking for direct feedback and honest opinions. Don’t hesitate to conduct one-on-one meetings either, and make sure to make it clear that you value any feedback you can get, even if it’s negative. Frame the discussion in a way that the employee feels compelled to help you make viable changes.

You might also want to task someone with monitoring performance over time to gain a better understanding of areas that need work. 

Create lasting changes

You might think the cost of mental health benefits is too high for your organization to offer but think about all the money you’ll save if you aren’t losing hours of productivity each week. Aside from formal benefits, you can also focus on:

–        Recognition: make sure to give positive reinforcement when possible and show your appreciation.

–        Resources: employees are more engaged when they feel they have everything they need to do their job.

–        Connection: practice inclusivity and build strong relationships through collaboration.

Question for leaders

1.     What are you doing to support the mental health of your employees? 

Registration is now open for our next Great Engagement: Engage and Mobilize Employees Training Program, starting January 25, 2023.

For more information and to register:

Your organization may be eligible for up to two-thirds of the training cost through the Canada Job Grant program.