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Why Mental Health Should Be An Executive Priority

Update Date: Apr 01, 2019 10:18 PM EDT

Modern executives are busy trying to find any way to optimize their business for the 21st century, which usually requires an extensive exploration of expensive digital technology or the hiring or a consultant to help you chart out the future. As many intelligent executives are starting to realize, however, there are easier ways to supercharge your company and equip your workforce for success than by investing in new tech or hiring outsiders for workforce training.

Investing in employee mental health produces serious results and should be the primary focus of any executive trying to nurture a better workforce. Here's why mental health should be an executive priority, and what you can do to help your rank and file workers when it comes to wellness.

Employee burnout costs businesses dearly

Businesses should be focusing on the mental health of their employees because it's the right thing to do, yet it's also a selfish endeavor that will make them money in the long run. In a competitive marketplace, many executives fear that if they empathize with workers they'll face lower profits and the loss of business, yet there are plenty of reasons to believe that ignoring employee wellness backfires in the long run. As the Harvard Business Review illustrates, employee burnout is a real phenomenon that can disrupt your business and permanently ruin workers who would otherwise be superstars.

Burnout at work can drain employees of their motivation and lead to lackluster commercial results, which is why it's important for executives to consider things like loneliness and mental wellness alongside of profit margins. You need to be focused on instilling a positive company culture that makes your rank and file workers feel like welcomed members of the family rather than strangers being exploited for profit. The future of business is in bringing people together rather than ripping them apart, so don't believe that you need to fragment your workforce into a remote empire in order to cut down on costs or bolster efficiency.

As a matter of fact, many businesses that employ remote workforces see workforce morale drop as working from home might take a toll on your mental health. These businesses have become so obsessed with cutting operational costs and outsourcing as much of their operations as possible that they've forgotten the bottom line and have drifted into dangerous territory. For executives who want to remain relevant for years to come, you need to put workers first regardless of the headlines crowing about the rise of the machines.

Automation isn't enough

Many executives think that the can bypass any problem surrounding a human workforce by heavily automating their existing business operations, but the truth of the matter is that automation and digitization isn't enough. Human workers are always going to be part of the equation, which is why it's so imperative to have a robust HR department focused on bettering the everyday wellbeing of your rank and file employees. If the executives at the top of the company hierarchy start to only think of themselves, they'll face more than worker's revolt on their hands, and will soon see the entire foundation of their business empire crumbling before them.

Some companies are going the extra mile in caring about the mental health of their employees by championing company-sponsored vacations. While this may raise eyebrows around some, it's a simple matter of fact that workers who have time off and enjoy regular vacations are more productive than those who slave away at the office all day. As the German model illustrates, giving your employees plenty of time off makes them ready and willing to work when they do eventually head back to the office, helping you avoid burnout and any workers compensation claims that might ensue.

Beyond sponsoring vacations and paying your workers fair wages, instilling a positive company culture that focuses on more than just profits is an important part of making mental health an executive priority. This is because only executives and senior management officials have true control over the company's culture; rank and file workers contribute to the culture and become ingrained in it, yet they can't steer what direction it's going in. Your executives will want to think about diversity and inclusion at all times, as it's important to make your workers feel welcome and at home if you're serious about their mental wellness.

Besides the fact that investing in employee health pays off handsomely in the long run, you should be focusing on mental health as an executive priority because it's the right thing to do. Businesses which lose sight of the wellbeing of their workers quickly fail, as every company needs a dedicated workforce to keep chugging forwards. Make mental health an executive priority in your business, and you'll soon see the positive results derived from having a workforce that's happy and content.

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