There is a stat floating around LinkedIn that you may have seen by now –
“While 96% of CEO’s believe their companies are doing enough for employee mental health, only 69% of employees agree”.
Apparently, this is very disconcerting for many, based on the number of articles that have been written specifically to CEO’s. Asking them to Do Better!!! I, for one am on, #teamCEO. I truly believe that we are better at hiding our stress and anxiety than people give us credit. We are even pretty good at hiding it from ourselves.
Let me tell you a story…A little while ago, I went to my doctor and told him something wasn’t right. I won’t go into all the details, but I am usually pretty self-aware. While I knew something was “off”, I really didn’t know what it could be. After just a few minutes with me, my doctor told me I was stressed. I just laughed at him. I told him I AM NOT STRESSED! He then laid it out –
“3 dogs, 1 kid with a baby on the way, 2 kids in college, a global pandemic, a job…and a husband!! Oh – and you are a woman. You carry a lot of stress.” I wasn’t really sure whether or not to be offended by that…but realistically it is a true statement.
Did you know that the following “symptoms” are stress-related?
- Numerous headaches
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Other muscle tension or pains
- Angry Outbursts
- Always tired/lethargic
- Can’t sleep
- Smoke more than usual
- Digestive issues
- Weight gain
What is the answer? Of course, all the usual suspects – better diet, more exercise, meditation. But, there is also – laughter (it’s the best medicine), your favorite hobbies, hanging out with your friends, stay away from caffeine and alcohol (I know. I’m not going to do that either!). Surprisingly, even though our idea of relaxing by watching TV, scrolling through Social Media, or playing video games seems like a good idea, all of these things actually cause more stress by keeping your mind active – therefore, not sleeping. And lack of sleep is the “gateway cause” to the majority of stress in our life.
But – what is a CEO to do? For any CEO, “the bottom line” is what ranks pretty high on their priority list.
Did you know that for every dollar invested in mental health treatment, there is a return of $4 in improved health and productivity?
Without violating any HIPAA guidelines, let’s assume that at least 50% of your staff is suffering from stress-related issues. This is where some creativity is required. If that is not your strong suit, get someone or some people on this task – ASAP. I’ll start brainstorming with you…
- Be Flexible.Every employee is handling change and uncertainty in a different way. And a global pandemic, with our New Normal, definitely qualifies for change and uncertainty
- Consider a 4 day workweek. Maybe even just once a month. After a Spanish company started a 4-day workweek:
Absenteeism fell 28%
•Revenue grew at same rate as before COVID
•0 of 189 employees quit in a year
- Ask your employees if they would rather be in the office or remote. And then give them the freedom to do either or both. Give goal-oriented tasks/projects. If they are completed, do you really care where they are sitting to get them done?
- Keep your employees safe. This is nothing new. Employees want stability and safety. However, the way that looks is different today than ever before. Determine what your will make your employees feel secure and acknowledge their fears. In some cases, it could be as simple as opening the lines of communication, so they know they are being heard.
- Help navigate Current Events. 2020 was one for the record books in areas other than just the pandemic. Social Injustice presented itself in ways we are not familiar with. Such as the generational gap. Lines have been drawn between Gen X, Baby Boomers, Millennials and Gen Z. And the jokes are falling on deaf ears. Acknowledge this and don’t hold on to previous baggage from long-term employees. Every day is a new day with new possibilities for success!
These are ideas for actions. But step 1 is Acknowledgement and Step 2 is Communication. I have said it before, and I will continue to say it. There is no way to over-communicate!! Employees want to be heard and not judged. If you don’t know – ASK.
While I will continue to be TEAM CEO, I will continue to promote a healthy, happy and well-advised team is the one that get you across the finish line.