Why Culture Matters
The latest report released by the think tank, The Conference Board, confirms what many of us have suspected: a toxic work environment wreaks havoc on employee mental health. The survey found that more than one in four workers (26%) say toxic work culture is having an impact on their mental health. Culture matters as more than one-third of U.S. workers say their mental health has declined, due in large part to issues such as long hours and “excessive workloads.” The survey found that nearly half of those who report decreased mental well-being work more than 50 hours per week.
And the problem is getting worse, not better. Additional findings include:
- Approximately 34% of workers admitted to experiencing lower mental health levels compared to just six months ago
- 37% reported a decrease in their level of engagement and sense of belonging when they are tasked with a heavier workload
- Millennials are experiencing the brunt of well-being decline. 43% report decreased engagement compared to 38% of Gen X and 34% of Baby Boomers
That’s the bad news. The good news is that employers can take steps to improve work culture and in turn employee well-being. Job seekers are looking for companies that value people over profit.
This “people-first” culture can be achieved by:
- Allowing employees to have a say in their work arrangements—whether its on-site, remotely, or a hybrid of the two
- Increasing employee recognition. Workhuman research found that those companies that had an active employee recognition program saw an “average increase of $1,737 in increased productivity per employee” compared to those companies without a substantial recognition program
- Not tolerating behaviors such as bullying or harassment
- Focusing on diversity and inclusion
- Ensuring communication is clear and open
- Allowing for guilt-free paid time-off days
- Assigning reasonable workloads
- Providing managers with the training they need to promote a healthy work/life balance
- Support for childcare
- Workshops to help management recognize signs of mental health concerns
- Training to help employees build resilience
It’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to improving your company’s work culture. The best way to find out which steps and programs would be the most effective is to ask your employees what they need and allow them to be open and honest with their responses.