When thinking about traditional approaches to talent acquisition, the mental health of your existing employees may not be top-of-mind, and how the state of their mental health impacts your hiring process. Successful talent acquisition strategies often consist of leveraging data and marketing, emphasizing the company’s social responsibilities, designing competitive and comprehensive benefits plans, among other incentives and outreach strategies. While all that does aid in attracting quality talent to a company, it’s important to keep current employees in mind for a multitude of reasons.

Benefits of Prioritizing Employee Mental Health

The research speaks for itself: employees who take care of their mental health and feel supported are more productive, engaged and committed to their work. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 12 billion working days are lost globally each year as a result of depression and anxiety. That translates to one trillion U.S. dollars lost per year due to decreased productivity by those with poor mental health. By bolstering the mental health of your employees, you’ll see a positive uptick in productivity.

Moreover, engagement and employee wellness go hand-in-hand too. Engaged employees are less likely to quit and increase profitability. They are more motivated, which not only leads to a higher performance, but also fosters more motivation in their coworkers. Even helping one employee’s mental health can cause a positive ripple effect over the company as a whole.

If you think your employee’s mental health is already great without making it a priority, you may want to think again. ComPsych, the largest provider of employee assistance programs, surveyed North American employees on stress in the workplace. According to that survey, 62% have high levels of stress accompanied by extreme fatigue and feelings of lack of control.

How Employee Mental Health Translates to Successful Talent Acquisition

Better mental health directly correlates to increased workplace productivity, which means your company isn’t losing out on opportunities for growth. A study conducted by the American Institute of Stress discovered that U.S. businesses are losing as much as $300 billion annually as a result of workplace stress. The more mentally healthy employees feel, the better off your company will be. This means less work for talent acquisition specialists to find and recruit value-add hires; people want to work for a successful company.

Furthermore, true talent has a wide array of job offers to accept. Candidates are assessing you as much as you’re analyzing them during your interview process. It’s important that they see your workplace as one they can thrive in professionally, and so it’s important to show that your existing workforce is truly satisfied in their job instead of over-stressed and over-worked. Low employee morale is not easy to hide. If it becomes known that your employees are struggling, there will be an adverse effect on talent acquisition.

It’s also helpful to think about why someone may be leaving their current or previous role to start a new position at your company. Perhaps they felt their last company didn’t prioritize their mental health and were unsatisfied in their workplace.

Companies with active mental wellness initiatives are incredibly attractive to potential new hires; in today’s age, offering a basic benefits package isn’t enough. Employees need to know that their mental health will be important to their new workplace.

How to Prioritize Employee Mental Health

The World Health Organization published a fact sheet detailing risks to mental health at work, ranging from excessive workloads, long and unsocial hours, poor physical working conditions, discrimination and exclusion, unclear job roles, and conflicting home and work demands. It’s clear what the problems are, but the solutions can be harder to find.

First and foremost, it’s important to examine the workplace and workload. Make sure there are no employees being overworked, that their office space is comfortable and welcoming, and that they feel clear about their position and expectations. It’s crucial to set your employees up for success; if not, they will not only be less efficient, but they may also struggle to feel fulfillment and positive self-esteem.

It is also imperative to take into account some more personal factors. Pay special attention to employees who may be at higher risk of experiencing discrimination or exclusion in the workplace. Does your company have a diversity and inclusion initiative that offers protection and support? If not, consider investing money into that. Often, some of the best talent will come from a diverse background; if they see there is active discrimination at your company, they will want to choose somewhere else to work.

Perhaps your employees are struggling to find a work/life balance. In any case, you may want to improve employee mental health by offering workplace counseling. This form of organizational counseling enlists a third-party counselor to conduct interviews and research in order to find solutions to align the company’s interests with its employees’ needs and goals.

For employees who are truly struggling, consider providing access to therapy. In many situations, your employee’s mental health is suffering due to personal issues that have little to do with the workplace. These are not employees you want to give up on, as mental health struggles can negatively affect even the best of talent. While some may look down on attending therapy, there is an abundance of evidence showing that therapy really can work. Helping your employees feel more mentally healthy fosters a positive, loyal, and motivated work environment.

William Powell

William Powell is a writer and educator with a passion for marketing. He enjoys learning about the latest business and recruiting trends and analyzing how global events impact domestic and international economies.