When you’re preparing to recruit and hire new employees, considering potential mental health concerns should be a priority.
Mental health awareness has become a major topic of interest in the average American workplace. More employers are working to foster an environment of mental wellness and to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health in a professional setting.
However, there can still be some concerns throughout the hiring process that need to be addressed. For example, it’s essential to make sure you don’t hold any personal bias when it comes to candidates with mental health conditions.
It’s also important to be honest with your candidates about the mental health benefits of a particular role. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the concerns that need to be brought up through the hiring process, and how it can create more transparency and a more positive environment for your potential recruits.
Being Open About Mental Health
While more workplaces are trying to drop the stigma surrounding mental health issues, it’s not uncommon for potential hires to be nervous about bringing it up. You might have a recruit that has made it through most of the hiring process, but waits until they’re nearly hired to bring up a mental health issue like anxiety, depression, or a more serious mental disorder.
First, consider why they might have waited. Did you bring up mental health at all throughout the interview process? Did you vocalize that your business is a safe space and you prioritize your employees’ well-being?
Fostering a culture of mental wellness in the workplace should begin with the hiring process. You can show your support by:
- Educating yourself on mental health and how to manage it in the workplace
- Showing empathy
- Not being judgmental
- Encouraging candidates to speak up
When a candidate understands the culture you’ve created surrounding mental health, they’ll be more likely to open up about any of their own issues.
Getting that on the table right away will help you both feel more comfortable, and it will allow you to take proactive steps to support and encourage them from the moment they start working. It’s important to tackle any concerns right away, and ensure new employees that their well-being is important to you.
Understanding the Role
We’re facing an interesting time in the American workplace. More employees are feeling the effects of burnout than ever before. Even remote employees are struggling with stress and often have a difficult time striking a healthy work-life balance.
It’s important to make sure potential hires understand what will be expected of them in a particular role. Offering a basic job description might be a good way to entice recruits, but throughout the hiring process, they should know both the mental health benefits and potential risks. Hiring someone for a role when they don’t have all the facts is risky for everyone. Some potential mental health drawbacks you’ll want to consider sharing include:
- Tight deadlines
- Long hours
- Changing schedules
- Demanding work
Ideally, your business will work to weaken some of those burdens by creating a healthy workplace environment. However, there’s no denying that some positions are more stressful than others, no matter how positive the environment is. Making sure a new recruit understands what they’ll be facing ahead of time can give them a better idea of whether they’re the right person for the job.
If a potential hire is concerned about their mental well-being and how the position might impact it, make them aware of some of the benefits, too. You might offer more flexibility, low pressure, and more time off as a way to help them manage things like stress and anxiety. It’s just as important for them to know what your business is willing to do to support them in the role before they decide whether to accept an offer.
Making the Right Recommendations
If you truly want to foster an environment that supports mental wellness from the start, make sure your new hires are given the right resources. Consider working with local therapists and counselors to provide trustworthy professional names to your employees that they can turn to if they’re feeling overwhelmed.
As a hiring manager, it’s also a good rule of thumb to familiarize yourself with insurance processes as they relate to mental health care. Knowing which therapists are in your company’s insurance network can make it easier for potential recruits and new hires to choose wisely if they need help with their mental well-being.
It’s also worth it to do your research on out-of-network therapists, especially if your insurance provider is limited. You might be able to work out payment options with them, and therapists who aren’t in a network might be able to offer more niche or individualized care. Ask your insurer whether you have out-of-network benefits, as well as your out-of-pocket maximum.
Doing something like that for your employees will show them that you care about their financial well-being as well as their mental health, and that you want to provide as many helpful resources as possible to promote mental and emotional stability.
If you want to foster a positive environment of mental wellness within your company, it starts with the hiring process. The most important thing you can do as a hiring manager is to work with other leaders in your company to educate yourselves on mental health and make positive changes as necessary.
When you’re able to advertise those changes and establish a greater understanding of mental wellness, you can use that as a recruitment tool. It won’t take long for word to get out about your company culture and how you prioritize the mental care of your employees. That will bring in more top-tier talent, and benefit your current employees as well.