Recognizing Mental Health in the Workplace
Although this time of year is suppose to prompt feelings of goodwill and cheer, for many it is one of the hardest times of year. However, recognizing mental health issues in the workplace,isn't just about identifying those that are under stress at the holiday season. It is a good time of year for us to reflect on our ability to identify potential mental health issues within our dealerships.
Mental Health issues can often appear as culpable misconduct, when in fact it is a medical condition requiring accommodation, treatment and understanding.
There are many challenges that the current workforce face in both their personal and professional lives, and for many, the stress that creates can overlap areas of life. The sandwich generation, the broke educated and those living with an unseen medical condition require the same accommodation and understanding as those with a physical ailment. So how do we accomplish that, when we can't see what the issue is?
Remember that by Human Rights standards, the "reasonable person ought to have known" clause still applies here. Although the stigma is lifting, many people are still unwilling to come forward with declaring these types of health issues, and they may face inappropriate discipline, or even termination because of it.
When you have an employee who is "acting out", missing work, developing difficult relationships- there may be an opportunity to pause before action. Although there may be no declaration of a health issue, as an employer it is your responsibility to dig a little deeper. Remember, that this also needs to be balanced with privacy concerns.
This does does not mean that you need to put up with bad behaviour or misconduct, but you do need to have the right context for how to move ahead to address the issues.
Mental health issues also do not absolve employees from responsibility either, and let's face it there are abusers of the system on both sides of the coin. Employees are required to participate in accommodation processes, provide appropriate documentation and also participate in treatment and recovery programs and plans. When an employee refuses to be part of the solution, discipline may end up being the right response.
Remember that by offering support and taking an inclusive position, there are benefits to everyone involved- including the dealership. Being supportive and getting to the true cause of issues can assist in retention, reduced absenteeism, brand and company loyalty, positive corporate citizenship, increased productivity and financial savings.
Failure to consider the aspects of mental health issues can be costly- both financially as well as damaging to your reputation as an employer or brand.
If you would like more information on the legal responsibilities of employers, resources on recognizing mental health in the workplace or information on how we can help, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .