July 24, 2024

Tackling mental health issues in the tech industry.

The Covid-19 induced self-quarantine and the shift towards remote work have introduced novel challenges for leaders and their workforce. The absence of face-to-face interaction has raised several queries.

In what way can we address mental health in the workplace?

Managers should be aware of which indicators to watch for, and when would it be appropriate to address mental health matters with their staff?

Can we monitor the impact of intangible data on team members, whether it is positive or negative?

In what ways can managers modify their leadership approaches to promote constructive changes?

What are some ways we can maintain our connection and engagement?

Answering these questions, among many others similar to them, can pose a challenge but not an insurmountable one. Empathy represents a universal instrument that all tech leaders possess the capacity of utilizing to their advantage. In an article for Forbes recently composed by Dr.Tracy Brower, it is stated: “During difficult times such as burnout or when finding satisfaction at work proves problematical empathy functions as a formidable remedy and leads towards favorable outcomes both in terms of individual experiences and team dynamics.”

Employee retention and mental health

Tracy shares findings from a Catalyst study, which reveal the significant impact of empathy on employees’ well-being across several areas. According to the research, when leaders demonstrate empathetic behavior towards their team members’ current circumstances, it fosters innovation and engagement while enhancing inclusion. Additionally, employee retention rates increase as they are less likely to seek alternative job opportunities since an empathic workplace promotes a better work-life balance. Interestingly enough, this effect is universal among both male and female respondents with diverse cultural backgrounds enriching its effectiveness overall.

As research delves into the correlation between mental health and careers, individuals in the workforce as well as employers are becoming more aware of how their work environment can affect their emotional state. Due to a present deficit in software development professionals, workers seem increasingly inclined towards exploring other job prospects if they’re dissatisfied with their current position. Tracy explains that there’s been an elevated emphasis placed upon viewing psychological wellbeing from a strategic standpoint: “Companies or organizations have come to understand that employees take note of an entity’s outlook on overall wellness and positive psychology when choosing where they’ll be employed.”

There are various ways to address the aforementioned inquiries regarding how mental health, productivity, and employee satisfaction intersect. However, one critical element that employers should consider is culture. Although the definition of culture varies per organization, Site Reliability Engineer Ryn Caniels affirms in her Increment article that “culture” often pertains to an entity’s joint values which may only be theoretical; actual cultural practices determine what it really means for a company.

Tracy proposes a straightforward yet impactful approach for fostering genuine organizational culture. Instead of relying solely on social events and bonding activities like virtual happy hours or axe throwing, Tracy suggests connecting team members through shared tasks and projects with aligned goals. Collaborating towards something that both parties are passionate about allows them to grasp their respective roles better while realizing the importance of working together as a cohesive unit rather than being fragmented individuals.

According to Shelley Benhoff, who is a Sitecore MVP and Founder of Hoffstech, LLC, when all team members learn from each other while respecting their work and opinions it greatly enhances confidence. This also promotes collaboration and comradery within the team.

The promotion of mental health is a continuous effort.

Ensuring that your workforce maintains a positive attitude toward their own contributions and how they impact business objectives can lead to numerous advantages. Research supports the claim that satisfied employees are more productive and tend to stay with an organization for longer periods of time. Furthermore, training existing staff members is significantly less expensive than recruiting and educating new hires for comparable roles. At a fundamental level, we have an obligation as fellow human beings to look after one another’s wellbeing in the workplace by fostering happiness and healthiness among colleagues.

Promoting sound mental well-being among employees yields advantages for all parties involved in your establishment, however, it is a continuous endeavor devoid of any checklists or quick fixes. Establishing optimal psychological health involves daily struggle and effort as building an environment that fosters connection, comfortability and engagement necessitates work. The questions we have posed may be arduous to tackle but not insurmountable; acquiring empathy can pose challenges yet learning it remains possible through earnest dedication.

We encourage you to sign up for an on-demand webinar, taking place on November 24th. Our panel of expert tech leaders – Shelley Benhoff, Dr. Tarique Sani, and Sachin Shah – will be discussing the significance of mental health in work environments by covering various topics such as:

Leveraging data to address untraceable dimensions of mental wellness.

Establishing a secure environment for conversations concerning mental health topics.

Addressing the notions of perfectionism and burnout.

Being aware of your own self versus knowing the mental state of your team.

If you are unable to attend the webinar on the 24th, don’t worry. Register for the event and we will send you a recording via email afterwards.

It is imperative to prioritize mental health and cultivate a positive environment for committed technologists in order to ensure your organization’s continued prosperity, team sustainability, and employee growth prospects. Come celebrate tech-oriented mental well-being with us this November onward. In our current reality of work, establishing an active workplace can be challenging but not insurmountable; as recent years have taught the tech community tough tasks are conquerable.

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