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6 Tips for Building Resilience Into Workplaces on National Employee Benefits Day

By: Benefits by Design | Tuesday April 6, 2021

National Employee Benefits Day is celebrated each year in April. The day recognizes trustees, administrators, benefits practitioners and professional advisors for their dedication to providing quality benefits and the important role they play in their colleagues’ well-being.

This year, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plan’s theme for National Employee Benefits Day focuses on resilience and mental health, and it’s easy to see why. 

This past year has been incredibly challenging and has tested Canadians’ mental health, relationships, financial stability, and so much more. With all of that going on, building resilience and an awareness of your own mental health (and that of your employees) is crucial, and will continue to be long after COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror.

COVID-19’s Impacts on Mental Health and Resilience

This past year has been incredibly challenging and has tested Canadians’ mental health, relationships, financial stability, and so much more. With all of that going on, building resilience and an awareness of your own mental health (and that of your employees) is crucial, and will continue to be long after COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror.

Canadians’ mental health is worsening during the pandemic and is only expected to continue, even after vaccines are distributed and restrictions rolled back. This decline in mental health in relation to the pandemic is largely driven by a few key factors:

It seems like so much as to be overwhelming, but employers are uniquely positioned to help Canadians rise to meet the challenges of the times.

1 Year Later: How COVID-19 Has Changed Canada, the Workplace, and Group Benefits

How to Build Resilience and a Mentally Healthy Workplace

By focusing on supporting employees’ mental health and reinforcing resilience in workers, employers can create better work for their teams, and for themselves. Here’s how:

#1. Normalize Mental Health and Break Down Stigma

The stigma around mental health remains one of the greatest barriers for seeking help. Though we’re seeing some progress in recent years, Canadians are still hesitant to speak up. One of the most effective ways to break down this stigma is to normalize mental health discussions and provide options for employees, such as:

What Can Employers do to Protect Employees’ Mental Health?

#2. Provide Support Through Your Employee Benefits Plan

An employee benefits plan is one of the most effective tools in an employer’s arsenal to keep employees happy, healthy, and well. An EAP is one such offering that provides access to confidential professional counselling services to assist employees through life’s challenges. Likewise, Extended Health Care (EHC) offerings frequently include paramedical coverage for practitioners, including psychologists.

If your employee benefits plan doesn’t have mental health support and resources built into it already, now is the time.

Making Plan Amendments to Your Employee Benefits Plan During a Crisis

#3. Communicate Effectively and Frequently

Few things will tank your efforts at building a resilient, mentally healthy workplace than poor communication will. Employees who are left wondering things like, “When will we go back to the office? Will we go back to the office?” will have those thoughts eating away at them and affecting their work.

Another consideration here is around the actual work you get up to in your day. Employees who aren’t sure what their deadlines are or where they should go for more information on that new product launch will be more stressed and anxious than they need to be.

#4. Provide Meaningful Work

Employees who are satisfied in their work will be less stressed, more engaged and productive, and better equipped to deal with challenging times through resilience. A big part of providing meaningful work is offering opportunities to advance and to learn more!

#5. Training and Learning for Employees

Providing effective training, resources, and learning opportunities for employees not only makes them better and more productive, it makes them more resilient. The more confident and equipped to deal with your workplaces day-to-day challenges and workloads, the less stress and anxiety they’ll have.

Why Every Workplace Needs to Encourage Professional Development

#6. Show, Don’t Tell

Resilience is a learned behaviour and the best way to teach workers the importance of resilience is by showing them. Here’s a few characteristics of resilient workforces to keep in mind:

Employees can take steps to build resilience and improve their mental health, too!

8 Ways to Look After Your Mental Health During a Pandemic