By Masentle Mokit

There’s a popular saying that employees don't leave bad jobs but leave bad managers. This theory has been established by a recent Gallup poll of more than one million workers who concluded that to be the number one reason why people quit their jobs. What is it then about managers that create an environment full of toxicity? Studies have shown that having a bad boss can increase the employees' chances of having a heart attack by 60%.

This is without a doubt a huge threat to one’s mental well-being and that of the people around them. A toxic work environment for instance can trigger mental health problems in employees due to the strain or stress endured throughout each day. This may be evident in decreased productivity, increased sick-related absenteeism, poor work quality, wasted materials, and even compromised workplace safety. We may need to work together to prevent such incidents by prioritizing mental health strategies at work and see to it that everyone is treated fairly. At this point, you may be asking yourself what a toxic work environment looks like. It is filled with negative, antagonistic, and bullying behavior. The employees are mostly stressed and communication is very limited, the blame culture is rife. Often toxicity begins as early as the first day when an employee discovers that the job advertised was all a lie. In this case, our Human Capital consultant Shamim Nsubuga advises employees to wait for their earliest one-to-one meeting to discuss their role before making any firm decisions.

Of all the negative things a toxic work culture may produce, mental health problems take the number one spot. To be a step further in winning the battle against mental health illnesses we can start by addressing the elephant in the room which is the stigma.

➔   Let’s raise awareness to reduce the stigma and help shape a better and more healthy workplace. Contributions to support the development of compassionate and effective management relationships will provide opportunities for everyone to attend relevant training to support anyone living with mental health problems and ensure the well-being of all workers.

➔   Let’s develop a culture of increased understanding that can help employees be more empathetic and kind to each other. This can be achieved by ensuring that discrimination on the grounds of mental health status is as unacceptable as discrimination concerning other protected characteristics such as race, gender, or sexual orientation. This will in return prompt the staff to report any discrimination or harassment they face and to blow the horn on any discrimination they witness.

➔   Let’s value mental health and wellbeing as core assets of the company and offer adequate support to each other. Let's also help the affected individuals recover more quickly by providing regular counseling sessions with a therapist at a cost-free expense and encouraging employees to open up about any issues to best manage their mental health more confidently.

In conclusion…

All successful companies prioritize mental health and have strategic plans in place to achieve a positive work environment. One of their cornerstone strategies is HR auditing which helps businesses examine HR policies, practices, and procedures whilst identifying ways to improve. Connect with us today for more HR/Human Capital advice.