In collaboration with the Faas Foundation, Mental Health America (MHA) last year released the 2019 Mind the Workplace report, which explores the relationships between supervisor communication styles, company culture of open and safe communication, and employee engagement and wellbeing.

The findings showed that supervisor communication and a company culture of safe and open communication are correlated with an employee’s motivation, confidence, and pride. Among all employee wellbeing measures, pride was the most correlated with supervisor communication and a company culture of safe and open communication. Consistent throughout the survey - whether employees were happy or not - was the importance of supervisors. The majority surveyed however indicated that they did not think their supervisors regularly checked in on their workplace needs, with only half reporting they received enough guidance to perform their jobs well.

The Work Health Survey was launched in 2018 and closed last year. It was available to the public through MHA’s website, as part of MHA’s Screening Program. The survey included 15 questions exploring topics of supervisor communication, company communication culture, and employee engagement and wellbeing. The Workplace Health Survey collected 9,802 responses in 10 months.

“We know that company culture and engagement can affect employees’ confidence and satisfaction with their jobs,” said Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of MHA. “Management should take note – when supervisors support and provide their employees with guidance, it creates a company culture where employees feel equipped and motivated to perform their job well.”

When that doesn’t exist, employees suffer. The report found that the majority of employees felt unmotivated at work, with almost two-thirds indicating that workplace issues negatively affect their sleep. Half of respondents engage in unhealthy behaviors to cope with workplace stress. Nearly half - 45 percent - look for a new job at least several times per week.

Also troubling was the impact of negative organizational culture, with 54 percent of people reporting that they were not comfortable reporting dishonest or unfair practices to human resources or management; 60 percent decided it was safer to reman silent than to voice their opinion on improvements; and 55 percent reported they were afraid to take the day off to tend to their mental health.

“We know that overstressed and unhealthy employees contribute to unhappy workplaces,” said Andrew Faas, founder of the Faas Foundation. “But it goes beyond just whether employees are satisfied with their job duties – when individuals remain silent rather than voice concerns, when they are scared that they will be punished for taking care of their overall health – that is a red flag that we need to do more to improve overall workplace culture and engagement.”

MHA and the Faas Foundation are committed to uncovering workplace disparities and addressing the psychological needs of the workforce. The organizations seek to explore factors in work environments that influence employee engagement, workplace stress, and mental health. The research results help inform programs that can be developed and guidance we can give companies to make all workplaces in North America successful and healthy.

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