Understanding your Employee

Written by Jonathan Kattenberg on January 8, 2021
Est. Reading: 4 minutes

Does this require a change in mindset and approach to mental health and wellbeing within the workplace? Yes, I believe so.

With the ever-increasing need for Mental Health practitioners providing mental health first aid in the workplace, workplace absentee rates are still increasing, stress related illnesses on the rise. Could this be stamped out if effective processes and training are in place to begin with? 

I believe it can be, and equally as important as employee wellbeing, ultimately the company/employer can prosper. Enjoying the experience of observing their team perform at greater levels.

Does this require a change in mindset and approach to mental health and wellbeing within the workplace? Yes, I believe so. 

It leads me to raise the question - Are we about to witness the end of coping strategies?

Mental Health and Wellbeing in the workplace has predominantly become a reactive requirement. Heavily dependent on providing coping strategies to the employee. Sometimes with a costly and time-consuming experience for all involved. Even more alarming, with individuals having to resort to medication and long term illness through poor mental wellbeing. Key employees leave, company profits drained to support workers who don’t want to work and much more.

I'm horrified to witness individuals on social media, expressing their inner most vulnerabilities on how they feel they can't cope no longer, or even talking about how they need XYZ technique or produce to get them through the day, week, month or year.

Yet , the audience praises them for revealing their state of mind or dependency on techniques or glasses of wine etc to get by, so ultimately, the individual feels this is normal to be this way with often a secondary gain attached. They become noticed, cherished and receive attention. Often resulting in their mind resorting to this way of behaviour to maintain an emotional reward and stimuli to compensate for how they are feeling.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not cold-hearted, but the principle of what I'm saying, I feel is a valid point.

In an article by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), After adjusting for age, sex, broad ethnic group and region, in England and Wales in 2016 to 2018: those who identified with no religion were significantly less likely to be satisfied with their health than those who identified as Christian, Hindu or Jewish.

I’m not advocating we must go out and join a religion, but it would offer evidence that an individual feeling part of a loving caring community, can feel a greater level of inner strength and harmony of health within oneself.

Is there a magic ingredient to employee engagement?

This I feel is a fundamental key element of any company structure when looking at employee engagement, absentee rates and performance. 

If the company and management team truly care about their teams, I feel the rewards can be felt across many aspects of the business. The question is, does the company and management team truly want this outcome? Or do they approach their team with the view they are just a number? 

Yes, it may sound blunt, but it’s a true fact for consideration.

So where do we start if we want to move away from poor employee engagement?

Well, each company/employer may be at a different stage, so the following may and can vary dependent on the situation, but I hope you get the general idea.

7 Simple Steps to Increased Employee Engagement

Step 1 look to gain employee feedback. In a way the employee truly knows there is no comeback on themselves, nor can the employer find out who feels what, where, when and why.

Step 2 Understand your HR position. If you don’t have an HR proposition, employ a consultant. For me, I have a company I bring on board for my clients. I know and have confidence in their ability, fairness, accuracy and attention to detail.

Step 3 Understand your employee. Ask yourself this simple question. Do you really know the reason why your employee’s come to work for you? Don’t be arrogant about this. 99% of companies and managers I see for the first time genuinely admit they haven’t a clue. Most employee engagement feedback processes that are applied, are merely lip service to the employee.

Step 4 Spend time understanding your employee needs wants and desire. What is their own personal journey? How can you as an employer embrace and add value to their own planning? This is where a mindset specialist in the workplace can come into the equation. Acting independently so the employee feels assured they are not under pressure. 

Step 5 understand your management team/s approach. You may be told one thing, but is it interpreted and experienced by the employee in the same way?

Step 6 If you are having to apply mental health first aid within your workplace practice, what caused it in the first place? Yes, you may need to do a little firefighting with ongoing issues or concerns over employee matters, but make the underlying cause the next priority. 

Step 7 Empower your employees with knowledge and the skills to understand their mind and journey. Embrace their reason for turning up for work. Show that you truly care about them. 

If you do these simple steps effectively, contracting or employing the right specialists to support you through this journey, Step 7 will allow you to embrace the rewards - An effective and productive team and business model from an employee performance and retention perspective, that isn’t fuelled by materialist rewards. Less absentee or illness within the workplace equals productivity and profits.

If you wish to know more, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Warmest wishes

Jonathan Kattenberg DipPFS, Cert CII(MP), PG Cert (Clin.Hyp.), GQHP, BSCH(Assoc.), CNHC Registered.

Reference Office of National Statistics


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