Want Happier Employees? Empower HR Managers, says Harsh Songra
The WHO in a recent survey stated that India is one of the most depressed and anxious countries in the world. Our citizens are under constant mental pressure – both personally and professionally. One reason for it could be our upbringing. We grow up with a wanton need to please our family, friends, bosses, spouses – it never ends.
I recently spoke to Harsh Songra, Co-Founder of We, Included. and the My Child app. He says, ” When we enter academics as kids, we are taught to only focus on the report card. Sadly, when we enter the real world – we realise that the world doesn’t go according to the plans laid out during our school and college. We can’t cope. We feel stuck. And that’s one of the primary reason for mental health issues at the workplace.”
Leadership at the workplace also counts for a lot. Although CEOS/leadership/management would say that they are “connected” to their employees – at most times, it is practically impossible. How can a workforce of major MNCs with over thousands of employees be individually engaged with the top management? ” More than company offsites and motivational coaches once a month/year – companies today absolutely need to empower and train their HR managers. Make them more than just administrators – convert them into Wellbeing Managers.” Harsh adds.
HR departments in most companies are not enabled to deal with problems such as depression and anxiety.
So how can they be empowered? Harsh says, ” Train the HR in the art of listening without judgement. When an employee is experiencing workplace stress, he/she needs a safe space. The HR should provide that along with regular time for one-one discussion about their life. Not more than 10 employees should be assigned to one HR manager, that way they are closely connected. And if that’s not possible, then all the team leads/supervisors should be trained by the HR for being good listeners”.
At his company We, Included. Harsh makes it a point to set aside some time every day to converse with his interns and employees. ” We have a policy of unlimited vacations – only when your mind is healthy will you feel productive. It backfires on us sometimes, but we deal with it! Companies should not only make their employee’s careers, but also their lives.”
But the aspect to remember most is that – the mental health street, is a two-way street.
It’s a slow process that takes an immense amount of relationship building and sees results over a longer period of time. Investing in employee’s mental and physical health will create a more productive and loyal workforce.
” We not only work for money, but also for satisfaction. And our HR managers play a key role in productivity. If each supervisor trains his subordinate and so on we can establish a chain that will keep each employee happy. But more importantly – change them to actually love their jobs!” Harsh says.
Views expressed are author’s own.