The clear business case for championing emotional wellbeing as an employer
As employers we manage risks on a day to day basis. Our employees' emotional wellbeing should not be one of them. The legal sector is full of driven, talented individuals that we must support to safeguard our profession for the future.
Employers can address emotional wellbeing through preventative measures, corrective measures or a combination of both.
Seismic change within an organisation can only occur when it comes from the top; you will need your senior partners and associates to be on board if you truly want change to happen. Small things can make a difference.
Undertaking training is one of the main ways we can improve our knowledge about mental health and wellbeing, learning about how to support ourselves and others. According to our 2020 wellbeing research, the provision of mental health training across the legal profession is low, but 62% of people felt that training for managers would have a positive impact on workplace culture. 54% felt the same about staff training.
Only 24% of respondents in our 2020 research felt that their supervisors or line managers would know how to support staff with their wellbeing, or signpost confidently to further support.
The most effective way to challenge the stigma of mental health is by talking about it openly. Promote positive wellbeing around your office, particularly in common areas like staff kitchens and intranet sites.
Encourage your managers and supervisors to talk
Partners, associates and key decision makers should make an effort to be more open about their feelings at work to help create an honest and open work place and encourage others to talk about their feelings. Talking about our feelings at work can be a challenge, but the key is to make it a normal part of your daily lives.
How often do your supervisors ask how your trainee, solicitor, paralegal or support staff are feeling? Our workload as professionals can be challenging at times and there is no shame in asking for assistance or admitting that you are struggling.
Supervisors should be encouraged to ask “How are you?” “What can I do to help?” on a regular basis and be trained to spot signs that staff members may need support. Effective line management is key to driving wellbeing in any successful organisation.
Create a positive culture
Consider whether you wish to issue a policy or vision statement for your firm on mental health and ensure that all existing policies consider the impact of mental health concerns.
Depending on your company structure, you may wish to ensure that mental health is covered in new staff inductions going forward to ensure that all staff have a level of mental health awareness and are informed of the support available.
Consult the experts for more information on how you can improve the wellbeing of your staff. Here are some excellent resources for firms wishing to improve the mental wellbeing of their staff:
We will keep our members updated on the progress of this project over the next few months. If you have used, or are aware of, other good resources, please let us know. Lawscot Wellbeing is about collaboration and we appreciate your contributions.