A new study from performance management solution 15Five found that employees—especially younger generations—need emotional support from their managers and employers. The majority (90%) of employees surveyed said that they perform better when their organization actively supports their emotional wellness.

The report, titled The Next Generation Workplace, surveyed 1,000 full-time US workers and 500 US managers to discover the importance of mental well-being in their working lives. Not only do employees value mental wellness, but managers do too, with 94% of managers citing the emotional wellness of their employees as just as important as their performance.

SEE: Transgender employees in tech: Why this “progressive” industry has more work to do to achieve true gender inclusivity (TechRepublic cover story)

“Employees are indeed human beings who are driven to grow, develop, and fulfill a greater

purpose,” Shane Metcalf, co-founder and chief culture officer of 15Five, said in a press release. “They have complex internal worlds and when managers and leaders address the
hidden aspects of their experience, like values, beliefs, mindsets, and emotional well-being, we
will see a major leap forward in how people achieve their potential at work, and the levels of
success that businesses achieve as a result.”

Poor emotional well-being often signifies burnout, which can be caused by multiple factors including workplace stress, low job satisfaction, a heavy workload, or lack of recognition. Job burnout has detrimental effects on both an employee’s physical and mental health, resulting in anxiety, fatigue, depression, and anger, according to a previous University of Phoenix study.

More than half of US employees (55%) experience burnout, indicating a need for better mental support in the workplace. With managers frequently being the ones to blame for toxic work environments, the responsibility falls on supervisors to create a healthy workspace, the report found.

What employees want

Employees desperately want a better work-life synergy, the report found. Nearly 80% of employees said they are sometimes or always thinking about work outside of the office, and less than 1% report being happy with their jobs.

A direct correlation exists between employees’ confidence in their managers and employees’ happiness, the report found. Some 20% of employees who are not at all confident in their managers plan to leave their jobs within six months.

Employees aren’t confident in their managers because they don’t feel supported. Only 41% of managers make a point to even discuss or ask about emotional wellness in one-on-one meetings, the report noted.

The majority (73%) of employees with at least one weekly check-in reported feeling extremely confident in their managers abilities, while 41% of employees without weekly check-ins reported the same.

“The onus is on leadership to encourage a culture of feedback and honest communication,” the report stated.

How managers can help

To retain employees and create a culture of emotional support, managers must prioritize having transparent conversations. Companies can promote this practice by providing training for both managers and employees on discussing emotional well-being, the report suggested.

Emotional well-being should also become a company-wide goal and HR initiative, according to the study’s findings. Managers can improve their efforts by consulting the following checklist, provided by the report:

  • Establish a regular cadence: Make sure to host one-on-one meetings with your employees that last at least 30 minutes.
  • Promote two-way communication: Encourage feedback from your employees. Without open communication, these meetings aren’t effective.
  • Prepare an agenda: Find talking points you want to hit during the meeting. This helps the conversation flow and eliminates awkwardness.
  • Do your homework: Gather priorities for the following week based on performance from the previous week.
  • Begin by touching base: Get an idea of how you are both feeling. This creates an emotionally safe atmosphere and encourages trust.
  • End with action items: Accumulate some key takeaways from the conversation, and revisit them at the next one-on-one.

For more, check out How to conduct effective one-on-one meetings on TechRepublic.

Also see

jacoblund, Getty Images/iStockphoto