If you fall և break your wrist, you do not think twice about seeking medical help. Ideally, you even get a co-op with a colorful cast for partners to sign.

But pervasive mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, often affect individuals, although they affect individuals to the same extent as physical trauma. The invisible nature of such suffering can torment people in silence, especially in a professional environment where shame and stigma are terrible barriers to healing.

Rebecca Wolford, Paylocity’s Organizational Development Officer, knows that mental health challenges have an equal impact on employees’ professional and personal lives. He believes that it is time for companies to realize the same and respond accordingly.

“We are not just using our physical bodies,” Wolford said. “We bring our mind.”

Raising employees at Paylocity has always been a core business principle, but exposing them for their mental well-being goes far beyond the general statements of intent. By being open to, accepting, and understanding depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders in its company culture, Paylocity is partnering with the National Mental Illness Association (NAMI) to become a StigmaFree Company, a process that involves making financial investments. և Satisfaction of certain qualifications in terms of policy: Training offered to staff to reduce stigma և Mental health support.

A male employee meditates at his desk.

Through resources such as surveys, tools, training seminars, and the Mental Health Committee, Paylocity aims to transform attitudes about mental health in the workplace.

Walford is particularly enthusiastic about the Mental Health Champions, a community group that plans awareness-raising activities in three different areas: self-acceptance, self-care, and support.

“Our mission with MCC is to create a psychologically safe, healthy workplace where employees can bring their whole being to work and support their mental well-being,” said Wolford. “We provide education and resources to enable employees to be responsible for their own mental health, to be compassionate, to be compassionate toward others.”

Self-awareness, compassion, and leadership are the focus of this group, as well as offering advice on mental, emotional, and physical well-being, from learning healthy coping skills to laughing yoga exercises and other stress management techniques.

Paylocity’s insurance links employees to network providers, while employee support software allows people to call and talk to consultants if needed. But identifying other available areas of support is another function of MHC, which wants staff to know that scholarships are often available to those who struggle, such as vacations.

“The most common job adjustments we see are related to mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder,” said Wolford.

Often in the MHC workplace, protection takes the form of educational events. According to Paylocity Corporate Citizenship Director Jamie Graso, staff were particularly excited about the work that Milwaukee psychologist Dr. Leah Knox, Knox Behavioral Health Solutions, has been doing since she was last brought to Paylocity. July, for engagement specifically aimed at addressing the mental health concerns of people of color և LGBTQ + staff.

The event was so successful, Grasson said, that Knox returned on a monthly or bi-monthly basis to other engagements, from Paylocity Emerging Leaders program motivational speeches to training sessions with the company’s HR team.

The rumors were unreal. “I had goose bumps.”

“More than 2,000 people watched his sessions to deal with him,” Grasson said. “At his first meeting, we had more than 900 employees in attendance. The conversation was heated. The rumors were unreal. I had goose bites. “It was so impressive to see that the staff trusted the area enough to share, help and engage with each other like I have never seen before.”

Equally explosive was the response of staff to the two-week Q&A sessions, during which senior management areas submitted questions and addressed comments, which were posted on the conference floor.

“After one of Dr. Knox’s presentations, people asked a lot of questions about our staff support program, the team did not hesitate to respond, they took on their responsibilities, how they will continue to support mental health. “Initiatives for employees,” Grasson said. “Even bi-weekly questions and answers create that psychological security for employees to come in and feel they can have a transparent conversation with the CEO, ask those questions, and then get real answers.”

Neither Wolford nor Grasson are surprised that employees are enthusiastic about Paylocity’s efforts to improve mental health resources.

The employee is lying down at work.

“By creating more resources, we are creating more awareness and accessibility for individuals who need those resources, be it for themselves, their families or their friends,” Grasson said.

To that end, Paylocity launched the “Calculate” campaign last year, which allowed employees to identify themselves by their pronouns, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, or disability. It was mandatory to make sure that disability was clearly defined as a visible or invisible disease, from hearing impairment to ADHD. as well as the protection of employee privacy.

“For us, it was completely voluntary, private. “We did not have access to individual responses,” Grasson said. “We look at overall responses in percentages, which is helpful in identifying and directing the work we are going to do, whether it is directly reflected in our benefits, offers, or some of the enrichment opportunities we provide.”

Both Wolford and Grasson agree that Paylocity’s mental health movement came at the right time. Especially since the Covid-19 epidemic broke out in 2020, the company has taken a holistic approach to its company-wide reforms, which is a daunting challenge given all the other ways the company has been rapidly evolving to address the global health crisis.

The perfect storm for those suffering from mental health problems, the epidemic forced many companies to lay off employees, leaving those who kept their jobs with significantly increased workloads, sharply demoralized workplaces, and two burdens with a disturbed sense of psychological security. . The dangers to their mental well-being, social distance և moving to distant jobs deprived employees of the points on which they had previously relied to balance their professional lives with social interaction.

As Covid-19 suppressed health systems, claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, isolation was met with anxiety, creating a punitive feedback loop of learned helplessness. Grief – “intimate, for those who have lost loved ones,” – general, for those who face an unprecedented level of mortality – social upheaval, remained in the air.

“With the epidemic, the whole ego of more people really came to the fore.”

When jobs were leaving, businesses doing business through video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, it was impossible to hide all these injuries to the collective mental health.

“With the epidemic, more and more people were really brought to the front,” Wolford said. “It was more of a merger.” The background of Graso’s screen, as if proving his point of view, exploded in a fog of turmoil at this moment, footsteps were heard through his microphone. “If you can see me,” he said with a laugh, “all my children have just returned home from school.”

In response to the work-life conflict that made the epidemic inevitable, Paylocity executives were instructed to be more involved in employees’ personal lives than ever before.

“Managers have had to develop more skills when it comes to communicating with employees about their mental well-being, being able to check more, and being more compassionate,” said Wolford.

But he believes that the increase in such interactions has been purely positive for employees.

The epidemic has forced us to connect employees with resources and ways to help make their working lives more manageable. ”

“The epidemic has forced us to connect employees with resources and ways to help make their working lives more manageable,” said Wolford. This type of distribution has been so widely accepted by the workforce to create a eureka moment for employers, he added. “I do not think it will disappear.”

Even if personal work resumes և the epidemic comes to an easily determined end, Paylocity’s staff, who have become more visible to their superiors both personally and professionally, want that extra perspective to remain a key factor. for them: be treated again at work.

“I want you to see me as a full-fledged person,” Wolford said, sharing what he had heard from staff.

Shame and stigma can make jobs toxic for people with mental health problems, but companies set the rules for engagement, և they have the power to adjust their conversations about mental well-being. Gone are the days in Paylocity when mental health care in the workplace was considered a box with limited access to information, confusion over available resources, and less open dialogue on the subject. Instead, the company wants to shed light on mental health, break the stigma, and find a new way to progress.

Companies are in a unique position not only to provide more resources, but also to create mental health forums. ”

“Celebrities’ TV shows talk more about mental health, but the only other place where people can talk about it in a group setting might be at school or in a company,” Wolford said. “People’s families and cultural backgrounds are different. I came from a family where no one went to therapy. Companies are in a unique position not only to provide more resources, but also to create mental health forums. ”

For the mentally ill, normalizing these conversations can mean the difference between a poisonous workplace and a “supportive workplace.” And for those who grew up without a mental health education, who may not have the words to describe their daily struggles, those same conversations can be eye-opening and even life-changing.

“We are not therapists. We do not want our managers to be therapists, but we owe it to our employees to create an environment where we do not adversely affect their mental health,” said Wolford. “We are creating an environment that has a positive impact on their mental health, enabling employees with resources, education and benefits to be able to take care of their mental health, both in the workplace and abroad.”