The WHO notes that approximately 12 billion working days a year are lost to depression and anxiety, equating to rough $1 trillion in lost productivity. That’s a staggering statistic to digest on a personal level, let alone as a small business owner. As we as a society move forward to promote mental wellness, gone are the days of leaving your personal challenges at the door.
In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s take a look at some of the ways salon owners and operators are working to support employees, combat burnout and enhance productivity. In many cases, salon and spa owners are implementing mental health programs to support their employees by encouraging employees to talk about their issues, take care of their mental well-being and by offering services to support their wellness journeys.
Mental Health Support Programs
Industry leaders making a conscious effort to support employee mental health can look to the successes of other salon and spa teams. This can be a great way to get inspired, initiate conversations and take a more transparent approach to mental health support. Best practices for supporting team mental health include:
Start the conversation: There is a stigma around mental health that contributes to employees’ hesitance to open up about their stress or anxiety whether professionally induced or not. While there is still work to do, conversations both on and offline around mental health have become more commonplace post pandemic. In fact, one salon owner in Pennsylvania noticed that after the pandemic, his team was more vocal about their mental health and wellness. Offering employees a space where they are welcome to discuss their problems and encouraged to reach out for support not only helps with productivity, but it builds trust between employee and employer.
Provide access to professionals: When one salon owner’s team members came to her in distress, complaining of a 30-day wait for a counseling appointment, she took action. According to Salon Today, this prompted the salon owners to develop a care team. Also known as Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), these programs offer team members access to professional care at little to no cost. There are many local service providers that offer mental health support with many including phone applications to schedule appointments privately either off site or at the salon or spa.
Offer empathy: Even with mental health conversations becoming more commonplace, mental health struggles are personal matters. Salon and spa owners should ensure that the support they offer their employees is sensitive to their needs and always confidential. Some options might be available anonymously. Having a conversation with employees about what they need and want when it comes to mental health support can help better tailor an EAP.
While May is dedicated to mental health awareness, employees require support all year round. Salon and spa owners should consider how they can improve their employees’ wellbeing on a consistent basis. Start by sitting down with your team to discover what they need in terms of support and how they might benefit from an EAP.
Kathy Lopez, Account Manager for SASSI, the Salon and Spa Specialty Insurance program at Brownyard Group. She can be reached at email@example.com.