Author | Carrie Grogan, Principal, Mind Share Partners
Written by | Nina Tomaro, Marketing & Communications Lead, Mind Share Partners
Organizations are evolving their corporate learning strategies to meet the needs of a growing hybrid workforce. Employee preferences in how they learn have been shifting—roughly 75% of employees prefer to learn during their spare time at work, and half of employees want to learn at their own pace. That’s why, at Mind Share Partners, we decided to expand our workplace mental health training and advising offerings to include on-demand learning options.
Why is on-demand learning integral to your workplace mental health strategy?
Integrating workplace mental health training into organizational structure, systems, and policy is key to creating lasting culture change. “Culture” may feel ambiguous, but it boils down to reinforcing that everyone within an organization, and the workplace factors themselves, play a role in influencing and changing the broader culture around work and mental health. You can learn more about how we frame culture in our free toolkit, Ecosystem of a Mentally Healthy Workplace Framework.
On-demand training allows organizations to more easily and seamlessly integrate mental health into core business activities, such as employee onboarding, training and development, performance management, and more. On-demand training also allows organizations to train managers and leaders on how to respond and support employees through what’s happening at the moment, which is particularly important in a world plagued by uncertainty, crisis, and overwhelming change over the last few years.
Six best practices when rolling out on-demand training for workplace mental health.
1. Embed on-demand training into existing work flows and organizational structure.
As we mentioned above, one of the core actions to maximize the impact of your on-demand training is to incorporate the roll-out into existing norms and processes. This can include things like onboarding for newly hired or newly promoted managers, as a leadership development opportunity, or coupled with mental health-related awareness events and initiatives. Post-pandemic, organizations have been struggling with challenges in employee retention, hybrid, and transformation, among others. Think about how mental health plays a role in each of these challenges, and utilize on-demand learning to address these intersections.
2. Name mental health as a priority for your organization.
Think about ways to broadly name and normalize mental health as a priority for the organization. One way to do this is by connecting mental health with your organization’s values and aligning this commitment with strategic priorities such as employee engagement and/or diversity, equity, and inclusion. Align leaders across the organization on communicating the importance and actions that are being taken to support mental health at work.
3. Model participation in on-demand training, and continue to reinforce.
Have organizational leaders take workplace mental health on-demand training, and talk about something they’ve learned and how they will integrate it. Have managers encourage employees to share what they’ve learned by mentioning takeaways in a team meeting. Have employees share a story about how the course helped in a particular scenario. Keep the conversation going and take note of the most common takeaways, including ways to implement ideas in the ways your organization or team works.
4. Incentivize employee participation.
Address the question of WIIFM (what’s in it for me?). Consider blocking off time for learning. Emphasize the “bite-sized” format of the lessons, and that they can be taken at their own pace. Tie the completion of the course to additional opportunities (like a live follow up training or eligibility to participate in a mental health champions program). Consider offering rewards for high team or department participation. Finally, recognize those who have participated in the training, ideally in a social way that is shared with their peers and/or manager.
5. Diversify support for this initiative beyond HR.
Have communications around the on-demand training come from a variety of people that are not limited to HR. This can include messages from senior leaders that emphasize their personal connection to the topic—which can also decrease stigma and normalize discussing mental health at work. This can also include direct managers, who can support modeling participation, and integrating the learning into daily working norms for their teams.
6. Communicate what’s next.
Perhaps that’s sharing your overall mental health strategy with the organization and how training fits in, or including questions about mental health at work in an employee engagement survey. Consider rolling out follow up training, launching a mental health employee resource group, and/or sending mental health champions to Mind Share Partners’ certification program.
A sample communications to utilize in your on-demand rollout.
As we mentioned, it’s important to send communications—not limited to HR—to encourage and reinforce participation in your on-demand training for workplace mental health. To download our free sample communications template to support your rollout, and to learn more about Mind Share Partners’ two types of on-demand solutions, visit our on-demand learning and licensing page.