Why is it important to encourage our employees to talk about their emotions?
For many people, going to the workplace involves adopting a work persona that hides our vulnerabilities and true feelings. This may mean choosing not to come out in the office or neurodiverse employees concealing their challenges with autism or dyslexia. Or it may mean simply crying in the bathroom while pretending to be happy sitting at the desk.
Open communication is vital in the workplace and is a great way to improve employee wellbeing.
Make sure staff know that you support open communication in the workplace, as this is key for a positive and healthy working environment.
A great way to encourage this is to offer opportunities to seek guidance from stress management professionals in a confidential and secure environment.
That way, if staff members don’t feel comfortable with discussing their problems and feelings with colleagues, they could disclose their issues to a third party in confidence.
What can you do as a supportive colleague to help?
Read on for some great talking tips to encourage employees to talk, courtesy of the ITV Get Britain Talking Campaign:
- Leave the other person space to speak – it’s okay to have silence, don’t try to move onto solutions too fast.
- Being consistently in touch even in small ways is a good way to form the basis for bigger conversations. It doesn’t always have to be heavy.
- Follow up if you feel like someone isn’t feeling good or is a bit off shows you have noticed.
- Summarise back what the other person has said to show that you are listening.
- Be present in the moment and give someone your full attention – close your laptop and make sure you’re not thinking about something else.
- Pay attention to nonverbal cues – Eye contact, body language, tone of voice, both yours and theirs. If you seem like you’re paying attention they will be more likely to feel heard.
- Try offering your own experiences to help someone help speak up – “when I feel down, I tend to…”
- Build a sense of connection with someone – sometimes it only takes one person to make that difference.
- Tone can get lost in written communication – instead, pick up the phone or better still chat in person.
- Be flexible – use different communication depending on what people like and what feels right. It’s the way you use media that matters.
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