As mental health concerns become more prevalent in the workplace, most HR professionals are wondering if they have the skills they need to meet the growing needs of their employees.

When it comes to mental health, there’s already little room for error, and right now the stakes seem higher than ever. That’s why the Connect Delaware team invited Dr. Wes Bowman to speak to a small group of select human resources leaders. Dr. Bowman is a psychologist and director of the Delaware Family Center in Wilmington, and he shares these 5 tips to support your employees right now. Start using these tips to support your team, today. The practical tips are outlined below, or you can watch the full interview here.



1. Remind your employees that anxiety is normal

COVID-19 turned the workplace upside down. Major changes like working remote and lack of job security have left employees feeling more alone and anxious than ever. And for many employees, this could be the first time they’ve felt this way before.

It’s important that your employees recognize that feeling anxious in these uncertain times is perfectly normal and understand that things will get better, soon.


2. Interrupt catastrophic thoughts

When major life changes occur, it’s natural for your employees’ minds to jump to worst-case-scenarios. If you notice an employee catastrophizing a situation, do your best to interrupt those scary thoughts.

Giving your employees a safe place to talk about how they’re feeling and reminding them of what’s true will help them overcome their fears and worst-case-scenario thinking.


3. Utilize employee assistance programs

Providing a safe place for employees to cope is a great way to help them overcome anxiety. One excellent opportunity for your team is employee assistance programs.

Employee assistance programs offer employees opportunities to partake in free, confidential counseling to sort through their most pressing problems. After completing these programs, employees can decide whether or not to continue counseling on their own. For most employees, this is a great introduction to counseling and a fantastic way to sort through how they’re feeling.


4. Be a listening ear for your staff

Sometimes, the best way to make someone feel better is by being a listening ear. As a HR professional, you have the unique opportunity to be that for your team.

If your employee comes to you needing to talk, do your best to be a good listener. Give them your undivided attention, ask good questions, and make sure your employee feels understood.


5. Become comfortable with saying, “I don’t know”

When it comes to coping with a global pandemic, there’s no experts. Everyone is searching for certainty, but the reality is, a lot of things are still unclear.

When you’re asked questions like, “When are things going to get back to normal?” or, “Is this going to be over soon?” It’s perfectly acceptable to reply with, “I don’t know.” Your employees will appreciate your honesty and understand that you’re asking the same questions they are.


The last few months have been hard on everyone, but by practicing these 5 strategies, your employees will feel more supported and you’ll become a better HR professional than ever before.

If you’re looking for more HR tips and tricks, hire the team at Connect Delaware. We’ll work as an extension of your HR team to offer the tools and resources you need to care for your team in these uncertain times.