Orientation is a newly hired employee’s first impression of an organization’s mission, values, and culture. The employee is often presented with a tedious checklist of documents to sign and policies to review. However, orientation is an important opportunity to clearly communicate the organization’s values around mental health and well-being.
Here is a checklist to help you incorporate mental health as part of new hire orientation:
- Call attention to mental health and substance use care in your health care offerings. Make it a point to describe the mental health and substance use services available under your organization’s health care plans.
- Explain what mental health services your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers. An EAP provides a range of services to employees, including financial planning and legal assistance, so mention that mental health services are available, too.
- Include mental health resources in your employee handbook. Mental health resources could be general mental health information, online mental health screenings, or locating a local support group for a particular mental health concern.
- Consider adding mental health crisis resources to employee identification cards. Resources could include the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (988lifeline.org), Crisis Text Line (crisistextline.org), or EAP contact information.
- Pair a new employee with a “buddy.” Implementing a new hire “buddy system” is a cost-effective, widely applicable method to help new employees navigate informal social and workplace cultural norms without the pressure of always turning to a supervisor for answers.
- Ensure HR and people managers check in regularly with new employees. Staff should provide ongoing emotional support in addition to job training in the first couple of months of an employee’s start date.
Find a sample support case letter to leadership in MHA’s first-ever Workplace Mental Health Toolkit: Creating a Culture of Support and Well-being, a guide to help organizations develop the foundation for a mentally healthy workplace. The toolkit also prepares employers for MHA’s Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health 2023-23 application cycle that is now open.