Corporate well-being in its essence is about protecting, improving and enhancing the employee experience. When creating infrastructures that support mental health at work, it is paramount to also create an environment that is accepting, compassionate and empathetic. Although providing access to counselling and workshops are steps in the right direction, organizations will definitely benefit by viewing well-being at work from a more holistic lens. This means recognizing that in-house counsellors are essential parts of the recruitment and hiring process.
Does this mean that counsellors should sit in for candidate interviews?
An employee’s journey begins when they first walk in (now virtually) for an initial interview. While HR sometimes spends countless hours poring over CV’s to find the right candidate, organizations with well-developed recruiting departments know how important it is to involve psychologists and/or in-house counsellors in the process. Before exploring why it is essential to employ the skills of a mental health professional during interviews, let’s take a second to review the strengths of having an in-house counsellor in the first place.
Counselling serves as not just a people management strategy, but also, helps attract talent and retain the best employees. While a stress-free organization is far from possible, a capable and motivated workforce must have access to a well-being support system. This will help them talk through a number of issues and work towards building coping strategies.
An in-house counsellor knows your policies inside-out and hence, plays a key part in employee well-being. Their diverse, yet holistic understanding of your organization is what makes them an ideal resource when it comes to interviewing and hiring candidates.
Psychology plays a vital role in HR recruiting
Finding the right employee is as important as setting individual KPI’s, measuring business effectiveness and meeting organizational goals. The right employee will contribute towards the success of a company, end up staying longer at their job and help facilitate a productive work-culture. But it’s not always easy to find the perfect candidate. At some companies, the interview process involves some level of psychometric testing. This helps the hiring managers and company leaders determine which personalities are best suited for their organizations.
Unfortunately, in the absence of either – a psychometric test or an in-house counsellor as part of the recruitment process, unconscious biases and snap judgments tend to seep in when calibrating a potential candidate. While hiring managers may seek out interviewees that make a positive first impression, relying on instincts doesn’t guarantee effective hiring decisions. Structured interviews include behavioral and situational questions to gauge how a candidate’s prior performance relates to the job in question. It also determines how they would respond to different tasks ‘on the job’. But that’s not all!
A multi-layered approach to recruitment
Psychometric tests are remarkably effective when evaluating applicants, but the human element to recruitment sometimes gets lost in translation. In-house counsellors can enrich the interview process by using positive psychology to reveal a candidate’s core strengths and learn more about a candidate’s resilience, sense of purpose and even, their work ethics. Since mental health counsellors are professionally trained to assess self-awareness and congruence, they can identify qualities ranging from decision-making ability, to flexibility, to communication skills and determination, when interacting with the candidates.
Setting up space for a conversation with a counsellor ‘during the recruitment process’ benefits both, the candidate as well as the organization – It highlights that the company adopts a people-first approach and helps assess for the right cultural fit.
Well-being strategies in action
For companies that already have in-house counsellors or Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) that cater to the emotional needs of their employees, the psychological impact of the pandemic might seem a little less daunting. Remote work, a blurred work-life balance and juggling domestic responsibilities is the ground reality for most employees across the globe today. Simply having access to a mental health professional can help alleviate workplace stress and mental exhaustion. It is up to organizations to expand their focus and incorporate well-being as a part of the corporate landscape - right from the point of recruitment, to enhancing the emotional well-being of their employees; irrespective of their physical location.
Developing a recruitment strategy that is rich in assessments, well-being initiatives and work samples is indeed the future of hiring. Employee morale, employee engagement and mental health at work go in tandem. It needs to be on the agenda of HR leaders and CEO’s not just as an organizational perk, but as a part of the overall employee experience.