Health Assured team

10 February 2022

Self-esteem isn’t categorised as a mental health illness itself. But it can have damning impacts on one’s psychological health.

When a person’s self-esteem becomes affected, it increases the chance of developing mental health problems over time.

When it comes to mental health in the workplace, employees may struggle with different aspects of their daily workload–damaging employee dynamics, performance, and morale.

Discover what self-esteem is, different causes for it, and how to support employees suffering from low levels of self-esteem.

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is the opinion we have of ourselves. It revolves around self-worth, belonging, and beliefs we hold about ourselves.

It can affect thoughts, emotions, and general wellbeing–sometimes, on a daily basis. And low self-esteem can lead to mental health conditions, which make normal activities difficult to manage.

Why is self-esteem important?

Self-esteem is an important factor for determining a person’s life choices. Their successes and downfalls can relate back to how they hold themselves.

You can positively navigate through life with healthy levels of self-worth. But on the flip side, lower levels can become detrimental, especially for reaching personal goals or potential.

What are different types of self-esteem?

There are several types of self-esteem, some more positive than others. These include:

  • Low self-esteem

This personifies a lack of self-worth and confidence. It can ruin relationships, grow fears of failure, and drive negative viewpoints on life. 

People with low self-esteem are more prone to blaming themselves; and negative worries can damage self-confidence. In some cases, it breeds unhealthy habits, like using intoxicants (alcohol and drug abuse) to cope. 

  • Healthy self-esteem

This type of self-belief presents positive motivation and attitude for achieving goals. This level of self-confidence allows people to maintain healthy relationships and habits.

On a regular basis, people are able to navigate through ups and downs with a positive outlook.

  • Inflated self-esteem

People with inflated self-esteem believe they’re better than others, and readily vocalise an attitude of superiority.

It’s an extremely unhealthy approach, especially when it comes to forming relations or mentoring people. A lack of consideration can lead to hostile and even aggressive responses.

What causes low self-esteem?

The causes for low self-esteem can range from environmental factors to childhood trauma.

As we move through life, our experiences can impact self-esteem in several ways. Serious illnesses, racism, bullying, and bereavement can all affect how we view ourselves.

The consequences for the causes can ultimately root themselves in our minds and outlook on life.

Duty of care for managing self-esteem

As an employer, you have a legal duty of care to safeguard your staff. Under the Equality Act (2010), you must protect their health, safety, and wellbeing during work.

Maybe an employee mentioned they're suffering, or you've spotted symptoms during work. Once the issue has been identified, you need to deal with it appropriately.

If they've been medically diagnosed with a mental health condition, you need to provide care and support. Failing this means you could face discrimination claims–resulting in costly penalties and business damages.

How to improve self-esteem in the workplace

When it comes to improving mental health, you’ll probably wonder where to start. But supporting them can prove easier than you'd think.

It may take time and effort, but changes can lead to permanent improvements. Here are tips to help you improve self-esteem in the workplace:

  • Challenge negative beliefs

Because low self-esteem stems from negative beliefs about oneself, it’s useful to identify them as they arise.

Ask the employee to write down their negative thoughts. For example, they might write, “I don’t think I’m good at my job”.

Then, ask them to challenge the belief by listing positive thoughts about themselves. A positive thought might be, “I beat seven people in the interview stages for this job”.

Through positive thoughts, employees can physically see their worth and value which they bring to the business.

  • Look after yourself 

Advise employees to take care of themselves regularly. This goes for both physical and mental states.

It’s so important to keep a healthy work-life balance. Outside of work hours, make sure they take time to do activities they enjoy and are good at.

Recognising their strengths is an easy way to boost positive self-esteem. Highlight the importance of being kinder to oneself–through words and actions.

  • Improve work relations

One huge benefit you gain from positive self-esteem, is improving workplace relations. You can increase employee morale and rapport, whilst decreasing absenteeism and underperformance.

Improving low self-esteem may seem difficult to do alone. But through a shared understanding, you can push its significance throughout the company.

  • Set small challenges

It might sound counterintuitive to create challenges for people with low self-esteem. But done in the right way, it’s helps with motivating employees.

Accomplishing small and achievable goals can empower people. And give them the confidence to take on further challenges in the future.

  • Celebrate successes

You can easily improve self-esteem through a supportive network and celebrating successes.

When people are recognised for their achievements, it reinforces positive beliefs about their capability and talent. Encourage your staff to celebrate each other’s strengths and efforts.

Get expert guidance on improving self-esteem from Health Assured 

Improving self-esteem in the workplace might seem confusing. And you might think it goes beyond your remit as an employer.

But if an employee raises this as a concern, you need to address it. Your responsibility lies in providing a healthy environment and safe working conditions.

Health Assured offers expert guidance on improving self-esteem in the workplace. Our counsellors offer support through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) services, helping to manage mental health issues.

Our 24/7 helpline offers vital support 365 days a year, allowing employees to chat with a professional counsellor in an instant.

Arrange a call back from our wellbeing experts today on 0808 143 6143.



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