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Improving Employee Experience through Mental Health Initiatives

23.01.2022 19:11
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Looking back over the past two years, it seems clear that the coronavirus will persist in one form or another because its trajectory is unpredictable. As the world is still facing one of the most unprecedented disruptions in his history, companies have to make difficult decisions about whether their employees should work from home, wear masks in the office and get vaccinated and tested. In addition, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, most corporations have adapted their business models, accelerated their digital transformation and implemented new governmental measures and regulations that are sometimes specific and different from one country to another. 

Business leaders in small, mid-size and large corporations need now to embrace the “New Normal of Employee Experience” in order to minimize the effects of the “Great Resignation”, which started mid 2021 in USA and now also impacts Europe, China and India. Over the past months we have conducted empirical research and strategic dialogue with key opinion leaders to identify the top five manifestos that reflect the “New Normal of Employee Experience”. Providing better mental health for employees is the first one of those.  

The mental health in this context is defined as the individual’s capacity to feel, think, and act in ways to achieve a better quality of life while respecting the personal, social, and cultural boundaries. Today, statistics show that anxiety, feeling of loneliness, post-traumatic stress, substance use, frustration, cerebral fatigue and depression have worldwide significantly increased, to over 30% in 2021. This increase is one of the main effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the emergence of the Omicron variant is not a good prospect in this respect.  

Business leaders now have a responsibility to pay more attention to the mental health of their employees, because it affects their well-being, performance, corporate results and the global economy. The good news is that some corporations have already implemented valuable solutions for mental health and wellbeing of their employees. Best practices include, but are not limited to:

  • establishment of corporate fitness facilities or setup of partnership with fitness studio

  • promotion of corporate sport teams,

  • participation to marathons,

  • investment in corporate nursery,

  • sponsoring of state-of-the-art canteen with fresh and healthy food,

  • engagement in pro-bono projects,

  • offering of sabbatical models,

  • deployment of mentoring programs,

  • implementation of hybrid work concepts,

  • promotion of job rotations and

  • providing new sustainable mobility solutions. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every $1 invested in mental health yields a $4 return on investment. So, what else business leaders can do to improve the mental health of their employees?

  • leaders can promote the usage of well-proven online mental health solutions such as togetherall.com, reachout.com, 7cups.com and wellbeing apps such 7Mind, Moodfit, Happify,

  • invest in digital tools to train employees on good mental health practices,

  • create developmental programs for working mothers,

  • set up work environment and diverse career pathways for working fathers,

  • promote the importance of investing time in personal wellness,

  • encourage employees to have a sleeping discipline of at least eight hours per day,

  • offer employees the possibility to have deep-dive talks with mental health professionals,

  • engage and support their employees by developing focused action plans after periodical feedback campaigns about the covid-19 pandemic.  

To drive awareness and action on mental health, SAP for instance has created virtual teams of representatives across the entire organization with the aim to regularly engage employees and define together the company’ mental health initiatives. EY has launched a WeCare program to educate its employees about mental health and urge them to seek any necessary assistance and support others who might struggle with mental health issue. DHL Global Forwarding has set up the “Well-being DGF” initiative that includes online courses, information on COVID-19, guidance and reassurance on mental health, stress management and also special support given to people managers around great ways to demonstrate compassion, optimism and resilience to teams, peers and everyone else connected with the business.  

As a leader, your decisions and actions can create meaningful change to benefit the employees, improve their mental health, and increase their wellbeing. In fact, you can significantly reduce in your company absenteeism, accident rates, burnout rates, suicide risk, talent turnover and the lost productivity in your organization. What will you do? 

 

Guy Djopmo

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