For more than a year, companies around the world have focused on their employees' physical wellbeing. They've implemented distributed-workforce models, instituted safety protocols for employees still in the office, and offered resources and advice to keep employees and their loved ones safe.
But as the world moves further into year two of the COVID-19 pandemic, enterprises have increased their attention to employee mental health, because an employee's holistic wellbeing plays a key role in overall business success.
This was a major message of the second LinkedIn Live panel I hosted, which featured a discussion on strategies and tactics for supporting employee mental health. I was joined by CeCe Morken, CEO of Headspace, and two colleagues at Genpact: Piyush Mehta, chief human resources officer, and Gianni Giacomelli, chief innovation officer.
Here are three of the key points we discussed on how organizations can improve employee wellbeing and build a stronger business.
Growing C-suite focus on employee mental health
From her vantage point at Headspace, CeCe shared company research that shows the number of CEOs who have cited employee wellbeing in earnings calls has grown by a factor of five in the past year. "In fact, the best C-suite employees talk about their own mental health," she said, which encourages others on their teams to do the same. "It's part of communicating and part of humility, showing you have the same issues and that it's OK to feel that way."
CeCe also stressed how important it is to remain mindful in today's world, "being fully present and engaged in the moment, without distraction or judgment."
Behavior is key to defining culture
By focusing on Genpact's purpose – the relentless pursuit of a world that works better for people – the company has reinforced "the whole employee experience," said Piyush. He talked through how our company has underscored important behaviors such as empathy, compassion, and taking the time to really listen to others in the workplace. An AI chatbot named Amber enables the company to assess and react to employee sentiment in real time, nurturing a culture of relevance and resiliency.
Technology is more important than ever
In the area of workplace learning especially, Gianni pointed out that learning has more than doubled year-over-year. "Learning is one of the tools people have to help them feel resilient and strong," he said. Using networks of knowledge and communities, Gianni explained how Genpact's learning framework, called Genome, delivers learning at scale, providing specific skills that matter to an individual at a particular moment in time.
"We were so heartened at the results that we opened part of Genome to the public," he said. Everyone has access to the adapt and rise platform.
There is plenty to be done to ensure mental wellbeing is as much a priority as physical wellbeing is as we continue to adjust to a new normal. Companies play an important role in helping employees adapt, and you will notice a stronger sense of culture by focusing on ways to keep employees feeling fulfilled and engaged.
This episode builds on learnings from the first in the series, Testing your return to office plan, which focused on the importance of testing alongside vaccinations to safely and quickly reopen US businesses and the economy. Both events are part of our series, Adapt, rise, and thrive: how businesses will remain resilient.