Platform: ETHR World
We are just seeing the tail end of one pandemic. There’s another more invisible epidemic that is hardly spoken about, but deserves all our attention and care. And that’s mental health.
The last three years have seen a dramatic rise in mental health concerns. With good reason. Anxiety and stress levels peaked by a massive 25% globally during this time. The World Health Organization notes that depression and anxiety cost the global economy $1 trillion yearly. Although the Great Resignation is behind us, it’s apparent that employers will have to place greater emphasis on employee wellbeing now than they ever had before.
For HR leaders, who are already facing challenges from a slowing economy, and the ripple effects of mass layoffs, 2023 may be the year they have to focus more on employee wellbeing.
I expect these broad HR trends in workplace wellbeing space this year:
Emphasis on ‘safe’ spaces
Organizations have learned much over these last few years working in remote and hybrid environments.
They have learned that creating psychologically safe workplaces is crucial for all employees, even more so for those from minority groups.
Transparent communication becomes essential for creating a safe space. In addition, organizations know that a culture of emotional safety can’t be created overnight – but giving employees the freedom and comfort to express their emotions safely will be a part of this cultural change.
Focus on holistic wellbeing
It’s no longer enough to merely offer counselling sessions for employee wellbeing. While Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs), mental health apps and wellness platforms are useful and needed, the overall emphasis will be on creating happier, more balanced workspaces.
This includes prioritizing work-life balance and training managers on supporting those in their team who may have mental health concerns. Organizations must keep the doors open for difficult conversations and ensure an open and supportive environment. Creating a culture where mental health conversations are stigma-free starts from the top.
Normalizing conversations on mental wellbeing will be a part of the organizational priorities. It’s also important to take the ecosystem view for employee mental wellbeing. HR will need to have a holistic view than focus on those with mental health issues. An ecosystem view will aim to engage with each employee, assumes that everyone is a stakeholder in employee mental wellbeing, and put together things to make the work environment safe and resilient.