In early November, I spoke at the Reuters Workforce Health USA 2023 event in Chicago. This really cool event took a fast-paced, TED-like approach to various issues impacting employee health. Attendees had the opportunity to hear from HR leaders about what they’re doing around workforce wellness and learn a lot about a lot in a short period of time. Overall, the conference agenda looked at the relationship between people strategies and employee well-being and highlighted holistic solutions to nurture culture and maximize retention.
For my part, I participated in a panel discussion titled “Put Mental Health First – Creating a Workplace Where Employees Can Thrive.” Moderated by Mo Fathelbab, President, Forum Resources Network, my co-presenters included Michael Anzalone, Senior Director, Total Rewards, Ally; Maya Lunnemann, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Talent Strategy, Edward Jones; and Theresa Monti, Vice President, Total Rewards at The Kroger Co.
Despite a frequently quoted stat that found two-thirds of workers are experiencing burnout, the connection between mental health and work remains a timely and relevant topic – and one that still doesn’t get enough attention. This was evidenced by the informal poll Mo took at the start of the session, asking the room if they or someone they knew had been touched by mental health issues or depression. No surprise, nearly every hand went up. Knowing how prevalent the matter is, our panel sought to understand what employers can do to support their teams and create workplaces where employees can thrive. Here is some of what we explored:
I could go on and on about the other strategies we covered in this session, but ultimately, much of what we discussed was how organizations can destigmatize mental health issues. That starts by recognizing employees are human, both in and out of the workplace. As HR leaders, we must build spaces that allow for vulnerability and provide access to support and resources, from creating cultures of care to forging connections across the organization to embracing holistic well-being. It’s all about finding the approach that’s right for your organization – and right for your employees.