Ms. Seema Rekha is a gentle humanitarian by heart and a passionate leader. She has been zealously working for a decade with her partners from varied backgrounds such as government, health, lifestyle, pharmaceuticals, information technology, etc. in the arena of emotional wellbeing. She is a successful, female entrepreneur who has taken Antarmanh’s services to 13 countries in a span of 2 years. The globally operational organization is bootstrapped since 2013, and is credited with delivering mental health services in diverse socio-cultural communities.
Design wellness strategy to build a culture not to reduce a problem. Mental wellness solutions demand a change in mindset.
The new face of the workplace is bold, clear and much more transparent than the pre-Covid era. Work climate is changing for good. Covid-19 has brought forth a beautifully sensitive side of business – humanity; people for people. The ever-changing business world has come to a point where organisations are turning into ‘human capitalists’ to build a win-win workspace for both employers and employees. The biggest real time scenario where the leaders and the team had shared the same emotional space and demonstrated empathy, vulnerability, collaboration, and most importantly – mutual trust.
This desire for more people-centric policies came through loud and clear during the pandemic. Looking at the other perspective, one shall observe: Head HRs have to lead a team of people who have lost confidence, sense of security, their passion and someone very close to them. An organisation feels responsible not only for their employees but their families too. VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) is a new reality.
Also, it is often misunderstood that vulnerability chooses employee shoulders and skips the plates of leaders and managers, but with a recent incident where around 900 employees got virtually fired over a video call surfacing, this myth was busted. As per the Harvard Business Review (HBR), Covid-19 has caused “deep and long lasting” damage to the job market, it also said that managers are not only dealing with the stress and sadness of having to let go of a large number of their workers, many of them are also feeling underlying anxiety about their own positions. Job loss during the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic has been termed “catastrophic” by many business leaders.
Leaders to ensure mental well-being for resilient and sustainable workplace
Wellness is no longer a HR strategy. Now it’s an essential element for sustainability, hence acting as a pillar of strength and a concrete foundation for a business to grow. It’s not only about business protection, it’s now about business performance and excellence.
In the fast changing VUCA world, the new face of wellness has turned preventive. Organisations are now investing their efforts and energy from reactive to preventive by choosing transformational solutions instead of transactional.
An increasing demand to assist employees’ needs for realigning their mental strength is pacing up. Organisations need to invest efforts to make mental health services more accessible and intervene in the workplace in ways that improve well-being. The wellness strategies must be designed to provide real improvements in employee outcomes and consequently in company performance simultaneously.
The attention-seeking fact is, in the light of Covid-19, employee mental health (including substance use) has become a major concern.
Perceived possibilities about the pandemic’s end may not be the end of the struggle of organisations to create a sustainable workforce without keeping their mental health a priority. The hybrid workspace, disconnect within teams, ongoing family issues and much more. Prioritising mental wellbeing is about the culture of psychological safety which flows top to bottom. Leaders need to pay heed in establishing a positive work-climate by investing in efficient efforts in mapping, measuring, designing, and implementing end to end solutions throughout the employee life cycle.
These are real problems which can be resolved by opting for solutions mentioned below:
- Unleashing the positivity in VUCA : Change the work-climate
There is a need to have a positive mindset while designing mental wellbeing strategies. When it is being designed to build a positive work-climate and culture, the perception of leaders, teams and employees changes towards it. It’s the key to fight social stigma attached with itself. It is imperative that leaders stop seeing mental health as a burden. The world is always VUCA and will remain so.
- Voices for a sustainable future
Leaders have to voice their vulnerabilities and communicate the importance and accessibility of mental health support systems for building a sustainable future for organisations. Methodology needs to be reinvented to change the employee experience.
- The way forward: Introducing resiliency and wellness studio
In the last one decade the entire globe is trusting resiliency and wellness studio, an infrastructure to solve end to end and inclusive wellness-oriented solutions aligned with business outcomes.
The concept was being developed for specific employees who moderate cyber content in BPOs for large social media platforms. However this can be replicated for all the organisations across industries. The studio is being designed with a goal of 100% coverage and transformation, and is not merely transactional in nature. It is being led by mental health experts.
It helps organisations to map and measure with clarity. It aims to bucket employees according to their own capabilities and limitations. Customised support is being built for those who need it and in turn build a space for high potential employees.
It’s about inclusion without excluding top performers: helping leaders to know their teams very well and design structure to maximise the business performance.
Assisting employees with tailoring support builds a deep sense of belongingness with the organisation, which in turn, can help employers address employees’ persistent challenges in real time.
- Building a psychologically-safe workplace
Psychological safety at the workplace is a serious intervention that must be mandatory for all organisations. The success of this intervention is directly proportional to the positive work climate leading to mutual trust and culture of collaboration.
Organisations must bring a paradigm shift from cost and process centric approach to People centric ones. Organisations to act as ‘human capitalists’ and expand their views on system thinking as a whole system. They need to build a deeper understanding of business and talent, so that the right people sustain, build better work conditions and sustainably strive for excellence in business.
People managers, to adapt a combined approach with a laser focus on the needs for individual development and on the range of appropriate measures to assess success.
Helping teams to regain faith in themselves
In the last two years, teams had found their managers and leaders helpless and hence they lost faith and turned insecure about their career and existence. There is a prolonged feeling of uncertainty that makes leaders, teams, managers insecure about their existence in the system which in turn expels the ripple effect in the entire system.
The mental health solutions must not be restricted to cure the disorders. We just do not restrict mental health solutions with a perspective of its economic impact. The interventions and tools are to be used to prevent discord and to build a positive human culture. Building mental muscles: Mental health interventions must be used for developing talents, connections and culture.
Good is ether : it sublimates
The workspace is the most comprehensive and extensive microcosm of the entire hologram. Each strand of it needs to be complementing the basic unit i.e. the human. This would then become the bedrock for the success and efficacy of all of its unitary forms by ensuring safety, security and sustainability which are essentially the primary pillars of human needs. Furthermore a pulsating impact on the organisations as a whole not merely in forms of protection but also enhancement, enrichment and empowerment would be guaranteed.