As the world enters 2023, workplaces that are just emerging from the pandemic, great resignation, the geopolitical conflicts are now facing an impending global economic slowdown. The pandemic highlighted the significance of employee mental health and organisations started to make it a priority. As we enter the new year, here are five approaches that are crucial for employee mental health programs to succeed in 2023.

1. Reactive Approach is Not Enough.

Employees expect companies to support emotional wellbeing on an ongoing basis. Which means having a number to call when things are bad is no longer. What tools and support can you provide to your teams to thrive and identify signs of distress much earlier. This includes emotional health assessments and support tools both at individual and group level.

2. Everyone is a Stakeholder.

When it comes to mental health and emotional wellbeing, everyone is a stake holder, there is no us and them. Each person in the organisation needs to have the intent, skills, and tools to support themselves and their peers. Having a longer-term view of involving everyone as mental health champions is critical for organisations.

3. Mental Health is a Leadership Skill

If you manage people, it is critical that you have the skills to support emotional wellbeing of your teams. But no one has taught us these skills at college or at work. As a manager today, i am expected to somehow learn this on the go. However, a structured program of support for Managers to identify, connect and understand issues that the team is facing can be created via sensitization and training programs.

4. Engagement is Key

Many organisations offer EAP support with dismal utilization rates of 1-2%. Employees are either not aware not comfortable calling an anonymous number for emotional support. Its unsurprising because if you don’t have any idea on who is on the other side, have never interacted with them, unlikely you will think of this number when needed. Engaging employees around mental health and emotional wellbeing as an ongoing process is crucial to build acceptance and awareness.

5. One Size does not fit Everyone

Having an app subscription or yoga classes monthly might work for some, but not for everyone. And just tools without the human touch is not enough. A comprehensive approach based on emotional wellbeing assessment of the organisation and a tailored wellbeing forward approach is crucial if organisations really care about employee wellbeing.

Work, workplaces and workforces are at the cusp of transformation in many ways. Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing is going to be a significant contributor to employee engagement and building a culture of wellbeing. Organisations have already prioritised this over the last few years, it now time to focus on taking these initiatives to the next level, to build truly thriving and supporting workplaces.

First published on Times of India Blogs