How mental wellbeing translates to business success
The HR landscape is ever-evolving, and COVID-19 has been the catalyst of change, causing us to rethink and reshape the future of work. As a trained physician myself, I can attest that these have been extraordinary times and we went to all lengths to protect our colleagues from a very novel and unprecedented health threat.
While companies are responding to the evolving threat of the pandemic, we are also seeing new challenges unveil, bringing to the surface another real and imminent health threat – one that was a latent threat to our people long before the pandemic and could long outlive the end of the pandemic- mental health.
I believe the approach to achieving a healthier and happier workplace is a journey and one that is tailored to each organisation based on their needs. I would like to unpack my reflections on mental well-being as it is an important part of our overall efforts to have a healthier workforce. These have resonated with me these past years and I hope they are useful to you.
The importance of taking a holistic and proactive approach to mental wellbeing
We recognise that it is critical for us to support our colleagues if they have a mental wellbeing challenge; this is obvious, but from a prevention standpoint, we need to acknowledge the strong mind-body connect and take a holistic approach to address mental wellbeing.
Providing sustainable coaching and support that encompasses mental illness is the start, but we need to acknowledge the importance of applying the same to sleep, diet, exercise, health checks, nutrition, and work-life integration. We need to look at energy management in all dimensions, not just mental, but physical, emotional, and spiritual, which is essential for optimal wellbeing.
With that said, personalised needs and risk-based wellbeing plans work better than just stock programmes, because there cannot be one-size-fits-all when it comes to personal well-being.
The benefit of driving a consistent culture of mental wellbeing throughout your entire organisation
At P&G, this starts with our principles. We know our employees are our most important asset and we truly believe in this. Hence, investing in the wellbeing of our people is part of our culture. Change becomes effective when our leaders – from senior management to managers and supervisors – are championing the topic on mental well-being and driving conversations to create psychological safety for our employees.
By doing so, we are creating a safe space for our employees to talk about these issues openly and this helps address the stigma and misinformation. This also enables managers and colleagues to be aware of the early warning signs and to render the appropriate help at the earliest time possible, creating the first line of defence.
The philosophy that Healthy People equals Healthy Business
We need to be intentional when focusing on wellbeing, just as it is integral for any other part of building a team and running a business. As is with every organisation, I believe that all of us understand that people are the most important part of business, as they are for P&G. Hence, promoting the importance of well-being, alongside life and work management, and career goals, give our people a greater sense of purpose, happiness, and fulfilment that lead to better engagement and productivity.
“Going forward, organisations would not only be sought out for the work they offer, but the culture and environment which they create, that would enable individuals to truly flourish and thrive.” – Dr Anurag Apte, Senior Medical Director, HR, Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa, Procter & Gamble.
Going forward, organisations would not only be sought out for the work they offer, but the culture and environment which they create, that would enable individuals to truly flourish and thrive. This also enhances the talent attraction and retention strategy.
There is no better time than now to take the necessary first steps to address mental health and move the conversation forward. We need leaders to lead their people on this journey and steer them in the right direction with empathy.
I am excited to be taking part in the upcoming HR Tech Festival Asia 2022 that will be happening in May 2022. In my session, Best Practices for Supporting Employee Mental Health and Resilience to Propel Business Growth, I will be delving into the business imperative for strong mental wellbeing policies and practices in the workplace. I look forward to engaging with participants in learning to enable employees to have a meaningful, happy, healthy, and productive life that goes hand in hand with business success.
About the author: Dr. Anurag Apte is Senior Medical Director, HR, Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa at Procter & Gamble. Join him at HR Tech Festival Asia 2022 on Thursday, May 12, from 1.30pm-2pm (SGT), where he will present a session titled Best Practices for Supporting Employee Mental Health and Resilience to Propel Business Growth.