HUMANS ARE AWESOME
Written by: Hanadi El Sayyed
Happiness and wellness of employees are taking centre stage in many (many doesn’t mean all) corporate culture conversation today. Employers are starting to realise the deep intertwining between organisation culture, workplace environment and employees’ health and happiness, the huge positive impact on employee performance and productivity and ultimately improved overall organisation performance. Tons of research and data corroborate the relationship. Great organizations have hacked it and that’s why basically they are labeled great…
So we all agree (I hope) that happy and healthy employees are the backbone of an organization aspiring to become a workplace where people want to be rather than have to be.
As leaders are looking to improve the workplace, it is important to ensure that mental health is part of the conversation too. How employees FEEL directly impacts their performance and their contribution to the organization. Eventually and naturally, the impact is quickly transformed to financially – increased health insurance bills, absenteeism, attrition, and decreased productivity. According to World Health Organization (WHO), globally, more than 300 million people suffer from depression, the leading cause of disability, with many of these people also suffering from symptoms of anxiety. A recent WHO-led study estimates that depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year in lost productivity. On the other hand, workplaces that promote mental health and support people with mental disorders are more likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and benefit from associated economic gains. Available cost-benefit research on strategies to address mental health points towards net benefits. For example, another WHO-led research estimated that for every USD $1 put into scaled up treatment for common mental disorders, there is a return of USD $4 in improved health and productivity.
But the callout for organizations to own this aspect of employees’ well-being must be ethical and cannot only be bottom-line related. Organizations have a responsibility to support their employees as human beings who spend the majority of their waking moments at work, and it’s that same work or the working environment they are immersed in that can have a significant effect on their mental health and wellbeing. To pretend that employee problems must be left out of work and is not a topic to be deliberated by the organization or not a matter for the organization to be concerned with as being an employee’s ‘personal issue’ is an act of futility.
In the following series of posts I will be shedding light on work related risk factors for health, the importance of creating a healthy workplace, how to support employees with mental disorders at work, and how organizations can become more open about addressing this topic if they aspire to remain true to their vision of becoming a great workplace where people thrive and feel fulfilled.
Hanadi El Sayyed
Hanadi El Sayyed has 18 years of experience as a Leader in Human Resources. Her career includes key HR leadership roles and professional consulting with large regional organizations. Her experience ranges from partnering with business to drive business strategies to ensuring the realization of organizational people visions through the development and implementation of future driven, fit for purpose HR practices.