Handshakes, concerts, and travel all came back, but it’s become clear that the old way of work is gone for good. It started with furloughs and mass layoffs, ever-changing protocols for deskless workers, and remote/hybrid setups for office workers. Next came the Great Resignation and quiet quitting. This moment of workforce reckoning, despite a struggling economy, has driven workers from all industries to demand a new employee contract.
Employers have long been held accountable for ensuring the health and safety of workers, but recent in-depth reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Surgeon General make it clear that psychological health and safety is the new organizational imperative.
CHROs and HR leaders are tracking the data closely. More than 80 percent of workers reported that they’ll be looking for workplaces that support mental health in the future. Pair this with the backdrop of 2021, which saw a record average of four million workers quitting their jobs each month, and you can see why companies globally are moving swiftly to meet the mental health needs of their employees through individual support and organizational change.
Top 3 takeaways from the WHO and U.S. Surgeon General reports
So now what?
Evaluating the current state of the workplace is the first step in creating meaningful organizational change. This goes far beyond an engagement survey and into a specialized assessment that identifies the primary psychological health and safety risk factors. The second step is developing an actionable plan to meaningfully address these concerns and then continuing to regularly evaluate progress.
We recommend employers implement the following:
The CHRO’s new mandate is to prevent, protect, and support workforce mental health
The reports from the WHO and U.S. Surgeon General are currently guidelines and best practices, but it’s not hard to imagine a world where they become mandates and law. Holistically supporting workforce mental health isn’t just the right thing to do and good for the company, it is the future of work.
We’ve seen millennials, and Gen Z in turn, demand more from their employers—with purpose and well-being chief among their demands. In order to attract and retain top talent and foster an environment where they can be at their most creative and productive, employee mental health and well-being needs to be at the core of every decision.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Joe Grasso, PhD, is the Senior Director of Workforce Transformation at Lyra Health and a clinical psychologist by training. He is responsible for advancing the development of Lyra’s suite of psychological wellness and behavior change products which are designed to meet the specific needs of teams and organizations. Dr. Grasso also consults with employers on programs, policies, and communication strategy to support mental health in the workplace, and is the author of numerous peer reviewed papers on topics of presenteeism, integrated health care, psychotherapy outcomes, and the intersection of social identities and mental health. Prior to joining Lyra, Dr. Grasso managed the implementation of a national training program for more than 1,500 mental health providers at the US Department of Veterans Affairs, where he also led quality improvement initiatives and conducted health services research.
Alethea Varra, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and vice president of clinical care for Lyra Health. She serves as the senior clinical leader for therapy programs and is responsible for driving overall clinical strategy and oversight of clinical quality and training. Alethea received a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and doctorate degree in clinical psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno. She completed her internship training at VA Puget Sound Healthcare System and a research fellowship at the Mental Illness Research and Education Center (MIRECC) in Seattle. She has over 15 years of experience in mental health and clinical operations. Her focus is on health care innovation and program development, and she is passionate about improving access to evidenced-based mental health care, especially for underserved populations.