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Employee Wellness

No Health Without Mental Health: 5 Key Takeaways the IBPAP CEO Forum

Every month, members of the IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) take turns hosting a CEO Forum to tackle issues relevant to the sector.

For this October — which also happens to be World Mental Health Month — Transcom Worldwide Philippines took centerstage and invited their mental health and well-being partner MindNation to join them in a discussion about “Brains and Body: Mental Health and Overall Wellness in Challenging Times.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that companies need to accelerate the conversation about mental health in the workplace,” says Mark Lyndsell, Transcom CEO for the Global English Region, in his opening remarks. “Many employees are struggling with feelings of isolation, despair, loneliness, and loss or lack of control.” 

MindNation co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Kana Takahashi agrees. “Mental health concerns are becoming more alarming because of the pandemic and it’s something that companies should really look into.”

Here are other key insights that were shared by Mark and Kana at the CEO Forum: 

  1. Mental health concerns in the workplace have financial repercussions. “Research by the World Health Organization and MindNation showed that 40% of employees are struggling with mental health issues during the pandemic,” reports Kana. “These mental health struggles have led to an increase in absenteeism, presenteeism, and staff turnover. All these productivity losses can cost companies as much as USD 400 billion dollars a year in revenue.”
  1. For change to happen, well-being needs to be holistically addressed. While some companies or mental health support groups offer teletherapy sessions or virtual training as a form of mental health support, Kana says that just relying on these will not yield meaningful results for the organization. “If you want the best for your company and employees, you need to offer more,” she points out. “Focus on your employees’ journey, on the company’s culture, and on the person’s overall well-being.”

This can be achieved by going back to the basics. “Create a mental health policy in the workplace that provides mental health leaves, flexible working hours, clauses for diverse groups, benefits, and other important protocols,” Kana enumerates. “Next is to make sure that basic support is there, such as virtual learning sessions and sessions with mental health professionals. Provide Critical Incident Support for emergencies. And finally, create a program for team members that encompasses the intersectionality of a person’s well-being — which means covering their physical, emotional, social, and cultural wellness, as well as financial well-being.”

  1. Change also needs to come from the top. “As leaders, we set the tone for the culture of the organization,” Mark explains. “In 2017, I embarked on a transformation within my organization to openly promote and hire folks from outside who actually met a specific EQ (emotional quotient) bar. And as a result, over time,  we were able to build a far more mature and empathetic leadership group that continues to provide dividends to the bottomline.”

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“If companies want to successfully address mental health at work, they need to make sure that their managers and leaders are equipped with the proper skills and training to handle employees with mental health struggles, such as empathic listening, handling difficult conversations, and even mental health first aid,” Kana shares. “Employees need to feel that the company and the people they work with are safe spaces.” 

  1. A company that invests in its team’s wellbeing reaps benefits. “Addressing mental health in the workplace has positive business ramifications, especially when it comes to attraction and retention of talent,” Mark stresses. “Our numbers speak for themselves; our Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) has continued to progress consistently through  the pandemic.”

The eNPS is a company’s way of measuring how employees are likely to promote the company to other people because of their positive experience. “An eNPS of 20 to 50 is considered healthy. Anything above 50 is very good to outstanding,” explains Transcom Asia Director of Employee Engagement And Communication Aldrin Carlos. “Transcom Philippines’ average eNPS in 2021 is 57.9; our score this third quarter was 62.1 versus the global score of 54.”

“As leaders we are wired to get results and to always look at the numbers, and there’s nothing wrong with that,” Kana says. “But our people are the ones driving those results and numbers; if they are stressed and unhappy, it will take a toll on our business. When you invest in your employees, you also invest in the future of your company.”

  1. There is no health without mental health. “When I first came to the Philippines 14 years ago, the conversation at work was all about physical health — how do we make sure our  people have a healthy diet, how can we get them to stop smoking, etc?” Mark relates. “But given what we are facing now, I believe that mental health is just as important, if not more important, than physical health. In the same way that many of us exercise our physical self three to four times a week to avoid serious illness, exercise or support for our mental self also needs to become the norm.” 

“As employers, we need to transcend the traditional approach of treating mental health concerns to something more innovative and proactive,” Kana says. “The more you understand your people through empathetic leadership and policies, the more you will be able to provide the right kind of support.”

MindNation uses a data-based approach to create proactive, customized, holistic health programs for your employees. Partner with us to build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Visit http://www.themindnation.com now!

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Employee Wellness

Managing A Multigenerational Workforce: Tips To Keep Gen X, Millennial, And Gen Z Employees Thriving And Engaged

In a previous post, we wrote about the different myths and stereotypes that each generation has about the other, and which contributes to employee disengagement and unhappiness. Once empathy and understanding are established among team members, focus must now shift to how senior leaders can address each generation’s well-being needs so that everyone becomes happier, healthier, and more productive.

According to a report by management consulting company McKinsey, companies that mix the different strengths and perspectives of younger and older workers benefit from better decision making, problem solving, and innovation. The report made special mention of the importance of age diversity and inclusion during the COVID-19 pandemic, stating specifically that “companies whose leaders welcome diverse talents and include multiple perspectives are likely to emerge from the crisis stronger.”

So what does each generation want from their leaders? Grace De Castro, founder and Chief Empowerment Officer of V+A Consulting, a boutique consulting firm with expertise in customized people programs and creative business solutions, shares her thoughts:

What Gen Xers want

  1. Minimal supervision from leaders. “Gen Xers prefer to work independently because it was also how they grew up,” Grace explains. “This is because they were raised with both parents working, they became accustomed to fending for themselves.”
  2. Peer-oriented collaboration. Precisely because their parents were busy and there were no Internet or smartphones to occupy their time, Gen Xers spent a lot of time interacting face-to-face with friends, so they grew up learning how to make genuine connections.
  3. Very clear opportunities to shine — “Because this is the generation that lacked attention from their parents, they are always looking to prove themselves,” Grace reminds. “So if they are not yet leaders, give them tasks that will allow them to show off their leadership skills; and if they are already leaders, invest in their continuous education like subsidizing online courses or assigning them an experienced mentor.” 
  1. Benefits related to physical and mental health. “Gen Xers have poor physical health,” Grace points out. “Among the different generations, they have the highest levels of alcohol and smoking abuse, as well as high levels of depression and anxiety. But they don’t talk about it and are less inclined to speak up when asked because they come from a generation that taught them to just follow and obey.”

    Grace believes that health benefits will also be warmly received because Gen Xers are already at that age when they know they are no longer young, that they are now closer to retirement compared to their Millennial and Gen Z team members. 

If you need guidance on how to implement a holistic well-being program at work, partner with a mental health and well-being company that can offer data-based and customized solutions to address the specific needs of team members. 

  1. Work-life balance. Similarly, because Gen Xers will not complain, it must be up to the company to create an environment that allows them to not feel guilty when they take breaks. 

What Millennials and Gen Zers want

  1. Employers who prioritize their well-being. Because Millennials and Gen Zers are work martyrs, they feel guilty for taking breaks. So as a leader, constantly remind your team members to slow down or rest between tasks. In addition, avoid assigning tasks outside work hours. “Let them know it’s okay to say ‘no’ when work becomes unmanageable,” Grace says.
  2. Constant reminders to unplug. Similar to the above, encourage these tech-savvy employees to disconnect from social media once in a while. Research has shown that too much consumption of social media increases feelings of inadequacy, FOMO (fear of missing out) and isolation. “These add to a person’s stress and anxiety,” Grace explains.
  3. Giving feedback. Millennials, in particular, crave continuous feedback. They demand and expect a responsive managerial style and ongoing relationships with their supervisors. “Feedback is not shouting at them if they make a mistake,” Grace cautions. “Rather, it is taking the time to walk them through what they did well and what they could improve on.” 

Just because someone was born in a certain time does not mean everything about that generation applies

Grace de Castro

For everyone

  1. Beware dubious generalizations about others. “Just because someone was born in a certain time does not mean everything about that generation applies,” Grace says.
  2.  Spend time getting to know your team members. “Each person has their own story to tell,” she adds.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put so much pressure on workplace leaders to maintain profitability that sometimes, looking out for the welfare of employees takes a backseat. “But unless your company is  fully automated, caring for the well-being of the people who work for you is the best investment you will ever make,” Grace says. “We need to be mindful that regardless of what generation they belong to, everyone is feeling overworked, feeling guilty for taking breaks, and struggling to separate work life from home life. So as a leader, it is important to make sure that everyone enjoys the work, feels valued, and feels like part of the team.Getting to know your people is what pays dividends and will pay back a hundredfold when you do it well.”

MindNation is a mental health and well-being company that focuses on holistic well-being to create customized programs for team members. Partner with us to build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Visit www.themindnation.com to learn more!

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Employee Wellness

Generation Gap: Debunking 5 Myths About Gen X, Millennial, and Gen Z Employees

Today’s workforce is generationally diverse: according to an article by think tank Pew Research Center, there are currently four very different generations working side by side in the workplace:

Baby Boomers (those born 1946-1964), who occupy critical leadership roles in the organizations;

  • Gen Xers (born 1965-1980), who may also occupy leadership positions;
  • Millennials (born 1981- 1996), who are next in line for leadership positions;
  • Generation Z (those born 1997-2012), who are just now making their way in the workforce

Bridging the generation gap at work can be challenging because each generation brings with it unique work values, ethics, and preferred ways of managing and being managed. “Generations are defined by socio-economic and political events that occurred during the formative years,” explains Grace De Castro, founder and Chief Empowerment Officer of V+A Consulting, a boutique consulting firm with expertise in customized people programs and creative business solutions. “These events helped shape the way a person thinks, so one generation’s way of doing things may be vastly different from another generation’s.”

As a result, it is not uncommon for older generations to ‘look down’ on younger team members and judge ‘Why are they acting this way, we weren’t like that before?’ or for Millennials and Gen Zers to regard older coworkers in a similarly negative light.

While these thoughts and emotions are valid, it is important for companies to reduce stereotyping and cultivate understanding so that everyone works together harmoniously.

Grace De Castro

“While these thoughts and emotions are valid, it is important for companies to reduce stereotyping and cultivate understanding so that everyone works together harmoniously,” Grace advises. Below, she shares 5 myths about the different generations that need to be debunked or contextualized:

Myth #1: Gen Xers have outdated values. They are homophobic, racist, sexist, etc.
PLAUSIBLE: “It might seem that way because Gen Xers are in positions of authority at work, so everything they say is noticed,” Grace concedes. “But this does not mean that all members of that generation think the same way.”

Myth #2: Millennials and Gen Zers are lazy.
FACT: According to this Forbes article, 4 in 10 millennials consider themselves “work martyrs.” “By this, we mean that they think of themselves as dedicated and indispensable workers who are wracked with guilt whenever they take time off, so many of them actually continue working while they are on leave,” Grace points out. This article by the Harvard Business Review also concurs — millennials are more likely to forfeit paid days off than older generations.

Myth #3: Millennials and Gen Z-ers are entitled and disrespectful.
PLAUSIBLE:
Being entitled means believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment. So are younger co-workers really more self-absorbed? Grace says this would depend on the culture of the organization. This is because while a study published in the Journal of Business and Psychology found no difference in the work ethics of the different generations, she says that millennials are more willing to speak up for themselves and express their opinions — even to their superiors — than their older counterparts. “Millennials are not afraid to ask for that raise or promotion, or to take the risk to move on when necessary,” she says. This is why it’s important for organizations to create safe spaces in the workplace and make sure that employees are allowed to express themselves without fear of repercussions.

Myth #4: Millennials and Gen Zers seek purpose over paycheck.
FACT:
A survey of more than 20,000 LinkedIn members revealed that Millennials were found to be the least purpose-driven generation. Additionally, 84% of Gen Z workers said they would like to do purposeful work for a company in which they believe in, but financial security has greater relevance.

It is actually Baby Boomers and Gen Xers who prioritize purpose. “Sense of purpose deepens as you progress in your career,” Grace explains. “For Baby Boomers, it’s because they have worked longer and are at that age when they want to leave a legacy. On the other hand, Gen Xers are old enough to have experience and financial security, but also still young enough to consider doing other things.” She adds that the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, has caused many Gen Xers to reexamine their current life path and ask themselves “Am I really doing what I’m supposed to be doing?’”

Myth #5: Millennials and Gen Zers are job-hoppers and have no loyalty.
PLAUSIBLE: Contrary to popular perception, the Pew Research Center says that Millennials actually stay with their employers longer than Gen X workers did at the same age.

However, a survey by Gallup reveals that 21% of Millennials have changed their jobs within the past two years and another 44% plan on leaving the company in the next two years. Additionally, less than half of all Millennials and Gen Z workers feel connected to their jobs , resulting in more than 40% saying that they would change jobs if another opportunity arose.

“So based on data, yes, I would say that Millennials and Gen Zers are job-hoppers,” Grace says. “But the better question leaders should ask is why do they do this?”

Bridging the gap
Grace encourages leaders to keep striving to understand the different generations at work and encourage team members to be more empathetic towards one another. “Being a good leader means you keep levelling up and empowering your team members, and building an environment where good becomes better and better becomes best,” she says.

MindNation offers virtual trainings on how to manage multigenerational employees so that you lessen stress, increase empathy, and build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Book this talk now through [email protected]

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Employee Wellness

Employee Mental Health: Myths and Facts Explained

Despite efforts to increase awareness and understanding about mental health,  many workplaces still consider mental health a taboo topic.  A MindNation Pulse Survey of more than 6,000 full-time employees in the Philippines revealed that only half (50%) of respondents feel comfortable talking about their mental health challenges with their managers, while 11% do not want to talk to anyone about their challenges at all. Additionally, only 12% of employees with mental health issues truthfully admitted to their managers that they are taking a sick leave for the same reason; the others stated that it was for a physical health problem, took it as part of their annual leave, or didn’t want to give a reason at all. 

Companies whose employees who do not receive support for their mental health challenges are more likely to have higher rates of absenteeism, presenteeism, and employee turnover. These productivity losses cost organizations at least PHP7 million per year for every 1,000 employees. 

One way to address mental health in the workplace is to stop the spread of misconceptions surrounding mental health challenges. Dr. Rhalf Jayson “RJ” Guanco, a licensed psychologist and psychometrician, faculty member of the Adventist University of the Philippines, and the current president of the Adventist Mental Health Association, lists down the top 5 employee mental health myths and provides the facts to debunk them:

Myth: Hard-working people do not have mental health concerns.

Fact:  No one is exempt from mental health concerns. “Mental health concerns can occur regardless of one’s personality, age, social situation, religion, or any other factor. It can also begin at any age, from childhood to later adulthood,” Dr. RJ enumerates. “Being hardworking, dedicated, or industrious does not make a person immune from mental health challenges.”

Myth: People with mental health problems are unreliable employees/team members.

Fact: Although mental illnesses may have a negative impact on an employee’s ability to function at work, it may also have no effect at all.People with mental health concerns can go on to live happy, productive lives as long as they receive proper treatment and support. “Mental health issues are in no way a reflection of a person’s ability to perform their work functions and are not a hindrance to perform job-related tasks. The fact that an employee has a mental health problem does not diminish his or her humanity. Putting them in a negative light and calling them untrustworthy should be avoided at all costs,” Dr. RJ stresses. 

Myth: Stress is really a part of work, so those with mental health concerns are just being lazy or making excuses.

Fact: “According to research, mental health disorders are caused by a variety of factors interacting with one another, including but not limited to heredity, biology, psychological trauma, poverty, adverse childhood experiences, environmental stress, etc.,” Dr. RJ enumerates. So in order to understand mental health problems properly, the person must be viewed holistically rather than singularly, i.e. work stress.

Myth: We’re in a pandemic, so it’s normal to have mental health problems and there’s nothing we can do but ride this out.

Fact: “While it is perfectly normal to feel nervous, depressed, isolated, and agitated, or to suffer from any kind of mental health problem during abnormal events like the COVID-19 pandemic, these responses must be handled well. Not everyone can just ‘snap out of it,’” Dr. RJ explains. “The more we understand ourselves and our own mental health, the more we will be able to provide useful support to individuals in our life who are dealing with mental health issues.”

MYTH: I can’t do anything for a colleague with a mental health problem because I am not a mental health professional.

FACT: “Even if you are not a mental health professional, you can still make a significant difference in the lives of those who are suffering from mental health concerns,” Dr.RJ assures. “For example, you can provide an empathetic ear to a coworker who is experiencing difficulties. Simply being the person who is willing to listen can help someone feel better. According to studies, persons who suffer from mental illnesses grow better and many recover when they have a strong support system.”

Education, guidance, and awareness training for managers can help them spot the warning signs of mental health problems among staff and offer support before they escalate.

Partner with MindNation to build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Visit www.themindnation.com to know more about our services. 

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Employee Wellness

Build Better Teams: 4 Ways To Instill Self-Confidence In Your Employees

Our previous post, Be Your Own Boss: 8 Ways To Increase Your Self-Confidence At Work, talked about how you can build confidence in yourself. Now it’s time to pay it forward and learn how you can build the self-confidence of your team members. 

“A self-confident team member is one who is comfortable in their own skin, trusts in their abilities, and knows their strengths and weaknesses.” explains Eric Santillan, an international Organizational Development consultant and a MindNation Scientific Board member. “Additionally, self-confidence is connected to boundaries. When a person has low self-confidence or low self-esteem, he has very porous boundaries, which means negative feedback is taken personally — when you tell them ‘Your report lacks X, Y, Z points,’ they take it as ‘I am no good, I am a failure.’ On the other hand, people with self-confidence have a growth mindset; they take setbacks as learning opportunities to become better.”

Self-confident employees benefit the company in many ways, from improved engagement to better performance. “Having self-confident employees can be a game changer for the company,” Eric stresses. “They are the people who willingly take on extra work because they want to learn more, and they are also the ones that you need to manage the least, allowing you more time to do the things that matter to you.”

“Having self-confident employees can be a game changer for the company. They are the people who willingly take on extra work because they want to learn more, and they are also the ones that you need to manage the least, allowing you more time to do the things that matter to you.”

Eric Santillan

As a manager, here are four things you need to constantly do to instill self-confidence in your employees:

  1. Develop their skills. Confidence is linked to competence. When you give employees tools and resources to improve themselves and they apply these learnings to produce outstanding work, their confidence rises. So provide your team members with access to courses and training, or maybe even give them the opportunity to run a passion project, so that they hone their skills and have a chance to shine.
  2. Don’t micromanage. If you do give them additional responsibilities, be empowering and not discouraging. “If you don’t trust your team, they won’t trust themselves,” Eric shares. “If you second-guess their decisions, or require that all decisions go through you, then you don’t incentivize them to make decisions on their own. Employees should not be treated like children that you have to check on all the time.”
  3. Don’t set them up to fail. Related to the above — make sure you don’t delegate big responsibilities too soon or too quickly, because they might become overwhelmed, inadvertently flounder, and have their confidence shot. “The key is to strike a balance between making sure that the project is important enough to be challenging for the team member, but not big enough that if it fails it will be detrimental to the company’s bottomline,” Eric advises.
  4. Take care of their well-being. This means building up your team’s mental health, from taking steps to reduce work stress and risk of burnout to providing them with resources to address mental health challenges. Make it a habit to check-in on your team members frequently, so that you get to know them as individuals and create a strong support foundation. When you treat your team members well, they will also view themselves in a positive and more confident light. 

As a manager, you should never underestimate your influence over a team member’s confidence. “You have the capacity to make or break someone’s confidence, because next to their significant other, you are their most influential relationship,” Eric points out. “A person who is managed really well will develop confidence, while a person who is managed really badly will feel their confidence eroded.”

MindNation offers virtual training for companies related to self-confidence, from cultivating a growth mindset to building mental agility. Email [email protected] to book a training for your team today!  

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Employee Wellness

Eric Santillan: 7 Simple Ways Managers Can Reduce Workplace Stress

Eric Santillan’s road to psychology, counseling, and organizational development started — of all places — when he was studying to be a Jesuit priest in the early 2000s. “Jesuit formation is very psycho-spiritual,” he explains. So apart from studying theology, he also trained as a career and marriage counselor, moderated student organizations in the university, and even designed curriculums for schools. In 2006, he left theology school to become a full-time psychologist and counselor.

Today, Eric is a member of the MindNation Scientific Board, a relationship counselor, and a productivity and Organizational Development consultant. “As an OD consultant, organizations come to me when they have issues and problems and need clarity,” he explains. “And then I use organizational and management tools to help their people thrive and reach their full potential.”

Stress during the COVID-19 pandemic
One of things Eric realized in his 22-year career as an OD consultant was that big problems stem from minor irritations. “Little stresses build up over time and if they are not addressed, they blow up,” he shares.

An example would be the issue of workplace stress. A MindNation Pulse Survey of more than 6,000 full-time employees in the Philippines taken from September 2020 to April 2021 revealed that 61% of respondents are feeling stressed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eric clarifies, however, that the pandemic did not cause this spike in stress; rather, it simply magnified stressful situations that would — pre-pandemic — have otherwise been just considered to be inconveniences. “People already had mental health challenges before the pandemic; the pandemic just highlighted them and made them very real,” he explains. Some examples of these stressful situations:

  1. Bad management practices. Employees were already dealing with long working hours, heavy workload, job insecurity, and conflicts with co-workers or bosses long before the pandemic, but they have become more overwhelming now due to pandemic-related stressors like work-life imbalance, isolation, managing fears about the COVID-19 virus, and financial insecurity.
  2. Limited physical and psychological space. Prior to the pandemic, parents could take a breather from child-care duties and other household responsibilities by sending their kids to school or just leaving the house for some “me-time” at a nearby coffee shop. But school closures and social distancing policies now meant that people are stuck at home 24/7 with little to no reprieve.
  3. Missing support systems. “Deaths in the family and becoming a new parent are stressful transitions, and the pandemic has erased whatever support we would normally get during these major life changes,” Eric points out. Mourning rituals have been shortened, grandparents can no longer visit to help babysit — the people most affected by these transitions have no choice but to struggle on their own. 


How stress affects work
If left unaddressed, stress can contribute to decreased organizational performance, decreased employee overall performance, high error rate and poor quality of work, high staff turnover, and absenteeism due to physical and mental health problems.

As a manager, it is therefore important to take steps to ensure that employees are not subjected to unnecessary stress. “For a business to thrive, all elements have to be operating at their peak. So in the same way that you conduct preventive maintenance on your machines to make sure they are always running 100%, so should you have a program in place that makes sure your people are always at their best,” Eric says.

How to reduce workplace stress
While managers and leaders cannot address all the stresses that a team member is struggling with in their personal lives, there some things that they can do to make the workplace less stressful:

  1. Ask yourself: ‘Am I the source of stress?’ It’s possible you are inadvertently causing your employees stress, so be open to feedback about your leadership style. Another way to find out is to check the turnover rate in your department. “In teaching, there is a concept called ‘student factor’ or ‘teacher factor,’” Eric relates. “When one or two students fail in a class,that’s probably a student factor; but if 10 or 15 people flunk, then that’s a red flag, it’s a sign that there is probably an issue with the teacher. So it’s the same with workplace turnover– is it an employee factor or a manager factor? In some companies I have worked with, managers get sent for retraining if a certain number of people resign over a certain amount of time.”
  2. Get to know your team. Take into account the personal lives of employees and recognise that the demands of home will sometimes clash with the demands of work. “Letting your team know that they are not just workers, but that they’re recognized as individuals, goes a long way,” Eric says.
  3. Praise in public, correct in private. This simply means that when you have something positive to say about a team member, make sure others are aware of the praise; but if you are issuing a correction or reprimand, handle it one-on-one. Praising in public pumps up the self-esteem of the team member, while handing out negative feedback privately ensures that the employee is not publicly shamed in front of his or her peers. The latter creates stress and resentment, and damages morale.
  1. Mess creates stress. Disorganization contributes to stress, so always be clear when relaying instructions, Make sure that everyone is properly trained for their job, and encourage an environment where employees can openly raise concerns about their duties and workload.
  2. Try to celebrate small wins. Don’t wait for a project to end so you can celebrate; instead, break up the projects into milestones, and give positive feedback when people do a good job. “A company I know gives a small fund to each department, so that team members can treat themselves whenever they feel there is a cause for celebration,” Eric shares.
  3. Practice what you preach. “Don’t say anything that you will not do yourself,” Eric cautions. So model work-life balance and stress management techniques so that employees down the line will follow suit.
  1. Partner with a mental health and well-being company that addresses mental health challenges holistically. This means working with an Employee Assistance Program provider that addresses all dimensions of an employee’s well-being — physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and cultural — because you cannot have one without the other. 

And if you do already have an Employee Assistance Program in place, don’t rely on it to be the cure-all for all your team’s well-being concerns. “Addressing workplace stress is not just the work of the EAP partner,” Eric shares. “It should be part of the organization’s culture.” This means normalizing the conversation about mental health in everyday interactions, granting paid mental health leaves, or even giving special mental health assistance to employees being groomed for leadership roles so they do not feel overwhelmed or stressed. “This way, the mental health program becomes holistic and robust, not just something offered on the side,” he adds.

“Workplace stress is a management issue,”

Eric Santillan

“Workplace stress is a management issue,” Eric concludes. A great manager is aware of their team member’s stress levels and takes proactive steps to reduce stress in the workplace. By reducing workplace stress, you not only improve the lives of your team members, you create an environment where they enjoy coming to work each day and become more productive. 


MindNation is a mental health and well-being company that uses a data-based approach to create proactive, customized, holistic health programs for your employees. Partner with us to build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Visit www.themindnation.com now!

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Employee Wellness

Creating Safe Spaces: 5 Ways To Manage Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying is defined as “repeated mistreatment of an employee by one or more employees; abusive conduct that is threatening, humiliating, or intimidating; work sabotage; or verbal abuse.” This is according to the Workplace Bullying Institute, the first and only organization in the United States dedicated to the eradication of workplace bullying.

Workplace bullying is more prevalent than we think. According to a worldwide poll conducted last October 2019 by global online employment solution firm Monster, 90% of respondents said they have been bullied at work. Of these 51% said they were bullied by their superiors, nearly 40% said their bullying came from a fellow coworker, while 4% said they were bullied by a client, customer, or someone else other than a coworker.

What workplace bullying looks like

According to MindNation psychologist Jessa Mae Rojas, examples of workplace bullying include targeted jokes, being purposely misled about work duties, continued denial of requests for time off without an appropriate or valid reason, threats, humiliation, and other verbal abuse, and excessive performance monitoring.

She clarifies, however, that criticism is not always bullying. “If the criticism is relayed objectively, constructively, and directly related to workplace behavior or job performance, then it is not workplace bullying,” she explains. “It becomes bullying only if the criticism is meant to intimidate, humiliate, or single someone out without reason.”

Effects of workplace bullying

A bullied employee can develop physical issues such as digestive problems,  high blood pressure, or have trouble sleeping. They may also suffer from mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and even suicidal thoughts. Business leaders need to address workplace bullying because it can impact the organization negatively in the following ways:

  • Financial loss resulting from legal costs or bullying investigations
  • Decreased productivity and morale
  • Increased employee absences
  • High turnover rates
  • Poor team dynamics
  • Reduced trust, effort, and loyalty from employees

What you can do

As a leader, here are some ways you can manage workplace bullying:

  1. Keep communication lines open. “Regularly check in with your team to find out if bullying is occurring, or if there are factors likely to increase the risk of workplace bullying,” Jessa explains.
  2. Offer employees easy-to-access, confidential mental health benefits with a focus on preventative tools and intervention.
  1. Address all concerns and all forms of aggression. Adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards inappropriate behavior. “Additionally, periodically review your organization’s anti-bullying policies and procedures so team members feel safe and supported in raising a complaint when it first arises,” she suggests.
  2. Arrange, support, and attend training. Teach staff how to resolve conflicts peacefully, give feedback constructively, or reduce their unconscious bias.
  3. Assess your leadership style. According to the Monster poll on bullying, more than half of bullied employees said that their workplace bully was their boss. “So review your own actions to know if your behavior might cross the line to bullying. Ask a trusted colleague for their opinion, and seek help if needed,” Jessa says.

Workplace bullying impacts the morale, retention, and productivity of everyone in the team. As a leader, don’t wait for workplace bullying to become a problem before you address it. Creating a safe space at work makes good sense from a physical, mental, and financial perspective. MindNation conducts virtual trainings on managing difficult conversations at work, reducing unconscious bias, and creating safe spaces at work so that your team can manage conflict peacefully and get along with others. Email [email protected] to book a training now!

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Employee Wellness

#RESHAPE21: How top companies 3M and Bloomberg are addressing Mental Health in the Workplace

Last September 15-16, MindNation had the privilege of being part of Insider’s RESHAPE 2021, the world’s largest leadership and experience summit, sharing the global stage with no less than US President Barack Obama and other top business and thought leaders.

MindNation Chief Marketing Officer Cat Triviño presided over a panel discussion about mental health in the workplace with Alisha Fernando, Head of Diversity & Inclusion for APAC of financial, software, data, and media company Bloomberg, and Kevin McGuigan, Vice-President & Managing Director for SEA of multinational conglomerate 3M.

“Even prior to the pandemic, mental health has already been a global concern, with anxiety and depresison at all time highs and even suicide being the leading cause of death in many countries,” Cat pointed out in her opening statement. For instance, a 2018 survey by the City Mental Health Alliance in Hong Kong revealed that 37% of respondents claimed to have, at some point in their lifetime, experienced mental ill health while in employment. Other research revealed that 25% of working people in Hong Kong showed levels of depression and anxiety that are 2.5 times the global average.

Not surprisingly, these numbers have risen this past year because of the psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Philippines, particularly, results of a Pulse Survey conducted by MindNation of over 5,000 workers found that mental health challenges are affecting 1 in every 3 employees, leading to productivity losses that cost companies up to PHP7 million per year (for every 1,000 employees).

Companies must take an active approach to mental health to combat mental health problems in the workplace. “At 3M, we strongly believe that there is no one that should struggle with mental health alone,” Kevin says. “As an employer, it is our responsibility to ensure that all of our employees feel that they are working in a safe place, that they’re comfortable to be themselves.

Here are some ways 3M and Bloomberg are building a company culture where mental health is valued, accepted, and supported:

  1. Keeping lines of communication open. “We encourage our managers and employees to find a way to connect with each other in ways that are not just tied to work,” Kevin explains. “When I start one-on-one meetings or group meetings, I go out of my way to spend the first few minutes just talking to the individual or the team and asking them ‘How are things going? How’s your family doing?’ This is my way of really striving to make people feel comfortable to express themselves.”

    Additionally, Kevin hosts frequent roundtable sessions and town hall meetings, as well as put out regular Pulse Surveys, in order to get feedback from his team. “These build trust and show that we are able to have candid conversations about what’s working and what’s not,” he says.
  1. Normalizing conversations regarding mental health. “Storytelling is such a powerful tool to address [the stigma surrounding mental health],” Alisha shares. “Everytime I tell someone ‘Hey, I suffer from anxiety and I am getting professional help for it,’ they are shocked and surprised at first, but when we talk about it some more and they see that I am able to live a normal life and have a good job, they realize that having mental health challenges is not shameful or taboo. Sharing personal stories is one way we can shift the way people view mental health.”
  2. Providing flexible work programs. “At 3M, we have a ‘Work Your Way’ program, which not only says you can choose WHERE you want to work — 100% remote, 100% onsite, or a hybrid mode — you can also select the hours you want to work,” Kevin says. “This is because we know that people have been [affected] throughout the pandemic, and allowing them to take two hours off work to go to a therapy appointment, for example, is one way we want to make things easier for them.”
  3. Not viewing mental health treatment as a one-size fits all approach. “No two people experience a mental health challenge the same way; for example, some people thrive on stress and can work really well, but others don’t thrive under stress and it impacts their productivity,” Alisha shares. “So addressing mental health in the workplace comes down to knowing the employee as an individual , understanding what they need, and figuring out how we can best support them,” Alisha points out.

Bloomberg and 3M’s efforts to actively address mental health at work are paying off. “Interestingly, Bloomberg has performed remarkably well over the last 18 months of the pandemic,” she shares. “I credit that to all of the support that we have been providing so that our leaders know how to take care of our people better. Now, not only are our people thriving, our business is as well.”

MindNation uses a data-based approach to create proactive, customized, holistic health programs for your employees. Partner with us to build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Visit www.themindnation.com now!

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Employee Wellness

5 Ways To Help Someone Feeling Overwhelmed

If someone is feeling overwhelmed, it means that something is too much, or almost too much, for them to manage. While it’s possible to be overwhelmed by good things (i.e. love or gratitude), it is just as easily possible to be overwhelmed by tasks, chores, and problems.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has left many people feeling overwhelmed because work-from-home has become the new norm and so the lines between work and personal lives are no longer clearly delineated,” says relationship coach Aileen Santos. “From my personal experience, people can cope with any amount of stressful work — as long as work is the only thing that is stressing them out. But when personal issues get added to the mix, that is when they buckle.”

This is why when someone says they are feeling overwhelmed, we should not ignore or minimize their pronouncement. “Don’t just look at a team member’s workload, because we don’t know what they are going through behind the scenes,” says Aileen. “We don’t see the triggered traumas, stress, or fatigue that they are experiencing; the workload could just be the last straw.”


“When a team member starts verbalizing that something is happening at home, you need to pay close attention because that could lead them to becoming overwhelmed.”

Aileen Santos, Relationship Coach

Implications of being overwhelmed

When someone is feeling overwhelmed, it can affect their physical and mental health, along with their productivity. They feel physically ill or fatigued without knowing why, start withdrawing from friends and family, have trouble focusing or completing even simple tasks, and might even start to develop mental health challenges like depression and anxiety. All these might just compel affected employees to leave the company, which will end up costing the business even more money. “Millennial and Gen Z employees are now prioritizing their well-being and work-life balance above everything else, even salary, and they are willing to quit their jobs if they feel it is bad for their health,” Aileen reminds. 

For those in personal relationships, not addressing signs of overwhelm can make the bonds even more strained and fractured. 

What to do

It’s important that team leaders and loved ones take steps to support someone who is feeling overwhelmed to avoid bigger physical and mental health problems later on. If someone you love or work with are showing signs of struggling to cope, here are some things you can do:

  1. Listen.  “All companies are struggling during the pandemic, so you might have already gotten used to hearing about work stress,” shares Aileen. “But when a team member starts verbalizing that something is happening at home, you need to pay close attention because that could lead them to becoming overwhelmed.”
  1. Take the load off. A person can only perform their best if they are not overloaded with work, so team leaders and supervisors need to constantly be aware of what each member is doing and redistribute the load when they feel it is becoming too much. 

To step in, start by bringing up observable behavior, then explain that you are redistributing work because you care for the employee’s well-being and not because you do not think they can no longer do the work well. An example would be :“I notice that you have been missing a lot of deadlines already, and there are more coming up. I am concerned that you are taking on too much and it will affect your health, so I’m going to reassign this and that to ease your load.”

For partners and spouses, make sure your relationship at home is a partnership. “Share the load at home — don’t expect your partner to be a breadwinner and at the same time manage the household, while you just focus on your work,” Aileen explains. “Both of you have to support and take care of each other.” 

  1. If the person refuses help, put your foot down. It is not uncommon for a person who is struggling to be in denial about their situation. “There are people whose sense of identity is based on helping others, so they do not recognize that they are the ones who need help,” Aileen points out. “They are more attuned to the feelings of others than to their own.” If this is the case for your loved one, it might be time for some tough love. “Encourage them to rest, even if it means resorting to tactics such as paying for a hotel staycation even before they agree to it,” Aileen suggests.
  1. Get the help of a mental health professional. Psychologists and Wellbeing Coaches can help overwhelmed people address past trauma or teach them ways to cope with stress. Or they can just offer an unbiased and listening ear to someone who needs to express struggles.

    “The companies that are doing well during the pandemic are ones who are prioritizing their employees’ well-being, such as hiring the services of a mental health care provider or even training and reassigning personable team leaders to become in-house mental health champions,” Aileen shares. 

On the other hand, if a loved one is resistant to the idea of seeking professional help, or does not have the time for a session, take it upon yourself to learn what you can do for them. ““There are so many resources available now, from hotlines to teletherapy, so take advantage of those,” Aileen instructs. “If you are seeing signs that your partner is feeling overwhelmed, take the initiative to research or call a hotline to find out what ways you can help them.”  

  1. Lastly, look after yourself. You cannot help someone who is feeling overwhelmed if you yourself are facing struggles of your own. “Self-care is self-preservation,” Aileen says.

So look after your own well-being, such as taking mental health days, eating right, sleeping well, exercising, and finding ways to destress; being calm and relaxed will make you more able to help someone else. 

The MindNation Care Now Plan is customized to support an employee’s holistic health. Services include access to 24/7 teletherapy sessions with psychologists and WellBeing Coaches, Group Support Sessions, free audio and downloadable mental health resources, and so much more. Partner with us to build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Visit http://www.mindnation.com to learn more about our services. 

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Employee Wellness

4 Ways To Support Your Employee’s Career Advancement

A whopping 97 percent of millennial employees consider development in a job important, according to a survey by analytics and advisory company Gallup. The report further states that millennials are the generation most likely to switch jobs and be on the lookout for new opportunities because “they want more out of life, and they believe they can get it.”

Business leaders should therefore give importance to an employee’s career advancement. If they don’t, they risk undermining morale and productivity by leaving talented workers feeling like they aren’t valued.

“The most important part of a company is its people,” says James Michael “Jim” Lafferty, CEO of Fine Hygienic Holdings, a  wellness company with headquarters in Dubai that makes personal care and hygienic products. “And if you value your people, you should care about how they are developing in their career and in everything else that comes with it.”

Apart from being a multi-awarded business leader, Jim is also a mentor and coach to national and Olympic-level athletes. “One of our key roles as leaders is to nurture the next generation of talent,” he wrote in his blog. “It means pushing them….Believing in them. Stretching them.”

“One of our key roles as leaders is to nurture the next generation of talent.”

James Michael “Jim” Lafferty, CEO of Fine Hygienic Holdings

Here are some strategies you can use to promote the development of your employees:

  1. Take an interest in your employee’s career goals

Communicate frequently with your team so that you stay attuned to their career aspirations and expectations. Then help them outline a potential career path within the company so they can better visualize their future. Clear, direct, and consistent communication from you about career advancement steps can help workers feel more engaged.

  1. Promote trainings and skills development courses
    There are many virtual learning opportunities available now, so encourage your team to pursue relevant business courses and workshops that will further their career advancement. If you cannot pay for the entire course fee, at least subsidize it —  investing in employee career development can deliver a strong ROI for your business. 

Another option is to conduct an in-house training program, where you or your executives can conduct virtual sessions touching on your various expertise. 

Lastly, look for companies that hold self-improvement webinars that anyone in the team can benefit from, whether they are seasoned executives or new hires. MindNation offers Company Culture Drive talks, which are interactive virtual trainings that cover topics ranging from Beating Burnout to Managing Difficult Conversations.  

  1. Do not sugarcoat feedback.
    “This is the biggest issue in managing people; it’s hard to sit down and tell people ‘You’re not up to your potential,’ ‘You can be so great but you don’t just apply yourself,’ or ‘You need to work on XYZ,’” Jim points out. “But people need different things at different points in their life — sometimes it’s a pat on the back, other times it’s straight feedback. The latter may not always be what they want, but it’s what they need to become better.”
  1. Support work-life balance.
    Encourage your employees to work smart, maximize their efficiency, and leave time and energy for their non-work interests. Taking care of your team’s well-being can also prevent stress from rising and leading to burnout. By adopting policies that enhance work-life balance, you can help your workers find the time to do their jobs, attend to personal demands, and even engage in professional and personal development activities that can help them become the best version of themselves.

“Developing people is at the foundation of great leaders,” Jim wrote. “Building up the skills and capabilities of one’s team is the only sure way to sustainable success in business.”

MindNation’s well-being program is based on a person’s holistic wellness — not only can we help you build teams that are physically, mentally, and emotionally well, we also help them discover their passion and purpose in life so that they become happier, healthier, and more productive. Visit http://www.themindnation.com to know more about our services.