Employee Wellness

No Health Without Mental Health: 5 Key Takeaways From 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.”


“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 now!

Employee Wellness

4 Effective Onboarding Tips

Research by workplace thought leader Society for Human Resource Management reveals that it costs businesses up to 9 months’ salary (on average) to recruit and train a new employee. On top of this, it may take new employees up to two years to achieve the productivity level of an existing employee.

One way you can keep employee turnover low is to make sure that new hires go through a proper onboarding process. “The first few weeks a new team member is on the job are some of the most crucial because you’re setting expectations and building their personal investment in your organization,”says Kana Takahashi, MindNation’s Chief Executive Officer. “When you have an effective onboarding program, new employees feel right from the start that they are part of the team, will work harder to achieve the company’s goals, and will stay for a longer period of time.” 

Onboarding begins as soon as an offer is accepted and typically lasts through the first year of employment, at a minimum. If you already have an onboarding process in place, here are some things you can add to the activity to make it more engaging — and possibly even fun — for the new team member:

“One of the purposes of onboarding is to acclimate the employee to the organization, to make them see how their role fits into the organization, understand the mission and vision of the company, and what the work culture is.”

Kana Takahashi, MindNation CEO
  1. Get everyone in the company involved. The onboarding program used to be solely the purview of the Human Resources department, but for Kana, it’s important that all departments — and their heads — take time to welcome and talk to the new hire. “One of the purposes of onboarding is to acclimate the employee to the organization, to make them see how their role fits into the organization, understand the mission and vision of the company, and what the work culture is,” she explains. “This is achieved by having them interact and socialize with as many people as possible.”

At MindNation, Kana starts the onboarding process by taking the new hire through the necessary paperwork. The person is then introduced to the leadership team, where they receive information about the company’s values, goals, and culture. Afterwards, an announcement formally welcoming them to the company is posted on the company’s Slack channel. 

“Then for the next few weeks, they go through the different departments, talking to the heads and members so that they get a grasp of the working dynamics and understand everyone’s role more,” Kana explains.

  1. Have a get-together to welcome the new member. Colleagues can also participate in onboarding. Before the pandemic, it was customary to take new employees out to lunch or dinner to help break the ice and allow them to get to know their new colleagues in a relaxed environment. Today, these teambuilding sessions can be done in a virtual set-up and are no less effective. “When an employee feels valued by their team on both a personal and professional level, they are more likely to stick around for the long haul and be happier,” says Kana. 
  2. Provide consistent and clear communication. New hires will want to jump into their role quickly, but make sure their enthusiasm is tempered by clear expectations and parameters during onboarding. Otherwise you might end up receiving output that does not meet your needs, while the employee will feel disappointed that they failed you. So assign projects and set goals, and be sure to guide them to the resources they need and the people they can turn to for help. 
  1. Then create avenues for giving (and receiving feedback). This is another crucial part of onboarding because it ensures that the new hires are settled in and have everything they need to be successful in their work. “All departments in MindNation have weekly alignment meetings to determine that all tasks are delivered and to ensure that the employee’s workload is enough and does not burn them out,” Kana shares. “If they are struggling, we adjust timelines or give more guidance — anything that they need to make their working experience better.”

Additionally, new hires at MindNation have weekly or bimonthly one-on-ones with their line managers; these are not for project updates, but informal conversations centered around the employee’s mental health and well-being. 

First impressions matter, and you can start off your relationship with your new employee on the right foot by treating the onboarding process as a part of your business’ success.

Taking care of a new  team member’s well-being is part of an effective onboarding process. MindNation’s holistic well-being program ensures that everyone from new hires to veteran executives become happier, healthier, and more productive. Our services include 24/7 teletherapy sessions with psychologists and WellBeing Coaches, Group Sessions, virtual webinars, and surveys and analytics. For more information, visit or email [email protected]


Kana Takahashi Of MindNation: Building A World Where Mental Health Is Valued, Accepted, And Supported

In 2014, Kana Takahashi was a bright-eyed pre-med student taking up Psychology at one of the Philippines’ top universities when one of her professors started talking to the class about mental health. “Back then, I didn’t know much about mental health,” she explains. “So when I heard my teacher talking about it, I got really curious.”

This curiosity led her to join the Youth For Mental Health Coalition — the only mental health organization in the Philippines at that time — and it was here that Kana became aware about the state of mental health in the country and the stigma faced by people with mental health concerns. Up until 2018, she immersed herself in advocacy work, learning not only about mental health but also about other causes like feminism and human rights.  From attending seminars, she was soon conducting them herself; additionally, she became involved in groups that pushed for laws like the Safe Spaces Act (which increases protection against sexual harassment, among others), the bill legalizing divorce (which is still currently being deliberated in Congress), and the Philippine Comprehensive Mental Health Law (which was signed into law last June 2018).

Along the way,  Kana started to reconsider her plans of becoming a doctor. “I started to ask myself why I wanted to become a doctor, and the answer I came up with was that I wanted to help people. And I realized that what I wanted was to help people now, not after four to five years of medical school.” With that in mind, Kana decided to just look for work that could sustain her financially and at the same time continue her advocacy work with the organizations she was currently affiliated with.

“I started to ask myself why I wanted to become a doctor, and the answer I came up with was that I wanted to help people. And I realized that what I wanted was to help people now, not after four to five years of medical school.”

Kana Takahashi, MindNation Co-Founder and CEO

The birth of MindNation

Along with some friends, Kana co-founded MindNation in January 2020, with the initial goal of providing mental health services for organizations, as mandated by the Philippine Mental Health Law. The company started with just four people (including Kana) and one psychologist.

But in March 2020, just three months after the company launched, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Many businesses coped with lockdown measures by cutting down on expenses — including putting all talks with MindNation on the back burner.

A CEO of any other start-up would have wrung their hands and panicked, but Kana was unfazed. “I didn’t get worried because I knew that what we were doing had value,” she says. “It was just a matter of making companies understand that — especially with the pandemic — investing in people is not a waste of resources.  Before the pandemic, all that companies wanted to see were numbers — ‘How can the mental health program that you are offering me boost my revenue?’ ‘What’s the ROI?’  But because of the pandemic, we were able to shift their mindset from ‘How can this benefit my business?’ to ‘How are my employees doing?’

Going above and beyond

And while other companies looked for ways to tighten their belts during the pandemic, MindNation did the opposite — they started offering their teletherapy services for FREE to the sectors most affected by COVID-19, from Philippine-based employees and students, to retrenched employees, medical frontliners, and even to members of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+ community). 

“We partnered with amazing mental health advocates like Senator Risa Hontiveros, as well as LGBTQ+ organizations, and women’s organizations to offer these pro bono services,” Kana points out.  “The fact that many non-government organizations were willing to work with a business like us — which is very rare — is proof that they saw the value in what we were doing,” Kana says.

Growing strong

Today, MindNation has a team of 50 employees and 20 psychologists, some of whom are located in other parts of the world. The company is now partners with over 40 organizations across industries, has expanded into Middle East North Africa (MENA), and is currently looking to grow more in other parts of the world.  In addition, they have gone beyond offering their services solely to organizations; individuals with mental health and well-being struggles can now also avail of the company’s 24/7 teletherapy sessions.

“MindNation’s vision is to build a world where mental health is valued, accepted, and supported,” Kana explains. “And we can only do that by making mental health care accessible to all.”

Best assets

Kana attributes the company’s growth and success to its team. “Every successful company has great people, people who go to work not just to work but to actually make a positive impact,” she says. “That’s what I‘m really proud of. In MindNation, we don’t work to feed the pockets of certain people, we do it because we’re working on life changing things.”

When it comes to supporting mental health in the workplace, the company walks the talk and has made the mental health programs that it offers to its client-partners available to employees as well. MindNation team members have access to 24/7 teletherapy sessions with psychologists and WellBeing Coaches and mental health leaves with pay. “The culture inside is also great, we can talk to each other about work and personal matters while maintaining a good working dynamic,” Kana shares. 

Looking ahead

Kana is looking forward to taking up post-graduate studies related to mental health so that she can grow the company more and support more employees. “Personally, I want to be able to help as many people as possible, even in little ways, whatever help looks like for them,” she affirms. 

Partner with MindNation to build happier, healthier, and more productive employees. Message us on or email [email protected].