A mentor is an experienced or trusted advisor who provides their mentee with the tools, guidance, support, and feedback they need to thrive in their career. A good mentor enhances an employee’s skills, cultivates leaders who can help the company further advance, and drives positive company culture.
Good mentors come in all ages, genders, and even educational attainments. “You can be a good mentor as long as you are dependable, engaged, authentic, and tuned in to a mentee’s needs,” says career and business advisor Grace De Castro of V+A Consulting, a boutique consulting firm with expertise in customized people programs and creative business solutions.
It is not just a mentee who benefits from the guidance of a good mentor; mentors themselves experience the satisfaction that comes from giving back and having a sense of belonging. “A mentor can find a lot of growth if they are in a group that is supportive and safe, in a community that makes them feel heard and values their life experiences,” shares Grace.
Mentors themselves experience the satisfaction that comes from giving back and having a sense of belonging.
Grace De Castro of V+A Consulting
If you feel you are ready to take on the role of nurturing someone’s career growth, here are the qualities that you need to be a good mentor:
Optimism. A good mentor constantly uplifts their mentee. “Make the person feel that you believe in their potential, that you hear them, and are willing to listen to them,” says Grace.
Teachability. While there are courses and certificate programs for aspiring mentors, these are not requirements to be good in the role. “There are many things you can do on your own to learn to be a good mentor, such as following thought leaders and statesmen on social media so you learn about different perspectives,” advises Grace. “And read! There are so many books that can help you become a better mentor, and don’t limit yourself to non-fiction, self-help, or personal development books. Fiction gives you a different view of how people are and can be great conversation starters. Lastly, immerse yourself with what’s happening outside; have a genuine interest in others.”
An open mind. “A good mentor always comes prepared to be surprised,” advises Grace. “We are all human, which means that most of the time there are deep-seated reasons for mentoring that involve personal issues. So I always make sure I provide a safe space for my mentees if they want to talk to me about deeper matters.”
A real desire to help but no desire to control the outcome. “Sometimes, people don’t necessarily need advice from a mentor; they just need someone to listen to them,” says Grace. “And when you provide a safe space for people to use you as a sounding board, you end up improving more than just careers.”
Trust. A good mentor never gossips about their clients. “I have lost potential clients because they want to know who else I am working with but I value confidentiality,” says Grace. “A good mentor-mentee relationship involves a trust component that both work very hard to strengthen over time.”
We know how important setting boundaries are to our mental health and well-being. However, it can be hard to communicate these boundaries or call out those who cross them. We fear that insisting on setting boundaries may make us seem difficult, unfriendly, or even troublesome.
Fortunately, the D.E.A.R conversation technique – developed by Dialectical Behaviour Therapist Dr Marsha Linehan in the 1990s – can be used to effectively remind people about your need for setting boundaries without hurting their feelings. MindNation psychologist Maria Teresa Empleo explains below:
D is for DESCRIBE
“Describe the situation where your boundaries were crossed, sticking to facts and neutral terms,” says Maria. This means when someone oversteps your physical boundaries for example, you say something like “I notice that you like to hug me when you see me in the morning” instead of inserting an opinion such as “You’re so inconsiderate of my personal space.” Try to give the other person the benefit of the doubt; they may be wholly unaware of your boundaries.
E is for EXPRESS
When people upset your boundaries, stick to “I” statements when calling them out. An example would be “I feel uncomfortable when you do this” or “I don’t feel happy when you do that.” Do not label, i.e. “Calling me after office hours is so rude” or question the other person’s intentions, i.e. “You keep interrupting me during work, do you want me to lose my job?” “These will only hurt the person or make them defensive, and you will lose any chance of an amicable resolution,” reminds Maria.
When people upset your boundaries, stick to “I” statements when calling them out.
MindNation psychologist Maria Teresa Empleo
A is for ASSERT
“Specifically tell them what you want to happen in the future, such as ‘I would appreciate it if you would greet me in the morning with a high-five instead of a hug,’” suggests Maria. “Or ‘I prefer that you send work-related messages between 8AM to 5PM only.’ Do not hem and haw, say “Maybe” or “Sorry,” or be vague, as in “I’m sorry, but maybe you could do something else to greet me in the morning?” This can lead to confusion, give the impression that your boundaries are negotiable, and encourage new expectations and demands among those around you.
R is for REINFORCE
“End the conversation on a gracious note,” Maria says. Statements like “I appreciate you hearing me out,” or “Thank you for respecting my boundaries,” will soothe any feelings that may have been hurt or offended and increase the chances of an amicable resolution.
If despite your best efforts you find it is difficult to set boundaries with someone, you have two choices:
Limit contact by physically avoiding the other person or asking someone else to run interference for you. “But in cases of sexual harasment or physical abuse, you have every right to report the threatening behavior to the authorities right away,” Maria cautions.
Go no-contact. This can be asking to be transferred to another team or leaving the company altogether, unfriending/unfollowing the person on social media, or going as far as to tell friends and family that you want to minimize contact with the person.
When you are firm in communicating and setting your boundaries, you show that you value yourself, your needs, and your feelings more than the thoughts and opinions of others.
If 2021 was about learning to live and work during a pandemic, 2022 will be about applying all the lessons learned this past year. What will the future of work look like? Business coach and consultant Grace De Castro of V+A Consulting, a boutique consulting firm with expertise in customized people programs and creative business solutions, shares her predictions:
The hybrid mode of work will be the new normal — and not everyone is going to be treated fairly. “Sadly, there are still many leaders who equate ‘presence with performance,’” Grace says. “This means that those who choose to go to work onsite will be considered more productive and valuable than those who remain or prioritize working from home.”
What this means for companies: Leaders must ensure that all team members — regardless of where they are working from — are regarded equally and treated fairly especially in terms of promotions and pay raises. Not doing so will cause discontent among team members. “Leaders must also change the prevailing mindset about what it means to be productive, and create avenues for more collaboration between employees,” Grace advises.
Organizations will fight to attract and retain existing talent. “I know of quite a number of senior executives and managers in the Philippines who decided to take their families and just move — whether it’s to outside the city for a quieter provincial life, or even out of the country. This migration is the most I’ve seen since I started working 25 years ago,” Grace relates.
Their reason for moving? “The past two years have made many pause and rethink their priorities,” she explains. “They either realized that they want more time with their family, or that what they are doing now is not what they want to do for the rest of their lives.”
What this means for companies: “There is going to be a lot of creativity around talent attraction and retention,” Grace says. “The fight is no longer against other companies, it’s now about whether your employee is finding purpose in their current role or if the current work schedule supports their desire for work-life balance.”
Employee health and safety will continue to be a top concern. As employees return to work, many will be struggling with fears and anxieties over their safety and adjusting to new procedures and protocols. This postoutlines the things managers can do to make the transition easier and assure team members that the workplace will be a safe space for them, physically and mentally.
What this means for companies: Adhering to health and safety standards in the new normal requires added expenses, so leaders need to look at where they can cut costs and reallocate the budget. What’s important to you? Is it your bonus, or upgrading the ventilation system? Is it new furniture or investing in an employee well-being program? “Part of being a leader is looking at the situation, spotting the areas of concern, and making the tough calls to address them,” says Grace.
“Part of being a leader is looking at the situation, spotting the areas of concern, and making the tough calls to address them,”
Grace De Castro, Business Coach And Consultant
Mental health and well-being will become very important. “The last two years have really taken a toll upon all of us, and business leaders need to acknowledge that there is no going back to before,” Grace says. “Mental health can no longer be a special event that only gets talked about during Mental Health Month or Suicide Prevention Month. Conversations around mental health need to be normalized; people who are struggling should know where they can seek help and not be ashamed about it.”
What this means for companies: While it’s understandable that the priority of a company in the new normal is profitability, this cannot be at the expense of the team’s well-being. “You can’t expect people to be delivering multitudes when they’re physically, mentally, and emotionally broken and with no social support,” Grace says. “Treat your employees well, because if you take care of them they will take care of your business. And if your people are at the place where they can deliver, you can have both — profits and a culture that supports mental health and well-being.”
If you need help, partner with MindNation to receive a holistic, data-driven, and customized well-being program for your organization. Visit www.mindnation.com or email [email protected] to know more.
With many businesses hoping to return to some semblance of normalcy in 2022, it is important to remember that success can only be achieved when all parts of a company are working well together, from the machinery to the people. Workplace well-being should not only be a priority, it must be made mandatory.
Are you asking your team to report back to their offices? While some employees are excited to go back to the office, others are struggling with varying degrees of anxiety. They may be reluctant to leave their family after being in close proximity with them for more than two years, afraid of leaving the safety of home and catching the COVID-19 virus, or anxious over adjusting to a new work schedule and routine.
If you are tasked with nudging people to return to work, business coach and consultant Grace De Castro of V+A Consulting, a boutique consulting firm with expertise in customized people programs and creative business solutions, shares some things you can do to ease their anxieties and make the transition easier:
Ensure workplace safety. The first and most important thing to do is conduct a review of the physical space to make sure it follows minimum public health standards and safety protocols. Is it well-ventilated? Can social distancing be followed? What is the procedure if someone comes to work with symptoms? And if your employees do get sick with COVID-19, is treatment covered by their medical insurance and how much time will they be given to recover? Then, once these are in place, proceed to #2.
Personally communicate these to your team. “Don’t just hand out memos or shoot out an email,” Grace advises. “Instead, hold a virtual meeting to inform staff about everything that the company is doing to make the site physically safe, and even what the expectations are in terms of schedule and responsibilities.” By adding this personal touch, employees will feel more assured and less anxious.
Bring them back slowly. Having your employees come back all at once will only cause confusion and increase anxiety. Instead, schedule their return in batches to give them the time and space to adjust to the physical workplace and new procedures. Then, once everyone is settled in, don’t forget to do #4.
Hold frequent one-on-ones or team meetings. “The purpose of these check-ins are two-fold,” says Grace. “The first is to enable those who are anxious and struggling to feel that they are being heard and validated. The second is for you to communicate and reiterate the company’s vision, expectations, and business direction.” This ensures that the entire team is on the same page, and roles and responsibilities are made clear.
Show them that you are also taking care of yourself. “As a leader, you are probably putting up a brave face and hiding your own fears and anxieties,” Grace points out. “But shielding your emotions will only make your employees feel as if they are the only ones with problems and more alone.” So if you are feeling anxious or stressed, for example, let your team see you taking a mental health break or advise them that you will be talking to a mental health professional. “This will make them see you as human and will further normalize the conversation about mental health and well-being in the workplace,” she adds.
“If you are feeling anxious or stressed, for example, let your team see you taking a mental health break or advise them that you will be talking to a mental health professional.”
Grace De Castro, Business Coach And Consultant
As a manager, it’s important to remember that your team members may be going through something related to the pandemic that you are not aware of. Asking them to return to work should be accompanied with compassion and open conversation.
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:
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.mindnation.com now!
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]
“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.”
As a manager, here are four things you need to constantly do to instill self-confidence in your employees:
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.
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.”
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.
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!
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:
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.
Offer employees easy-to-access, confidential mental health benefits with a focus on preventative tools and intervention.
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.
Arrange, support, and attend training. Teach staff how to resolve conflicts peacefully, give feedback constructively, or reduce their unconscious bias.
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!
Piril Yagli started her career in Insights and Analytics 15 years ago at multinational corporation Procter & Gamble, where she conducted consumer research on the preferences, attitudes, motivations, and buying behavior of people buying fast-moving consumer goods.
In 2020, she joined MindNation as its Chief Insights & Analytics Officer, this time surveying the preferences, attitudes, and motivations of clients towards work and their mental health. Thanks to the data that she and her team are able to gather, MindNation is able to customize its Employee Assistance Program to meet the specific needs of an employee in an organization, a rarity in the mental health care industry where most EAPs only offer fixed packages.
“I believe that a true mental health and well-being program is and should go beyond just providing a standard one-size-fits-all service,” Piril explains. This is because the people who comprise an organization have different needs and challenges, depending on their age, gender, educational attainment, or even socioeconomic background.
“In a company, you have all kinds of employees — from white collar to blue collar, from members of GenZ to GenX, all with completely different challenges that need to be addressed,” she points out. “For instance, our data shows that young, less experienced employees in a business process outsourcing company would like to learn about curbing loneliness during the lockdown or avoiding burnout. On the other hand, more seasoned employees are more interested in finding out how they can work better with younger team members or how they can provide better guidance or support. A one-size-fits all approach cannot fully cover all these needs.”
The importance of Pulse Surveys
MindNation gets its data through Pulse Surveys, biannual online surveys that are conducted the moment the client signs up with the company. “Through Pulse Surveys, we try to extract three types of information. The first is how employees feel about their mental health and well-being status, and if they feel satisfied with their company’s efforts,” Piril enumerates. “Next is to establish a benchmark so that we can track progress and revise the program accordingly. Lastly, we want to figure out the key stressors that employees are facing and what remedies they are after so that we can address the challenges directly.”
Which brings us to the second unique feature of MindNation Pulse Surveys — comparisons. “MindNation is able to compare data and scores of different companies because of our extensive database, which has responses from over 15,000 employees and growing, ” Piril proudly shares. “This allows us to tell a company ‘This is the state of your team’s well-being versus those of others in the same industry,’ and then follow-up with suggestions on how they can do better.”
That being said, business leaders should not feel disheartened or question their leadership skills if their companies get a low score in the Pulse Surveys. “A big portion of employees in every company, across all industries, are facing mental health and well-being challenges during this pandemic,” Piril points out. “Business leaders should not take alarming Pulse Survey results as a poor reflection of themselves. Instead, they should treat it as a wake-up call, as an opportunity to immediately correct ‘mistakes’ and provide resources so employees can have better well-being.”
For Piril, what is important is that leaders be open, listen, understand and act in urgency to meet the needs of the employees, whether it’s providing access to psychologists and WellBeing Coaches or tailoring webinars to topics that interest their team members.
“From our analysis, we found out that on average 8% of the employee population in the Philippines has suicidal or self-harmful thoughts,” Piril reveals.
They especially need to be proactive in addressing the needs of employees who are suicidal, of which there is an increasing number. This is according to the analysis of suicidal thinking employees in the MindNation Pulse Survey database. “From our analysis, we found out that on average 8% of the employee population in the Philippines has suicidal or self-harmful thoughts,” Piril reveals. “Assuming that there are 41 million active employees in the Philippines, this means that around 3.3 million employees need immediate help.”
Importance of suicide prevention policies in the workplace
Employers need to provide help because suicidal employees are the ones facing more productivity loss, taking more sick leaves, and thinking about quitting the company more than the average employee. So by prioritizing the mental health and well-being of their organization, leaders are not only saving 8% of their workforce, they are also improving productivity, and positively impacting the bottom line.
Organizations can do this by paying attention to and making mental health services a basic benefit for all employees, stopping stigma in the workplace by cultivating a safe space for mental health discussions, and ensuring that each employee has someone to talk to curb their feelings of loneliness especially during these times of isolation and uncertainty.
Download the MindNation Suicide In the Philippine Workforce 2021 toolkit now to learn not only about suicide prevention, but also enhance your capacities to support employees who may be struggling with varying mental health issues and suicidal ideation. http://bit.ly/mn-suicide2021
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As Talent and Organizational Development Manager of direct selling beauty company Avon Cosmetics Inc. (ACI) in the Philippines, Laurice “Auie” Macapaz oversees the mental health and welfare of close to 300 employees. Not an easy task during the COVID-19 pandemic as team members are grappling with fatigue, anxieties about job security and income, and other mental health challenges.
But the realization that the company needed the services of a mental health and well-being company started back in 2018, when two ACI associates were diagnosed with clinical depression. “Back then mental health programs were not yet mainstream for organizations, so it was only when we were faced with this particular challenge that we saw how lacking our mental health coverage was,” Auie relates. Because the costs of psychiatric consultations and medicines were not included in their then-healthcare provider’s plan, the two Avon associates had a hard time managing their symptoms.
“While we tried our very best and worked closely with our company doctor, the fact remained that we didn’t have anything in our program that could specifically address the needs of associates with mental health conditions.”
Laurice “Auie” Macapaz, AVON Talent and Organizational Development Manager
Additionally, even the direct manager of the two employees was at a loss on how to provide care. “None of us knew how to properly give support because we lacked awareness and training about mental health,” she shares. “While we tried our very best and worked closely with our company doctor, the fact remained that we didn’t have anything in our program that could specifically address the needs of associates with mental health conditions.”
In the end, the two associates opted to resign from the company because their psychiatrist told them that it would be better for their health if they just took time off from work. “If we had the services of a professional to help them navigate what they were going through, they would probably have lasted longer in the organization, or at the very least, would have been able to manage their condition better,” Auie laments.
This where MindNation came in MindNation fulfilled Auie’s wish for ACI to have a well-being program that is focused on holistic health and customized for each employee’s needs. The partnership recently celebrated its first anniversary, and proved that achieving good workplace mental health is a marathon, not a sprint.
“It was a slow start in the beginning, very few of our associates were availing of the 24/7 teletherapy services,” Auie admits. “This is because many of our associates come from a generation where if you tell them you are depressed or anxious, they would respond with ‘Oh, just pray about it,’ or ‘You’ll feel happier if we go out for a meal.’ They believe that you should only talk to a psychologist if things are already dire.”
Auie and the rest of ACI’s Human Resources department worked to change this mindset by exerting efforts to normalize talking about mental health and therapy during monthly check-in sessions. “I would nonchalantly tell the associates ‘Oh, I have had four sessions with a MindNation WellBeing Coach already and this is what I learned,’” she says. “I even shared with them that my teenage son has also been seeing a WellBeing Coach and it’s helped him so much this way and that.” Because of these initiatives by HR, bookings for sessions started to increase.
Another obstacle that Auie and MindNation encountered was ACI’s low open rate for the weekly newsletters (WellBeing Boosts) that MindNation sends to all its client-partners. “In the beginning, only 10% of the recipients were reading those emails,” Auie reveals. She admits that this is because the associates are so swamped with work and correspondence on a daily basis that if the email does not come directly from their boss, they will not bother to open it.
To solve this problem, Auie and MindNation decided that instead of sending emails to each and every employee, MindNation would send the materials to Auie, who in turn would upload them on the Facebook group page of Avon Philippines’ associates. “We have about 250 members in that Facebook group, and for the past few months I have been getting 160 views each upload. So from a 10% open rate,it’s now at more than 60%, which is not bad,” she proudly shares.
But more than these numbers, Auie is happy that there is now a change in attitude of the employees about mental health. “I see it when our associates attend the MindNation Company Culture Drive Talks every month,” she shares. “Before, they would just sit there and listen; now they are interacting with the speaker more. Before, when the speaker would start off by asking them how they are feeling, they would just say ‘I am fine’ or ‘I am okay;’ but now they are more authentic in their feelings, they are divulging more emotions and acknowledging how they are really feeling.”
Special group session
Auie is also thankful to MindNation for instances when the company went above and beyond what was required of it. “Last month, one our Business Development Managers (BDM) shared during a MindNation Group Session that one of the members of her sales team committed suicide, and that she was feeling guilty and sad about it,” she shares. “The WellBeing Coach facilitating the session picked up on that and a few days later, MindNation reached out to us and offered a free session for that BDM and other associates who knew that person who passed, to help them cope and make sense of their emotions. I think that was a great thing, it was more than what MindNation signed up for, and I really appreciated that.”
Future plans There is still a long way to go. “My wish is that those who had teletherapy sessions would share their experience with others, so that those who are shy or hesitant will also get help,” Auie says.
Plans are also underway to train select ACI team members to become wellbeing champions in the organization. “I am so excited for those people to get trained in mental health first-aid and become the go-to people of our associates if they have questions about the different mental health services that MindNation is offering, so that they can get the help they need,” she adds.
Ultimately, Auie’s dream is for Avon representatives to become multipliers of mental health and well-being. “I want to normalize mental health and well-being so that we can become each other’s active supporter in dealing with mental health challenges,” she says. “At ACI, we have almost a million people in our sales force — many of them women — and all our field associates have access to them. Our company mission is to empower women, so if we could teach these women and mothers how they can take care of themselves and others better by normalizing the conversation about mental health, then the world will be a better place.”
Auie highly recommends that other companies partner with a mental health and well-being company as a way of supporting their HR team. “Times are hard now and we cannot do it alone,” she says. “I cannot imagine being in this pandemic, taking care of all my people, and going through this roller coaster of emotions without the assistance of MindNation.”
MindNation can help you build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Visit www.mindnation.com to know more.