Why Workplace Wellbeing Is More Important Than Ever

Among the many historic workplace disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the more unexpected might have been a growing willingness to discuss mental and emotional health.

“I think pre-pandemic it really was not something talked about in the workplace. Now it certainly is,” Frank Giampietro, chief wellbeing officer for EY Americas, said in a recent interview with TalentFirst.

That shift, he said, means employers are listening to workers about their struggles. And they’re working to provide the support they need.

“I think that’s a huge win and needed now more than ever,” said Giampietro, keynote speaker at our next Talent Solutions Series event, Wellbeing @ Work, 9-11 a.m. June 4 at GVSU’s Seidman Center in Grand Rapids.

One reason these discussions are more important than ever: A wide range of surveys show that mental health and wellbeing concerns have not abated since the pandemic. In fact, they have grown — along with the risk for greater turnover, lower engagement and diminished productivity.

For example, one analysis found mental-health absences increased 33% in 2023 over 2022.

At the same time, annual surveys by insurer Aflac show a declining share of U.S. employees who are confident their employers care about their mental health. In 2021, that percentage was 60%. It dropped in 2022 to 56% and again in 2023, to 48%.

The report found 57% of workers report experiencing at least moderate levels of burnout:

“How employees experience burnout varies widely depending on demographics, especially age. Gen Z and millennials are more than twice as likely as baby boomers to experience high or moderate burnout. Women are vulnerable, too, with 75% reporting burnout at work as opposed to 58% of men.”

A Concern for Incoming Talent

The demographic differences point to another issue: As the next generation of talent looks toward starting their careers, emotional wellbeing is an important factor.

According to a student sentiment survey by career-management platform Handshake, 61% percent of the postsecondary class of 2024 are worried about experiencing burnout as they launch their careers:

“Eighty percent of the class of 2024 have felt burned out as undergrads, and many are worried about burnout in their careers. Not surprisingly, a majority say it’s deeply important that their future employer offer work-life balance and mental health support.”

The ROI of Wellbeing

As Giampietro pointed out in his interview outlining his keynote address, it’s important for employers to recognize that wellbeing is a business imperative.

The good news is that there are strategic talent solutions that employers can deploy to address wellbeing and ensure a healthy, vibrant and engaged workforce. That’s what we will be exploring at our Wellbeing @ Work event, including:

  • The business case for wellbeing
  • Shifting organizational mindsets on wellbeing
  • Embedding and sustaining healthy ways of working
  • Measuring and rewarding leaders
  • Getting started on your wellbeing journey

Following the interactive keynote segment, participants will have an opportunity to learn from and share with each other their efforts and questions related to wellbeing at work through facilitated table discussion.

Join your peers for a continental breakfast and plenty of sharing and learning. This event also qualifies for two SHRM professional development credits.

Check our full events calendar for more opportunities to explore best practices and to help make West Michigan a leading region for talent.


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