As workers adapt to a new reality of long-term remote- and hybrid-work situations, as well as a host of pandemic-related challenges, the issue of employee morale has rarely been put into sharper focus. At the Bloomberg Breakaway CEO Town Hall on November 13, we discussed how leaders can take the pulse of their organization, and make sure clear directives filter down through channels to ensure employee mental health is being prioritized and monitored.
- Tami Erwin, Executive Vice President and Group CEO, Verizon Business
- Joy Fitzgerald, Vice President, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Eli Lilly & Co.
- Molly Hellerman, Global Head of Innovation Programs, Atlassian
- Jim Hemerling, Managing Director & Senior Partner, Boston Consulting Group
- Carol Massar, Host, Bloomberg Breakaway; Anchor, Bloomberg Businessweek, TV and Radio
Below are some highlights from the event.
Click here to access videos of all the sessions.
On companies prioritizing mental health: “What started as a physical health crisis; I think it’s increasingly becoming a mental health crisis,” said Verizon Business CEO, Tami Erwin, acknowledging the significant toll the pandemic has taken on the mental wellbeing of employees all around the world. Moreover, Erwin stressed the importance of corporations tackling this issue head on: “We really have to put mental illness, stress, anxiety, suicide, addiction – all those things into the middle of the table and realize that they impact and affect everybody,” she said.
On creating an inclusive work environment: Erwin underscored the importance of realizing there is a difference between achieving diversity in the workforce and creating an inclusive workplace. On this issue, Erwin’s litmus test is: “Do people feel like they are included and do they feel that they belong, in the authentic version of who they are?”
On leadership in a time of crisis: During the day’s second programming segment, the panelists agreed that especially during times of crisis, leadership is of central importance in a company. As a result of the pandemic, leaders have had to adapt and become more aware of their responsibility for the wellbeing of their workers under them. “Unless we can really connect with people, unless we can acknowledge their setting and then try and help support it, people will feel disconnected, less motivated and more invisible,” explained Altassian Global Head of Innovation Programs, Molly Hellerman. “I think accountability has to be embedded in everything we do and we have to be very clear about what our expectations are of leaders,” added Joy Fitzgerald, Vice President, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Eli Lilly.
On navigating a tough economic climate: When asked about the challenges companies are having in today’s economy, and the stress placed on employees as companies downsize while not necessarily scaling back their operations, Jim Hemerling, Managing Director & Senior Partner at Boston Consulting Group offered some advice to corporations: “As you’re downsizing, don’t just downsize the number of people but actually rethink the way work is being done.”
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