As business leaders look for a competitive advantage in the future of work, it is important that there be a recognition of the value that mental health plays in the day to day operations of the business and how that correlates directly to the bottom line. Rather than seeing mental health relegated strictly to the domain of human resources, ERG groups, and other areas of these organizations, it is significant that forward thinking business leaders see the importance of recognizing the need to speak openly about invisible disabilities. By thinking strategically about how to redefine a work design model that is strength based to increase productivity and create an environment that offers a back and forth dialogue between employees and employer it establishes a structure that is open to creative thinking while assisting employees dealing with their emotional life a platform towards greater productivity in moments when it is more difficult.
It can be argued by executive coaches, psychotherapists, and other mental health professionals that straddle between the world of business and mental health, including the author of this column, that by developing a recognition strategy, companies can create a template that offers a new reality for executives and senior management. This allows them to rethink some basic assumptions about workflow, job design and more importantly how organizations tackle the challenges of the cerebral life of individuals within the workplace and rethink solutions that offer a true intersection between business and the importance of creating a robust human capital approach that is essential for lasting growth.
Where to Begin
C- level executives and senior management are often in a quandary of where to begin when it comes to developing a recognition strategy. One of the most effective ways to think about cultivating a recognition strategy is through the lens of a question. Rather than take the approach of design thinking, it is important to shift the narrative to what designer Liz Jackson refers to as design questioning. In a design questioning approach, we need to question the company’s culture from within gathering the perspective of employees who deal with mental health difficulties and have them as an essential piece in developing the new model for the organization of the 21st century.
As we go into a new year and decade the role of mental health and invisible disabilities will continue to play a more prominent role in the world of work. With a more decentralized corporate structure, automation, increased speed, there are numerous ways that these areas among others will impact the health and wellness of the workforce of the digital age. Coaches and psychotherapists need to take a more prominent role in not only helping organizations develop a recognition strategy, but also help companies break down stigma’s and long held beliefs that workers who deal with mental health concerns cannot perform tasks on par with others. To truly help define the workplace of the digital age, this will be one of the first places to begin. It is essential to have deep and broader conversation to not only change culture, but to reinvent it to create a brave new world.