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‘No One Size Fits All’ When It Comes to Employee Mental Health

This era of seemingly nonstop crises have roiled businesses and many other organizations, creating an environment supercharged with change and uncertainty. Successful companies have survived by being agile, adaptable and flexible.

Organizations should take that same approach when it comes to the mental health of their employees, says Belgin Ertam, Vice President of HR for GE in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkiye region, and Global Organization and Talent Development Director at GE.

As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to a close, she explains that HR departments and managers should recognize that when it comes to the psychological, emotional and social wellbeing of employees, “there is no one size fits all.”

“While there needs to be a holistic all-of-organization approach to mental health that is applicable to all, there also needs to be an individualized approach, one that is agile and adaptable enough to meet the unique needs of each employee.”

Not only does each employee have their own life events, stresses, illnesses and other events influencing their mental health, she says, but each person will react to those situations differently. Even if all employees are affected by the same companywide change, they will react differently.

Companies need to be able to adjust and respond accordingly, she said. That is done, in part, by offering a range of wellness and mental health services. At GE, this includes establishing a network of Wellbeing Champions, now totaling more than 500, who are employees within the various businesses and geographies who help drive mental health messaging, raise awareness of GE wellness tools, and otherwise serve as a resource for colleagues.

It also includes providing a range of digital tools, including mobile apps meQuilibrium, which offers resilience and stress management support, and Grokker, a video-based, holistic well-being and challenge tool.

Reflecting the breadth of components that comprise a robust mental health offering, Ertam points to GE’s employee resource groups, which bring together employees around shared identities. Organizations such as the Women’s Network and the Disabilities Advocacy Network provide support, mentorship and community. Other organizations focus on a shared passion such as the Green Team Network which focuses on sustainability initiatives, or GE Volunteers which promotes community service, such as our recent efforts to support the victims of the Turkiye-Syria earthquake.

There also is a crucial role for leaders, who are coached to be empathetic managers who support their employees in their current role and career development, based on understanding what is important and motivating to them.

Managers also can play an important role in another often overlooked, but critical, aspect of employee mental health: purpose.

“Leaders can help an employee connect the dots between what they do every day and the bigger picture of how that job supports a larger goal. That’s something a manager can really help develop because they know the person and the role,” she said.

When employees understand their purpose and how what they do can change things and have a meaningful impact, “they see their job as more than transactional.”

“For myself, it’s important to understand the higher meaning of how my role can further someone’s career or remove obstacles to growth. When my day is extremely busy, understanding my purpose keeps me from becoming stressed, because I’m aware of how I’m adding value and having an impact.”

By offering a broad range of tools, training, affinity groups and initiatives, companies and other entities can help foster employee wellbeing, even in times of change. It is only with this kind of agility and flexibility that organizations can support the mental health of their employees and help them to thrive.

Read more here about how GE supports the wellbeing of its employees and supports broader human capital development across the Middle East, North Africa and Turkiye region.


Country: MENA

Keywords: Employee, Leadership Training, Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Month, Mobile Apps, Wellbeing

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