As a society, we’ve experienced a global pandemic, renewed uprisings around racial injustice and women’s rights, as well as the long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns endangering our futures.
All narratives which are shifting the currency of human capital, as workplaces recognise their opportunity to make a difference, lead societal change and create long-term value without destroying the environment even further.
We will require people leaders to increase their emotional currency, occupying multiple emotional states simultaneously.
With that in mind and as the New Year unfolds, this is the direction of travel I think will create some momentum, and make the biggest difference in mental health, diversity & inclusion.
How are you increasing emotional currency in your workplace?
Here are 5 predictions for 2023, particularly for diverse communities and employers;
1. Employee mental health and well-being to become a budget line item. Watch out! cookie cutter approaches, 2023 will see the rise of tailored workplace mental health & wellbeing solutions, and organisations will need a budget line to support their diverse employees. This may mean stopping some initiatives to invest in nuanced or culturally appropriate alternatives
2. We have talked about Burnout alot this year, but what are we actually doing about it? The line between our work and personal lives continues to be blurred, even GPs have started to refer to overwhelmed EAPs!!!! As anti depressant prescriptions continue to rise, employees will continue to bring more “into the office” with them. Add, into this mix the cost of living crisis, we will start to see marginalised communities impacted disproportionately again, the pandemic has already highlighted. For 2023, I predict managers will need evidenced based burnout strategies or solutions they can implement quickly to avoid burnout or quiet quitting, especially for healthcare workers or employees in stand-alone roles with a disproportionate workloads or little autonomy
3. Peer support & digital health apps at scale. We have seen the rise of apps in many settings across mental health. And, no matter how great the innovation is to accelerate technological advancement. You can’t meditate your way out of a having a ‘bad manager’ or having a toxic work culture. Expect On demand mental health solutions to take on a whole new meaning in 2023 and plugging a genuine need for human connectivity. I think we have a huge opportunity to reach men who traditionally do not go to the GP or ask for support in the first instance, but who are overrepresented in accessing service in a crisis, including attempting suicide (white men, over 45, divorced) and police custody (black men x 4 times more likely to be sectioned).
4. Black women & diverse employees. DEI roles have been trending since the pandemic with the spotlight on BLM. Despite, the creation of many new roles, affinity groups and ERGs. Tangible outcomes remain difficult to quantify, yet the need to nurture & retain diverse talent remains at the top of the agenda. In 2023, ‘tick box’ DEI stand- alone roles, or one off workshops that promise to increase psychological safety will no longer be acceptable. Longer term investment strategies in programmes that can leave a lasting legacy to improve representation sends a clear message to all employees that representation STILL really does matter.
5. ‘Just be KIND’ should be the No 1 wellbeing slogan!! Kindness is a basic human quality which if all managers adopted could probably reduce the impact of workplace stress caused by increasing workloads, lack of autonomy or issues with your line manager. Since, the onset of the pandemic emotional plurality & communicating more transparently have set apart ‘good leaders’. In 2023, building emotional currency into the ever-changing, increasingly complicated work environment will become a leadership development focus. Leadership skills that really matter will be how to show compassion, develop empathy and increase personalisation across an increasingly diverse population. People leaders, perhaps it’s time to drop the corporate speak in exchange for some real, authentic conversations.