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Defrost the Frosted – Mental Wellness at Workplace : Dr. Samta Jain

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Dr. Samta Jain has earned Doctorate in Psychology, in addition to MS in psychology and MBA in HRM and Marketing. She is currently practicing as a Clinical Psychologist and also is Vice President and Group Head: HR , IR and Admin at Teamglobal Logistics Pvt Ltd., Asia’s leading LCL Consolidators for the last 7 and half  years and taking care of Global HR.

She has earned many International certifications from Duke University, Princeton University, University of Maryland. She is certified from ECCH for case writing skills and has published more than 15 cases in International and National platforms like ECCH, CMR and Ivey.

She is a certified NLP Practitioner,  Certified Mindfulness Coach,  Certified GRID facilitator, Certified She has 22 years of experience in Corporate and academic fields and has extended several training programs, consultations to Corporate, NGO’s and Academic Institutions. She was on regular training panels for Rajasthan Police Academy, Master Chef etc.

Her consultations include corporate restructuring, Recruitments, Job Profiling, Performance Appraisal and Reward Systems, Job Evaluations, Competency Mapping, Assessment Centres, behavioral and soft skills trainings etc.

She is also an author of half a dozen books, writer and regular contributor to many magazines and Journals of National and International level. She has contributed 100 National and International Papers.

Intrigued by the fact of corporate world, wherein maximum people apply for leaves on the pretext of personal reasons and physical illness, I started getting more insights to the actual reasons of absenteeism at workplace.  As a mental health professional for many years, I understand that mental health is still considered as a social taboo and people at work refrain from talking about it and It could naturally relate to the truth that absenteeism is never assigned a reason of mental health.

The fact that the ruthless cycles of pandemic, the recession, the Great resignation still couldn’t surface the compounding effects of mental health but thankfully it is coupled with  little better awareness about mental wellness.  Undoubted though “they are more live than life”  and the concept of mental health still remain frosted, cluttered, rested and not talked about.

Today, within the work and life perimeter lies a deep network of feelings and emotions but the good aspect is that the HR professionals have started to appreciate the value of “being humans and be in human.” Indian Companies have started embracing  the new business imperative of Mental Health of team members and are investing time and efforts in providing wellness platforms, apps and touch points at all levels of organizational growth. But to have more sustainable approach the need of the hour is the cultural shift, to have parallel initiatives  of cultural exchange, action philosophy along with the euphemisms of mental health, circled wellness and mental fitness etc. The demands at workplace are becoming more competitive with the overwhelming and unsustainable work which has increased attrition leading to stress and burnout for those employees who are retained by the companies and continue to work relentlessly.

Common communication in recent exits have been revolving around growth, boredom, monotonous profiles, stressful environment, aspirations, work life balance, only  to list  a few from the conversations from the exit discussions. The workaholism at workplace has exacerbated this leading to employee burnout and this actually calls for attention to “ Mental Health at Workplace.”

The golden strings of the cobwebs

As there is no classless society and  no equal world, the dynamics of mental health has to be understood by the companies.  The executives, the administrators, the C-suites are also not immune to the impact of mental health challenges. The HR role is more imperative as a support system, a facilitator, a guide and a coach.  The best aspect of corporate scenario is all functional and vertical heads have to enact the HR at some point in time. The nuances of mental health symptoms should be picked up from under-performance, absenteeism, inefficiency and insufficiency on behalf of the team members.

Today, we are experiencing that at the forefront of the business are the ESG (Environmental, Social and Government) strategies, mental health, concepts of sustainable and circular economy.  Need is to start creating a flourishing culture for the well -being of the people. The golden strings are that emotions and mind are most powerful and can be capitalized and channelized for career growth and organizational development so the corporate must now circle  the business strategies around “ well -being capital” which in true sense is a  business output. When we develop deliberated well-being strategies than companies can see pronounced growth trajectory and have positive impact on the bottom line.

The Employers Call

Mental health should not be seen in silos as it needs to be a collective priority. Management must see this as a top down approach but the ownership should lie at all levels. The functional heads, managers and the  team leaders must be trained on how to navigate through mental health challenges of co-workers, peers, team members and colleagues  at work. They must learn the art and science of  scheduling crucial conversations, conflict management, fostering transparency, creating a candid culture and building transparency and openness in culture at workplace.

Organizational Leaders and HR Heads must consider psychological safety as a key and deliverables for this must be strategically and mindfully considered in formats of mental health championships, peer listening initiatives, emotional café etc. Simplistic work designs, work flows, processes, maintaining boundaries, fair communication, encouraging responsiveness can create a healthy environment. Providing flexibility, autonomy, empowerment can change the cultural sentiments of the companies and induce them to be more sustainable and inclusive. The companies must aim to ensure adequate required resources and bandwidth to perform the jobs.

When we talk about the frosted emotions, the frozen feelings and the difficult personalities, we can’t undermine the importance and mandate of having a deeper human connect, more empathy and authenticity. It certainly calls for a radical cultural change, mind shift and compassion.

The Need of the hour is to create a welcoming, equitable and supportive work culture in order to minimize acute mental health disruptions amongst the employees. The shame and stigma associated with mental health needs to be reduced and all of us need to be the change catalyst for the same.

Author :

Dr. Samta Jain, Vice President and Group Head HR/IR and Admin , Teamglobal Logistics, Mumbai

samtaj@teamglobal.in; success_ensured@yahoo.com

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