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Not investing in employees’ mental health is bad business

Rob Enderle | Feb. 20, 2017
A series of studies shows that millennials and CEOs have something in common: depression. Columnist Rob Enderle writes that not investing in them isn’t just bad business, it is stupid management.

Finally, the CEO goes from a structure where they are rewarded for personal performance to one where they are rewarded for company performance, but they increasingly lack the skills and training to assure what they are compensated for. It is a wonder we don’t have more people from both groups ending badly.

Fixing the problem

Well, the first step is to actually recognize that there is a problem. Firms seem to want to cover up issues with a CEO, and ignore them with new employees, neither tactic has been working out very well. Mentoring at both ends needs to go back to being a thing. New employees need to develop a plan for where they want to go and CEOs for what they’d like to do next. If performance is being adversely impacted and health seems to be declining there needs to be an effort at both ends to determine and address the causes.  

One of the big causes is that while companies tend to refer to employees as “their greatest asset” they tend to be overly focused on quarterly results these days and have cut investment in employee development dramatically.   That will be an increasing problem with millennials in particular, resulting in lower productivity, higher absenteeism and increased employee turnover.

Taking care of employees should be a higher priority than it is

This isn’t about not hiring millennials and just hiring older workers. It’s about the fact that as older workers retire, there is a growing need to increase employee care and provide for the mental health of the employees coming in. If you don’t want to do that these younger employees will increasingly underperform and become problems that will significantly reduce the firm’s ability to compete.

In the end, these young employees are our sons and daughters, they are our legacy, and they will be the ones who assure the work we did lasts into the future. Not investing in them isn’t just bad business, it is stupid management and fixing that should be a far higher priority than it is. The fact that similar problems exist at the top of the company is also an irony that shouldn’t be lost on any board of directors.  


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