Ideas
January 29, 2021 11:18 AM EST
Margaret Keane is chief executive officer of Synchrony Financial

Many business leaders talk about creating a better, more inclusive world. There’s one important way in which they could actually do it.

Over the next decade, corporate America must deepen its investment in solutions for the mental health and well-being of employees. It is essential to the success of a thriving workforce and society.

The pandemic has shifted the role of businesses, where companies have now become more responsible for the health and safety of their people and their families. But business leaders can also help address the impacts of mental and physical health and help close the nation’s income inequality gap long after the pandemic ends. Offering benefits to employees such as wellness counselors or life coaches, teletherapy, remote or flexible work options, and innovative childcare support should become table stakes.

Business leaders can also help end the stigma that surrounds mental health and normalize discussions around well-being, employee assistance programs and resources. Companies can anticipate employees’ needs by fostering an inclusive, safe environment for honest conversations and creating new channels and practices to make listening a more consistent part of how we work.

I believe businesses have an obligation to bolster investments in wellness and mental health. Companies will see real business value and a productive, more engaged workforce. That’s what our future generations are calling for, and that’s what they deserve.

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