July 12, 2017 5:11 AM

Employer Branding: Accepting Mental Health As a Part of Workplace Happiness

Let's talk about mental health. It's often overlooked in the workplace, despite having a more significant effect on productivity than physical illness or injury. So why do we ignore it? In 2017, why are we still allowing old stigmas to get in the way of employee happiness?

This week we learned about Olark's CEO Ben Congleton and his amazing response to an employee who decided to take some leave for her mental health. Ben obviously has his employee's best interests at heart, and his response encourages his team to take care of their mental wellbeing whenever they feel the need to. 

Olark employee Madalyn Parker was not feeling her best and knew it was time to slow down. In a testament to the workplace culture at Olark, Madalyn felt she could send the following email without negative repurcussions - and we love that she did.

Madalyn Parker.jpg

Following Ben's response, Madalyn posted the exchange on Twitter to show other employers how it's done. Madalyn followed up to responses asking why she didn't just take vacation days by explaining that her mental health is just as important as her physical health, and if she doesn't need to spend vacation days to take care of the latter, why should she be expected to do so for the former? It's a great question.


The World Health Organization emphasizes the importance of mental health in the workplace in its Mental Health Policies and Programmes in the Workplace packet, which states “The development and implementation of a workplace mental health policy and programme will benefit the health of employees, increase productivity for the company and will contribute to the wellbeing of the community at large.” But the US Department of Labor has not caught up, and employers who provide health coverage as part of their benefits are not required to extend this to mental health services.


This week Olark has gone viral in a stark contrast to Uber's recent infamy. Despite being a small company, Olark now has an employer brand to be proud of and we are sure that they will have the cream of the crop to choose from in future job openings.


We recently wrote about the importance of employee retention, even to recruiters. The best way to hire great talent is to keep the talent you have. If you're struggling to fill roles with great people, speak to vsource today about candidate sourcing and mapping your talent pool - we can help.

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