When the World Economic Forum held its 2021 Davos Agenda event in January, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan and a number of other company leaders were among global heads of state and government, business, civic and academic leaders who connected virtually to advance their vision for a more inclusive, cohesive and sustainable future. The week-long event included over 100 sessions on topics ranging from how to save the planet to society and the future of work.
Bank of America Chief Human Resources Officer Sheri Bronstein was one of six corporate leaders invited to share perspective on how to improve mental health in the workplace. Sheri emphasized the need to make emotional wellness a top priority, in the same way we address physical wellness. She added that attention needs to be given to lifting the stigma on the topic of mental health to create a more open and supportive environment for employees. As employers, she said, we need to lead by example—creating and participating in programs, sharing perspectives and providing access to resources that address the unique mental health needs of a diverse workforce.
The global cost of mental health challenges resulting in lost productivity, absences and turnover is estimated to be around $2.5 trillion annually, according to the World Economic Forum.1
The backdrop to the leaders’ comments was the impact of the coronavirus, which has caused feelings of uncertainty, stress, isolation and economic hardship. As employers worked through the challenges presented by the coronavirus, it sharpened their focus on the issue of mental health and the toll it has taken on society.
The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) community—a community of more than 100 CHROs from leading multinational companies—is coordinating global efforts for better mental health in the workplace.
1 World Economic Forum, Davos January 2021, www.weforum.org.