Top Places to Work: Are Employees asking the Right Questions? Are Leaders Taking the Right Focus?

What makes a company good for employees? The annual rankings for “best places to work” are rolling in. But do the metrics used to build those rankings address the current priorities of the workforce? Employees making critical decisions about where they want to work are increasingly focused on mental health and wellness, factors seldom considered in identifying the “best workplaces.”

Take LinkedIn’s recently released Top Companies 2022: The 50 Best workplaces to grow your career in the U.S. These rankings were based on seven pillars: ability to advance, skills growth, company stability, external opportunity, company affinity, gender diversity and spread of educational opportunity. But core questions around company culture and employee wellness were missing.

Nearly 72% of employees want employers to champion mental health and well-being according to a Peldon Rosen survey. That was in 2018. These concerns are only more pressing after several years of upheaval and continued instability.

Robust mental health and wellness programs increasingly define the new social contract between employees and employers. To really understand if a company is a great place to work, employees are looking proactively at whether a company’s culture prioritizes mental health and wellness by asking a few key questions.

How does the company support employee wellbeing?

This includes not just the offerings and benefits, but how individuals are supported. Leaders should seize opportunities to gather employee feedback through surveys or townhalls; encourage Employee Resource Groups (ERG) to foster openness and collaboration; and make Employee Assistance Programs easily accessible and available across all levels of the organization.

Who is successful at the company?

How is value assessed? Are leaders evaluated only on how much revenue they bring in? Or are they rewarded for supporting co-workers, promoting psychological safety, and practicing open, transparent, and vulnerable communication? Leaders can align awards, recognition, and performance measures to equitably support a mentally healthy workplace.

What metrics or goals does the company use to evaluate its performance?

Company performance shouldn’t be solely defined by revenue goals but should be broadened to include mental health goals. In fact, the two go together. A company’s mental health strategy should be based on clear metrics in key areas such as leadership, culture, work design, training, benefits, and resources. These should be measured, monitored, and reported year over year.

To help with this process, One Mind at Work has just launched the Mental Health at Work Index as an exclusive benefit to its members. The Index is built on an evidence-based framework to measure and improve workforce mental health programs. Leaders have the opportunity to collaborate with mental health-driven organizations to engage in self-assessments and take the right steps to improve outcomes.

No matter how high they rank, companies that don’t fully support employee wellbeing will never be great places to work. Employers must make sure they are asking the right questions about what employees truly want and need, and working intentionally to drive progress — or they won’t live up to their rankings.