- Born This Way Foundation, co-founded by pop star Lady Gaga and her mom Cynthia Germanotta, released new research that highlights youth mental health in the workplace and how young employees are feeling about their work environments.
- Research findings indicate a significant number of young professionals are deprived of key benefits that could enhance their wellness and career progression.
- Allwork.Space asked Born This Way Foundation about these findings, why they’re occurring, and what can be done to help younger workers be successful, healthy, and content.
Navigating the professional world can be a daunting task, especially for young professionals who are just stepping onto the corporate ladder. The challenges are manifold — from establishing trust in new communities to managing health and life responsibilities.
But what happens when these young trailblazers don’t receive the support they need? The answer lies in the experiences of countless young employees who grapple with a lack of essential benefits that could boost their wellness and career growth. Young professionals are struggling with mental health support, faith in human resources, affordability of sick leave, and feelings of isolation.
Born This Way Foundation, co-founded by pop star Lady Gaga and her mom Cynthia Germanotta, released new research titled “Kind Communities: Perspectives from Work and Returning to School from Young People” that highlights youth mental health in the workplace and how young employees are feeling about their work environments.
Research findings indicate a significant number of young professionals are deprived of key benefits that could enhance their wellness and career progression.
According to the research:
- A considerable number of young employees lack the necessary support to manage health and life responsibilities.
- Only about 50% can accommodate therapy or mental health sessions, or have the chance to be part of an employer-provided health insurance scheme, with fewer than half having access to a plan that includes mental health coverage.
- Less than half of these young professionals have confidence in their company’s human resources (HR) departments.
- 40% of young employees cannot afford to take a sick leave or vacation.
- Compared to students in school and higher education, young employees are more prone to experiencing loneliness.
Allwork.Space asked Born This Way Foundation about these findings, why they’re occurring, and what can be done to help younger workers be successful, healthy, and content.
Allwork.Space: Why is it that less than half of younger workers surveyed trust their workplaces’ human resource departments? What can be done?
Born This Way Foundation: The transition to the workplace for young people can be difficult, and building trust in new communities can take time. Fortunately, what we do know from our research is that young people who describe their communities as “kind” are more likely to rate their mental health highly compared to young people who do not. Fostering supportive, respectful, and safe workplaces can help support the mental wellbeing of all young workers, particularly transgender and non-binary youth, who reported more challenging workplace experiences than their peers.
We hope the findings from the “Kind Communities: Perspectives from Work and Returning to School among Young People” research will motivate a call to action to invest in kind communities, peer-to-peer programming, and accessible mental health resources in schools, universities, and the workplace to create a kinder, braver world.
Allwork.Space: Why are 40% of young workers unable to take a sick day or time off for vacation?
Born This Way Foundation: While there are many reasons young workers may be unable to take time off, workplace culture may provide some context to this statistic. Unfortunately, we found that the majority of young workers reported “competitive” and “cut throat” workplace environments. These cultural dynamics, coupled with company-specific policies, may make it more difficult for young workers to utilize the time off they may need and deserve.
To improve workplace culture, employers may consider creating an environment where employees feel supported by one another. Examples include but are not limited to: mentorship programs to engage young employees, assistance programs to help support the mental health care of young people, and workplace training on mental health literacy. From our report, we learned that less than half of young workers have access to these resources, which support the mental wellbeing of all people in the workplace.
Allwork.Space: Why do young workers feel so lonely? What can their companies do to improve this? Why is Gen Z different to other generations in this regard?
Born This Way Foundation: The COVID-19 pandemic tremendously disrupted opportunities for social connection over the past several years for all people, including young workers. Gen Z, in particular, has faced overlapping and ongoing crises during important transitional moments in their development, and young people today, while seemingly ever-connected online, in schools, and at work, are facing an unseen epidemic of loneliness. Despite how connected young people are online, they are actually the most lonely age group, according to the US Surgeon General’s advisory on loneliness and isolation.
Our previous research identified that 3 in 4 young workers say that having mental health care coverage through their place of work is important to them. As such, we believe investing in accessible and affordable mental health care services for young workers can foster meaningful improvements.
Companies can ask questions, listen to, and learn from young people about their needs in the workplace in order to take action and implement change. Engaging young people in open and honest dialogue around meaningful workplace connections and relationships can be a great place to start.