How LinkedIn is Fostering a Mentally Healthy Workplace Culture

No matter the severity, everyone deserves help in their time of need; LinkedIn’s Head of Global Wellness, Michael Susi, shares how LinkedIn helps employees tackle tough issues

Michael Susi | Director of Global Wellness at Linkedin

This article was orignally published on Mind Share Partners' "Mental Health at Work" section on Thrive Global.

At LinkedIn, we talk about our talent—employees—being the number one operating priority. The steps we take to care for our employees is underpinned by our actions which put their needs first and create thoughtful internal programs supporting employees where they have a need and are aligned with LinkedIn’s mission, vision, and values.

From our wellness program’s outset, it has been based on our 6 Tenets of Wellness: Thoughts; Breathing; Hydration; Nutrition; Movement; and Rest. These individual components make up a framework from which our program initiatives are based and for individuals to use as a checklist of how they care for themselves. The 6 Tenets of Wellness for a human are analogous to sunlight, soil, and water for a plant. Through the first tenet—thoughts—we have established a guiding light for our wellness program to have a strong mental health component.

Each month, we give employees one day to invest in themselves, their community, and the world—called InDay (short for “Investment” Day). We’ve found that many employees use this day to positively invest in their mental health. Each year, September’s InDay is dedicated to wellness and we offer global programs related to raising awareness, understanding, and improving an employee’s mental health. In the case that an employee is dealing with a mental health condition, we offer a free Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that provides confidential services to help employees in times of crisis, 24/7. We also have a global ERG, called EnableIn, that assists employees who may be dealing with a mental health condition.

A major part of the Thoughts tenet is mindfulness. We have built a very extensive mindfulness program that gives employees an opportunity to learn about and engage in a wide range of mindfulness practices, both onsite and online. We focus on using mindfulness to help employees develop strategies that will serve their needs. In the more immediate experience, it helps in recognizing discontent and not exhibiting negative behaviors as a result of their discontent (i.e. yelling at your spouse because you lost a sale at work).

Further, to support our employees, we have rolled out meditation rooms in our Sunnyvale, San Francisco, New York, and Sydney offices, with other launches planned in the near future. In 2018, we focused on the first Tenet, “thoughts,” and put together a program that encompassed our global benefits around the offering. We called the campaign “Keep In Mind.” In it, we highlighted existing programs and resources available to employees that deal with physical, mental, emotional, and financial health. Here are lessons and takeaways learned through the launch of the campaign.

Starting at Zero

We were fortunate enough to start our program at a time in LinkedIn’s life where there were fewer than 1,000 employees globally, making the scalability of the program quickly achievable. By being involved early in the company’s growth cycle, we were able to grow the program alongside the headcount. We also began year 1 solely within our HQ campus. This allowed us to Beta-test the program and gather learnings before we set our sights on taking the program to our global workforce.

In addition to naming the tenets, we also introduced opportunities for employees to learn about, engage in, and develop strategies around the thoughts tenet. We did this by following our program’s mission to create these opportunities in ways that met people where they are. We defined this as opportunities that were onsite, online, and in our communities.