EXCLUSIVE: Cayla Kitayama (pictured), Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) benefits at technology organisation Google, will discuss mental health and the changing landscape of wellbeing strategies at Employee Benefits Live 2018.
Kitayama’s keynote presentation, titled ‘Putting health and wellbeing at the heart of your benefits strategy’, will open the two-day event’s conference programme on Tuesday 2 October 2018 at 10.00am.
The session will explore how the wellbeing space has developed in relation to benefits, moving from medical and life insurances into a clearer focus around mental health. Kitayama will highlight why mental health in particular is so important for employers to consider, as well as provide recommendations on what organisations can do in this space.
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Kitayama said: “Mental health is really important and that’s an area that should be focused on when [employers are] thinking of benefits strategies and how [they] create [their] benefits. What can [employers] do to make people more aware of it, to help equip managers and business partners to help support their employees, and how can [organisations] help the employees themselves take ownership of this space? One of the things I want people to really take away is what they can do, what can they implement in their own [organisations].”
As well as talking about the wellbeing landscape more generally, Kitayama will specifically speak on what Google as an employer does, and how it creates and implements its own strategies and programmes around both wellbeing and benefits. “I’m very conscious of people just feeling [that] Google [is] a big employer, [it] has loads of money, of course [it] can create these programmes. But there’s a whole thing that all employers can do, regardless of size,” Kitayama added.
Kitayama will further use examples from Google to showcase the organisation’s experience of benefits within a growing organisation, and will demonstrate how it applies a global philosophy to localised country benefits programmes.
The session will also explore the role of the employer in employee wellbeing. Kitayama said: “As employers, I think we have a really unique opportunity here to help in that space. As employers who are responsible for the wellbeing of our employees, it’s our responsibility to really help support in this area.”
Kitayama will also discuss the UK’s current scene for mental wellbeing at work, explaining that employees are now aware of mental health and are happy to acknowledge that they may need some form of help; however, this is very different from actively seeking assistance. Kitayama feels this is where employers can have an impact.
“Benefits exist to attract and retain employees and what we’ve seen a lot over the years is that things such as stress, anxiety and depression, these are some of the most crippling areas that people are really suffering with,” she explained. “[These have] knock-on impacts to other parts of the benefits programme in general. For the employee, they obviously have to feel the best they can be.”
Employee Benefits Live 2018 will take place on Tuesday 2 and Wednesday 3 October 2018 at ExCeL London.