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As featured on BusinessMirror: Advancing the Future of Women in Business

According to the 2023 KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit Report conducted by KPMG U.S., executive women perceive an exponential surge of stress in the workplace compared to pre-pandemic levels. The stress is attributed to increased workload and expectations tied to managing the mental health of their teams in addition to their own.

 The annual study considered insights from over 1,500 executive women from leading companies across the United States who are past participants of the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit on mental health in the workplace and the importance of prioritizing well-being.

Key findings:

Stress at work continues to escalate

  • 91% of executive women perceive an exponential surge of stress in the workplace compared with pre-pandemic levels.
  • 70% of executive women attribute higher stress in the workplace to increased workloads and expectations.
  • 58% of executive women report added responsibilities stemming from the need to help manage their teams’ mental health and wellness on top of their own.

Executive women prioritize self-care and seek support

  • 79% of executive women report that wellness has become increasingly critical to their job success over the past couple of years.
  • 79% of executive women have prioritized wellness by scheduling time for self-care, setting boundaries, focusing on healthy habits, connecting with others and seeking support.
  • To support the mental health and wellness of their teams, executive women show authenticity and empathy (58%) while leading by example through setting boundaries (54%) and prioritizing time out of the office (52%). 
  • 87% of executive women report intentionally giving themselves downtime for self-care, and 69% report making sacrifices to make time for wellness.
  • Almost all (98%) of the women executives surveyed prioritize spending quality time with family and friends.

Women want more support from employers on mental health and well-being

  • While our findings indicate a deeper understanding of the positive impacts when organizations create and sustain wellness initiatives for leaders and their teams, 71% of executive women say organizations need to do more for leaders who are supporting their employees’ mental health and well-being while managing their own — especially during challenging times.

Be the change: best practices for a better you

By modeling behaviors that promote well-being, more female leaders are gaining trust with their teams. Sharing their own vulnerabilities and mental health challenges helps reduce the stigma surrounding mental well-being and showcases a leader’s humanity, authenticity and relatability.

The issues on the surge of stress in the workplace for executive women, prioritizing self-care, seeking support, and the need for employer support on mental health and well-being, are all relevant and crucial topics in the Philippine corporate landscape.

The country has a highly competitive work environment and executive women often face intense pressure to balance work and personal life. As women continue to break barriers in leadership roles, the need for prioritizing their well-being becomes paramount to ensure sustained success and productivity.

While many Philippines companies are recognizing the importance of addressing mental health issues and providing resources to support their employees' well-being, building a culture of malasakit, that resonates with many Filipinos, is something that Philippine companies can also consider. Malasakit is our culture of caring for others and advancing this will help promote personnel looking out for others, offering the support needed, regardless of position or level.

Sharon G. Dayoan
Chairman and CEO and Head of People, Performance and Culture
KPMG in the Philippines

Create a culture of caring

Leadership is instrumental in driving cultural change that prioritizes employee well-being and promotes greater acceptance, caring and emotional support. Consider the following action steps to build on the momentum of your organization’s health and well-being efforts.

  • Normalize mental health and wellness. Open and honest communication will help remove the stigma associated with mental well-being. Host events or forums to increase awareness of mental health offerings and provide opportunities for employees to share personal stories of their well-being journeys. Seeing employees as holistic individuals will help everyone in the long run. Team members perform better when recognized as their whole self, not just employees.
  • Engage with your employees to understand their stress – and then act. There is no one-size-fits-all policy for mental health and well-being. What works for one employee may not work for another. Consider continuous listening strategies
    to understand what team members need to be successful mentally and physically. Then evaluate the trainings and programs currently in place to ensure employees are aware they exist and are providing support.
  • Create a culture of mental well-being. Encourage connection, communication and understanding, as well as sharing best practices for creating healthy boundaries and protecting your needs.
  • Equip leaders to lead by example. To instill a culture of caring, executives must lead the way. Leadership starts from the top down, and actions speak louder than words. Provide resources and tools to help leaders role model healthy habits, setting boundaries and taking time out of the office. These practices will inspire team members to do the same. 

The excerpt was taken from the KPMG Thought Leadership publication: https://womensleadership.kpmg.us/summit/kpmg-womens-leadership-report-2023.html

© 2023 R.G. Manabat & Co., a Philippine partnership and a member firm of the KPMG global organization of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee. All rights reserved.

For more information, you may reach out to Chairman and CEO Sharon G. Dayoan through ph-kpmgmla@kpmg.com, social media or visit www.home.kpmg/ph.

This article is for general information purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice to a specific issue or entity. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent KPMG International or KPMG in the Philippines.