Human resource practitioners consider mental health stability a grave concern for Malaysia as employment picks up next year, particularly after the pandemic.
Khairuddin Rahim, former deputy chief executive officer (investment development) of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, said human resource practitioners need to brace themselves to deal with workers’ unsteady emotions.
“No upskilling or additional training can address the theory-cum-practical implications of mindfulness,” he said at a recent dialogue organised by Asian HR consultancy GKK Consultants Sdn Bhd.
At the dialogue attended by some 40 senior human resource personnel from multinational and local corporations, mental health is seen as among the new challenges for Malaysia’s manpower and manpower management.
The professionals are from various industries, such as hospitality, IT, healthcare, food and beverages, manufacturing and oil and gas.
Khairuddin said addressing workers’ mental health and mental stability, coupled with dealing with different characters and personalities, following some two years of isolation was going to take many stressful hours.
“It is expected that HR practitioners would need to ever more gently handle staff so as not to disturb the company’s team equilibrium.
“They would have to tread very carefully to identify mental health traits for better working conditions among teams.”
GKK Consultants chief executive officer Dr Gajendra Balasingam said many human resource directors were becoming more concerned about emotional stress, mental health and the mindfulness of workers.
He said this was particularly so for those not able to face the reality of today’s demanding workplace and at the same time, the sensitive duress of isolation while working from home.
He said to resolve the issue, a different set of soft skills parameters would need to be drawn up regarding mental health at the workplace.
“Many businesses have already started to prepare for a challenging year ahead and early enough as they begin hiring choice personnel to fill vacancies in their companies.”
He said the real test for human resource directors or departments is whether their manpower is ready to face uncertain trials.
“This itself will help many businesses start the new year on a firm, solid footing for a strong business forecast and growth.”
According to the World Health Organisation, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a 25 per cent increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide, a wake-up call for all countries to step up mental health services and support.