Empathetic Leadership — Mental Health and the Workplace

Session Preview

Tasmin Plater

SVP, Global Head of Human Resources

Fifth Season

Amanda Cole

Co-Founder and Board Member

The Mental Health Coalition


Recent socio-political and economic climates have left the workforce mentally and emotionally strained, and human resources leaders are challenged with if and how they should support employees during these times. For CHROs, research shows addressing these matters can have benefits for everyone.

At the upcoming Southern California CHRO Executive Summit on December 15, Amanda Cole, Co-Founder and Board Member of The Mental Health Coalition and Tasmin Plater, SVP, Global Head of Human Resources at FIFTH SEASON will be leading an open discussion on this topic entitled, “Empathetic Leadership — Mental Health and the Workplace.” Here, they will address research surrounding stress, burnout and workplace anxieties; how a focus on mental health is necessary for organizations’ retention, productivity and morale; and actions CHROs can take today.

Ahead of their session, Cole and Plater are sharing insight into how CHROs can benefit from creating a culture of well-being in the workplace:

Why is it important for HR leaders to address mental health in the workplace?

Cole:  “Although it can be difficult to talk about mental health in the workplace, doing so benefits everyone. When mental health is addressed by leaders, employees are happier, productivity improves, and the workplace becomes a healthier environment.” 

Plater:  “Especially since the pandemic, many in the workforce are experiencing new levels of stress and anxiety from a personal and professional level. When HR normalizes these feelings from a genuine and authentic point of view, we are able to create a more inclusive, balanced, respected workplace where people feel safe and heard. This sense of comfort then leads to employees feeling taken care of by the business. Ideally, this will in turn result in positive contributions from the employee that impact the business positively.”

What are some challenges HR leaders can face if they avoid addressing mental health in the future? 

Cole:  “While not everyone deals with a clinical mental health condition, everyone has mental health and experiences things like stress, burnout, workplace social anxiety, and performance anxiety. If these issues go unchecked, they can be a source of employee dissatisfaction and result in real business implications such as decreased productivity and poor retention, especially amongst younger workers and those from underrepresented groups.” 

Plater:  “By not providing a sympathetic culture towards mental health, a business may be impacted in both visible and invisible ways - from people taking more time off to silent quitting. Ignoring the behavioral and mental health of a workforce could lead to long-lasting impacts.”

Why is it critical for the Evanta CHRO community to have this conversation now? 

Cole:  “We are living through a mental health epidemic that’s only gotten worse since COVID-19. 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health condition at some point in their lives. That means 4 in 4 people are significantly impacted directly, or indirectly through someone they know. Mental Health is what we all have in common but it still takes necessary bravery to be open and transparent with ourselves and each other.  As top leaders in HR, the Evanta CHRO community has an important opportunity to support each other in modeling the courageous leadership the business world needs.” 

Plater: “The workforce is going through an unprecedented time managing fatigue from a global pandemic, increasing inflation impacts, and adjusting to new ways businesses are evolving. This was always an important conversation to have, there are just new issues today
that need to be included in the discussion.”


Join this conversation with Amanda Cole of The Mental Health Coalition and Tasmin Plater of Fifth Season at the Southern California CHRO Executive Summit on December 15, or find your local community to connect with likeminded C-level peers on the most critical issues impacting CHROs today.


Content adapted from the Southern California CHRO Executive Summit. Special thanks to all participating companies.

by CHROs, for CHROs

Join the conversation with peers in your local CHRO community.