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Supporting the wellbeing and resilience of senior leaders to ensure sustainable growth

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Mental Health

Supporting the wellbeing and resilience of senior leaders to ensure sustainable growth

New report outlines concrete steps for improving the wellbeing, performance, and retention of senior leaders after 82 per cent of leaders surveyed indicated burnout

LifeWorks, a leading provider of digital and in-person total wellbeing solutions, and Deloitte Canada today released a report outlining a playbook to support the wellbeing and resiliency of senior leaders. This guide incorporates input from organizations in Canada, including some with global operations.

This playbook follows research released by LifeWorks and Deloitte Canada in July 2021, which underscored the need for organizations to proactively support senior leaders. The survey revealed that 82 per cent typically feel the mental and/or physical exhaustion indicative of burnout and 51 per cent were contemplating leaving, retiring, or downshifting from their current organization or position.

The four key action areas outlined in the new report are as follows:

  • Reduce stigma regarding mental health: In the survey,55 per cent expressed concern about their career opportunities if their employer became aware they had a mental health issue. Reducing stigma, taking tangible steps toward a psychologically safe environment, and encouraging leaders to show up authentically all help create an inclusive and healthier workplace culture.
  • Strengthen peer relationships: Fifty-nine per cent report that work peers are helpful in supporting resilience, however 65 per cent of peer relationships worsened throughout the pandemic. In addition, 59 per cent of those with improved peer relationships reported improved productivity. Strained peer-to-peer relationships increase tension by fueling a competitive environment focused solely on personal achievements, which may be at the expense of others and organizational performance.
  • Enhance mental health and wellbeing support: Ninety-six per cent indicated their mental health had worsened since the start of the pandemic. Inadequate access to, or use of, wellbeing support increases the risk of burnout and resentment toward work, and lowered efficacy.
  • Rethink work: Sixty-eight per cent reported the top source of work-related stress was sheer volume of work. Organizations should rethink their approach to work, addressing expanding workloads and work complexity, and implementing better prioritization.

Comments from global leader and senior vice president, research and total wellbeing, LifeWorks, Paula Allen
“Senior leaders carry an immense weight on their shoulders when it comes to workplace changes and stressors. Not only are they experiencing these challenges themselves, but they also need to provide support for their direct reports. While it has been encouraging to see a larger emphasis placed on employee wellbeing since the pandemic emerged, senior leaders are often left out of the conversation. Organizations will see their business outcomes suffer if this continues.”

Comments from executive advisor, future of work and lead CHRO20, Deloitte Canada, Zabeen Hirji
“Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of senior leaders is being recognized as paramount to organizational performance and resiliency. So, it’s not surprising to see CEOs and executive teams personally leading these efforts and even some Boards playing a role. Organizations need to build a culture where leaders are encouraged and supported to fit their own oxygen masks first, as leaders cannot support the workforce without the right foundation for their own wellbeing.”

The full LifeWorks and Deloitte Canada report can be found here. The report includes additional recommendations on both short- and long-term initiatives, targeting the four elements of the framework.

About LifeWorks
LifeWorks is a world leader in providing digital and in-person solutions that support the total wellbeing of individuals – mental, physical, financial and social. As the trusted leader in mental health and wellbeing, LifeWorks delivers a personalized continuum of care that helps our clients improve the lives of their people and by doing so, improve their business. Guided by our purpose to improve lives and improve business, we help our clients improve the wellbeing of their people, we help them improve workforce engagement and productivity, thereby improving the performance of our clients’ organizations. LifeWorks is a publicly traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: LWRK). The Company has approximately 7,000 employees, 25,000 clients, and serves 36 million individuals and their families around in more than 160 countries.

About Deloitte
Deloitte provides audit and assurance, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, tax, and related services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. Deloitte serves four out of five Fortune Global 500® companies through a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries and territories bringing world-class capabilities, insights, and service to address clients’ most complex business challenges. Deloitte LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership, is the Canadian member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.

Our global Purpose is making an impact that matters. At Deloitte Canada, that translates into building a better future by accelerating and expanding access to knowledge. We believe we can achieve this Purpose by living our shared values to lead the way, serve with integrity, take care of each other, foster inclusion, and collaborate for measurable impact. To learn more about Deloitte’s approximately 330,000 professionals, over 11,000 of whom are part of the Canadian firm, please connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.


Brontë Campbell

Paula Allen

Jennifer Farr
Kaiser & Partners

Source: LifeWorks