Careers have spoken to Lynda Guttenberg, HR Generalist at global telecoms company Ericsson, about mental health support for new graduates as well as her career in HR:
Dear Lynda, thank you for speaking with us! What’s your role at Ericsson?
I am an HR Generalist, supporting managers and employees across a range of functions. A key element of my role is leading on UK Wellbeing and our mental health support.
What motivated you to work in Human Resources?
I studied a BSc Psychology and had an interest in working with people. My first job was reception/admin for a boutique recruitment firm, and through this role, I was introduced to an HR consultant. I had not heard of HR before (this was circa 2000), so researched the field. I liked the link to employment law, advice, guidance and problem-solving. My next admin role was with an HR Consulting firm, and on moving to the UK in 2003 I made it my goal to find a job in HR, to gain experience, and develop my knowledge (i.e. Masters in Human Resource Management).
How many employees does Ericsson have in the UK and what do they work on?
We have circa 1,600 employees, who work in predominantly technical and sales roles.
What role does mental health play at Ericsson; how much is this talked about?
The mental health of our employees is key to their overall wellbeing, when employees are feeling at their best, then they perform at their best. We have made mental health support a focus area for 2019, so the dialogue around this is increasing and will continue to do so.
What type of support is available for staff to look after their mental health?
We have a 24/7 confidential counselling service for employees, and we have an early intervention service: when an employee is signed off from work, they can speak with a nurse to support them in their return. In September 2019 we launched an online UK Wellbeing Hub bringing together our wellbeing support, including a dedicated Mental Health Support page. We also just launched a mental health support and mindfulness app – Thrive, which provides access to CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), various mindfulness tools, and coaching support. This support tool should prove valuable, in particular, to colleagues in Field Service Operations who often work remotely. Our next steps for this year, in partnership with Thrive, are to train Mental Health Champions and provide mental health support webinars for our managers.
What particular mental health support, if any, is available to new graduates who join Ericsson?
The same mental health support is available to graduates. In addition, graduates have a focussed induction, are given a buddy, have a personalised development plan, managers are trained in supporting graduates, and we have established a young advisory board to feed into the wider business.
What advice do you have for new graduates who are starting their first graduate job after university: what can they do to look after their mental health?
Organise your time to help you maintain work-life balance which is important for supporting your mental health. Talk with your manager or utilise the support services if ever feeling overwhelmed, talking through situations will always help.
What opportunities are available at Ericsson for new graduates and current students? Where are these opportunities published?
Our vacancies are advertised on our career site https://www.ericsson.com/en/careers
What are your top tips for students who consider HR as a career after graduation? What’s a good way to get a foot into the door?
You need to find a role that will get you in at the ground so that you can learn the foundations of HR in a practical sense. You need to start with strong administration and build on your HR knowledge. HR administration jobs in themselves can be quite competitive, and if you don’t have administration then your HR knowledge will not help on its own. Also think about the industry that you want to work in as it can be quite difficult – although not impossible – to change industries down the line in your career, so think about the type of company you want to work with and focus on administration roles in those industries. Some companies do run HR internships and others have shared services, both of which would provide a good grounding in HR foundation.
Thank you Lynda for speaking to us!
To find out more about careers in HR have a look at these resources.