Building a Healthier Workplace with Lessons from America’s Veterans

November 20, 2019

By Mike Katz, Executive Vice President of T-Mobile for Business

This month has been an incredible one for T-Mobile and our community of military-veteran employees. Not only did we send 120 employees to march in the New York City Veterans Day parade and host an inspirational talk by Vernice “Flygirl” Armour, America’s first African American fighter pilot at our headquarters, but all week long our halls were bustling with stories and conversations about veterans in the workplace. The fact is, at T-Mobile, celebrating veterans doesn’t just happen one day a year – we recognize their commitment and sacrifices every day! And as an ally to veterans, I always find there is so much to learn and then apply as our veteran’s lessons of commitment, service, leadership and teamwork make T-Mobile a better company for all of us.

What’s more, on November 13, just two days after the country spotlighted our heroes, T-Mobile wasn’t done. That morning, at a ceremony in Washington D.C. hosted by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the company signed the “Pledge to Prioritize Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing in the Workplace.” The point of the pledge was to commit to providing workers — veterans and civilians alike — with the services and resources they need to stay mentally fit.

The “Pledge to Prioritize Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing in the Workplace” ceremony included Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie as well as representatives from the White House and the Department of Labor

Mental health is an issue that impacts everyone, but veterans understand the implications associated with unaddressed mental health challenges in a very personal way. Suicide is a critical issue within the veteran community: At 20 per day, the average veteran suicide rate is far higher than the rest of America’s population. We can’t ignore this alarming stat. And we need learn from it – and the veterans who live it. We can use them as a resource to become more educated on how we can do more for them – and all our employees. By signing this pledge, we’re bringing this critically important conversation around mental health into the workplace and into our lives. My hope is that we, as leaders, allies and coworkers, listen to our military veterans, embrace their resilience and their struggles, and play a more active role in taking better care of each other — in the workplace and beyond.

T-Mobile felt so strongly about this topic that we helped craft the pledge and we were one of the first companies to sign it. I hope others will follow suit. It’s an important step in honoring and validating our veteran heroes. They not only selflessly serve our nation, but they provide essential knowledge and perspective to our workplace.

For more information about T-Mobile’s year-round support of our veteran community, read this article I wrote for Forbes recently.