What does the term “well-being” mean for each of the individuals you employ? Take some time to answer this question, and from there, think about how you can go about meeting the needs of your employees regardless of the current stage of life they’re in or what is going on in the world today. If employees cannot trust that their employer will take care of them, then how can you expect your business to thrive?
While it’s possible that you’re not ignoring the challenges your employees face or the needs that they have as employees of your company, you are still responsible for them, which remains true even if you are underwater yourself. Giving your employees access to nontraditional benefits, such as mental health services, can be difficult, especially if you are facing HR-related issues such as staff shortages.
You might find yourself preoccupied with everything else on your plate, such as making decisions regarding office spaces, attempting to manage workplace culture when you have virtual employees or focusing on retaining employees.
Any of these could play a role in why a lot of employers have found themselves dropping the ball and choosing not to provide their employees with mental health services, resources or support. As a result, numerous employees are finding themselves in difficult situations, resulting in them finding it hard to access the care they need. Even in situations where proper care is offered to them, approximately 43% of respondents to a particular survey by Uprise Health — a provider of digital employee assistance programs — state that support is challenging.
In April, a survey set forth by the American Institute of Stress discovered that 83% of most employees are stressed out for many reasons, though work is the top concern of these individuals. This is quite reasonable, seeing as the COVID-19 outbreak and the pandemic that it caused ultimately increased the number of instances of depression and anxiety worldwide by 25%, as noted by the World Health Organization.
Keeping up with health-related and well-being benefits for your employees might certainly pay for itself, seeing as this effort will result in the improvement of productivity levels, short-term disability claims and relevant resignations. In fact, more than 50% of all employees seem to think that their employer is not doing as much as it could to support the mental health of its employees, according to a survey conducted by The Harris Poll in May.
A lot of factors, including the pandemic, global events such as the war in Ukraine and the dangers of climate change, have all topped the list of all the stressors that impact the mental health of employees on a daily basis. In fact, 68% of said employees have admitted that these issues have caused a very negative impact in terms of their mental health.
Examples of possible situations
- Find a benefits partner that is proactive in offering mental health benefits.
- Devise a workplace strategy with a partner that doesn’t only pitch or sell benefits but works with employers and employees in ways that benefit everyone.
- Look for a partner that is more of a consultant and ask them to assist your firm in the process of removing yourself from a crisis-reactive mode.
Last year, 98% of the employers that have benefited from mental health benefits have added or planned to add mental health services for their employees, according to Sequoia, a benefits consultancy. Ensuring that the benefits being offered accurately address the needs of the employees could very well be a reason to focus on conducting an employee audit.
Questions to ask as you look for a mental health benefits program
- How quickly can employees schedule an appointment with you and your company?
- Can your employees access the profiles of therapists, seek out additional information about the backgrounds of said therapists and understand their specialties?
- Is there a care navigator who can walk employees through the process of defining what their needs are, such as a licensed therapist or a lifestyle coach?
Ways to encourage your employees to take advantage of mental health benefits
- Provide your employees with direct access to mental health professionals, both on the phone and via in-person appointments.
- Offer the service not only to your employees but also to their immediate families.
- Emphasize that numerous benefits can be easily accessed, both confidentially as well as completely free of charge.
- Take measures to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illnesses and mental health support while increasing the access your employees have to mental health resources. You can even extend invitations to your employees to attend workshops where they can learn as much as they can about all that pertains to both mental health and resilience.
- Make it a point to provide your employees with access to apps and other related technology that can assist them with maintaining healthy sleep cycles and reducing the amount of stress they endure because of work.
With all that said, companies such as PwC have disregarded the one-size-fits-all approach to providing benefits. Instead, the company has expanded its list of benefits-related options to include mental health services and access to providers.
As an employer, you should encourage your employees to make use of the benefits offered to them. You can do so by making it a point to normalize conversations regarding mental health in your workplace. Also, do as much as you can to make it as simple as possible for your staff members to take advantage of the mental health services and benefits you are offering them without making them feel uncomfortable.
Also, make sure you offer a wide array of services, and take measures to communicate these services to everyone so that you can ensure they all have equal access to said information. That way, nobody will feel left out because everyone will be included in everything at hand.
From there, request the feedback you need so that you can be sure your employees are fully aware of the benefits; do so in ways that encourage your staff to take advantage of the opportunities and use them to the best of their abilities.