Throughout the pandemic, workers have suffered through financial hardships, employment challenges and diminished mental well-being. In response, their focus when considering a company’s benefits has expanded.
A rich benefits package that supports employee mental health and well-being can make it easier for companies to attract the best employees in a competitive job market. Companies can proactively support mental health by giving employees a voice, improving employee benefits to include richer mental health and well-being offerings, and giving employees more flexibility with their time.
Give Employees a Voice
Employee feedback surveys help decision-makers understand the way employees think about things like company processes, ethics and benefits offerings. Surveys are mutually beneficial. Not only do they send a positive message to employees that their feelings are valued, but they also allow leadership to receive valuable input into how they can better engage with their staff.
If surveys are not the right format for your organization or if your employees are suffering “survey fatigue,” consider soliciting feedback back in other ways such as through supervisors or organized focus groups.
Improve Employee Benefits by Including Mental Health
The pandemic drastically increased the need for mental health benefits. Nearly 40% of employers updated their health plans to expand access to mental health services over the last two years, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s 2021 Employer Health Benefits Survey. Many employers are continuing to explore ways to make mental health benefits more affordable and accessible.
About four in 10 workers report their employer hasn’t done enough to support their mental health during the pandemic, according to a survey conducted by Calm for Business. The survey also found that 76% of workers consider mental health benefits critical when evaluating new jobs, meaning that offering mental health benefits could become a competitive advantage in the talent war.
Expanding provider networks and increasing out-of-network coverage are critical steps to making mental health services more affordable and accessible. About one in four patients report they don’t have access to an in-network therapist, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Upgrading and expanding the employee assistance program (EAP) can provide more mental health support. The typical EAP offering provides three sessions per year; consider increasing this number to allow for more free counseling sessions. Telehealth also can provide access to mental health benefits.
Give More Time Flexibility
To support the company’s success, employers need to look for ways to help their employees strike a balance between work and rest. A growing trend in how to accomplish this balance is with well-being (or self-care) days.
Well-being days are designed to address employees’ psychological needs by giving them time to rest. They can be implemented in myriad ways, from giving either a Monday or Friday off so that employees have a long weekend to recharge or a random day off to help employees strike a work-rest balance. The good news for employers is that studies reveal that fewer working hours have been linked to greater productivity because employees are focused on working more efficiently rather than longer (Forbes).
Written by Joy Sanders, Hylant Absence and Leave Management Specialist, and Maddison Bezdicek, Hylant Health Strategies Practice Leader. Hylant is a privately held insurance brokerage that offers employee benefits brokerage and consultation, risk management services, captive consulting and management, M&A and complex business transaction consultation, and loss control services. To learn more, contact Jack Miller, Hylant Market President – Detroit (firstname.lastname@example.org).