Employers Should Take an Active Role in Employee Mental Health
Despite the mutual benefits of mental health support, it’s unclear whether employers and employees are aligned when it comes to what that support looks like. According to Evernorth’s Health Care in Focus report, workers want support that helps them deal with issues like work-life balance, stress and burnout. This goes beyond what many employers are currently doing, which is providing traditional benefits and resources for employees to improve their mental health on their own. Employees desire an organizational culture and workplace environment that values their mental health. While benefits and resources are an important part of that, companies also need to take a broader approach by promoting the importance of maintaining mental well-being across their entire workforce.
The strategy and tactics for building and sustaining a work culture that values mental health can vary by organization. However, there are some basic steps to help employers get started:
- Demonstrate a commitment to mental health at all levels of the organization, starting at the top. Senior executives and managers can lead by example by engaging in health and wellness programs and taking time out from work to destress, encouraging everyone to take care of their well-being.
- Get employees involved. Confidential surveys and assessments, as well as employee focus groups, can help organizations better understand the specific mental health issues their workforce is facing, and determine the right set of benefits and support programs that can serve everyone.
- Make it easy to access mental health support. This is more than offering a wide range of services, including face-to-face counseling, support groups, digital apps, and Employee Assistance Programs. It also means educating workers about this support, and providing clear instructions on how to find and use these services. This also involves destigmatizing mental health concerns like stress, isolation, and depression, so people feel more comfortable seeking help for such issues.
- Continuously check progress. Keep the lines of communication open to gather employee feedback on their mental health status, as well as the effectiveness of support programs and initiatives. It is also important to make adjustments to mental health programs when needed.
Employers have a vested interest in the mental health of their employees. It is vital for people to be present, resilient, and perform at work – which is not only good for them personally, but also good for business.
From our Friends at Cigna Healthcare