Employers are in a unique position to help employees through this era of uncertainty, and businesses that invest in mental health stand to benefit the most. Mental health is no longer just a matter of personal wellness; it’s now a business metric as well. Below are three ways to maximize mental health investment as we enter the home stretch of the pandemic.
- BE PROACTIVE
When it comes to mental health, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Happy employees tend to stay happy when given proper support and development opportunities. Unhappy employees, on the other hand, are much harder to reinvigorate once they’ve become burned out or disillusioned.
The good news is that preventing burnout is one of the easiest ways an employer can boost employees’ mental health. Learning and development (L&D) programs have a huge impact on employee well-being, most surveyed citing L&D programs as a must-have for success. Putting programs like this in place before burnout crops up will keep employees happy and motivated and give them someone to turn to if the going gets tough.
Good mental health in the workplace doesn’t just happen; it’s the result of a work environment specifically built to promote happiness and well-being among employees.
- INVEST IN HIGH-IMPACT AREAS.
Investing in employee mental health is one of the best investments a business can make. According to a recent Deloitte study of Canadian organizations, businesses that invest in mental health programs saw a median annual ROI of CA $1.62 for every dollar spent. This number rose to $2.18 for programs that were in place for three or more years. And, according to a separate study, early-intervention programs like crisis counseling, behavioral health screening and emotional fitness guidance can have ROIs of up to $65 for every dollar spent. Compared to other common business investments, these programs are a bargain.
Targeting low-hanging fruit, like mental healthcare benefits and mental health treatment, can have a huge impact on a business’s productivity. Robust mental healthcare benefits help not just current employees but also help with retention and recruiting. So, do your current healthcare plans cover mental health treatment? If so, to what degree?. The pandemic has ushered in a shortage of mental health care resources, so giving employees the help they need can create a competitive advantage for your business in addition to providing desperately needed help to those in need
- PRIORITIZE LEADERSHIP TRAINING.
A whopping 92% of employees said they would be more likely to stay with their job if their bosses showed more empathy. Productivity metrics confirm this: Leaders who manage their employees with empathy see 21% higher productivity on average. This means one thing — training managers on compassionate leadership pays dividends in the realm of employee retention and productivity.
Even if your management team already understands the importance of employee mental health, they might not know how to foster a healthy work environment in practice. Some tactics I’ve found to be particularly effective are also the hardest to measure, such as encouraging managers to show vulnerability, allowing current events to inform leadership styles, promoting work-life balance and creating space in one-on-one conversations for more heartfelt conversations. These tactics come more naturally to some managers than others, so specifically training everybody will make sure the entire management team is equipped with the necessary skills to manage empathetically.
Ignore mental health at your own risk.
Neglecting to address mental health at your company can come at a steep price. Investments in mental health programs mitigate costs in the long run and not only in lost productivity. As more and more companies expand their mental health benefits to meet the demands of employees, your organization could be left at a competitive disadvantage as highly sought-after talent seeks out greener pastures that are friendlier to maintaining mental health. Most of the worker finds the workplace as the biggest source of stress in their lives. By putting mental health at the center of your business, you’ll not only improve the lives of your employees, but you’ll also improve the bottom line of your business.