As more companies prioritize employee well-being and mental health, many are wondering if these programs are actually making a difference in the workplace. Does offering mental health benefits or programs really improve productivity and team morale, or is it just a trendy perk?
Research suggests that the impact of employee mental health benefits and programs is not just hype. In fact, employees who feel supported and valued by their employers when it comes to mental health report higher job satisfaction, better productivity and lower rates of absenteeism. These benefits also have positive ripple effects on team morale, as colleagues feel more connected and supported by each other.
Below, 15 Forbes Human Resources Council members share the research behind the impact of employee mental health benefits and programs on productivity and team morale.
1. Ensure Mental Health Is An Everyday Process
Mental health should be seen separately from well-being programs. Ensuring the good mental health of your employee is an ongoing, everyday process that needs to be embedded into your leadership style. It is not enough to have mental health programs or events conducted once a quarter. Well-being programs certainly give a great sense of belonging to employees and increase retention rates. – Subhash Chandar, Laminaar Aviation Infotech
2. Provide Resources Like LinkedIn Learning Courses And Virtual Meditation
Mental health and well-being benefits should be standard for any benefits program—as essential as paid time off, parental leave and leadership development. We see improved retention and engagement when we encourage employees to take control of their happiness and growth and provide resources to make this easier, such as LinkedIn Learning courses and virtual meditation. – Diane K. Adams, Sprinklr
3. Ensure A Commitment To Your Employees
These initiatives demonstrate a company’s commitment to its employees, leading to increased job satisfaction and engagement by reducing stress and promoting work-life balance. As a result, employees are more motivated, focused and productive, while also enjoying better teamwork and communication, ultimately contributing to a healthier and more effective workplace. – Ahva Sadeghi, Symba
4. Allow An Open Conversation
In today’s evolving climate, mental health and employee well-being are company priorities as all staff have been impacted by the recent Covid-19 effects. There have been more conversations regarding mental health in the past five years than ever before as employees are seeking motivation to show up as their best selves and produce efficient work while balancing personal and professional events. – Imani Carroll, Just Food For Dogs
5. Create A Safe Space
We’ve invested in robust wellness and employee assistance programs that support employees’ physical, mental and emotional well-being. In addition, we host quarterly “Courageous Conversations,” which create a safe space to discuss any in- or out-of-work topic that might be taking its toll. These platforms enable our employees to bring their best and move their authentic selves to work. – Tammy Harper, CAI
6. Offer Mental Health And Well-Being Programs
We all have varying stressors, both inside and outside of work, and mental health and well-being programs can help to ease the pressure. If people feel supported, they’re more likely to be loyal and productive. Of course, increasing productivity shouldn’t be your motivation for these programs. We have a duty, as employers, to offer these programs to ensure our employees’ safety. – Kim Pope, WilsonHCG
7. Implement Company-Wide Days Of Rest During Busy Periods
There have been many benefits to providing mental health programs in the last two years. Some companies provided services such as Calm, and some implemented company-wide days of rest during busy periods. When employees feel seen, heard and cared for, they tend to be more productive. Understanding that the whole employee shows up at work and addressing their needs holistically drives engagement overall. – Cat Colella-Graham
8. Implement A Weekly Pulse Check
I’ve learned that, today, one in four people struggle with mental health, hence traditional benefits do not suffice. Most are snail-paced, reactive and ad hoc versus a proactive and holistic suite. Institutionalizing a systemic weekly employee pulse check, such as a “how are you feeling today,” yields a real-time well-being index. Tagging timely, instant managerial belonging dialogue enhances well-being, trust, productivity, morale and retention. – Dr. Christina Augustine, World Vision Canada
9. Encourage Your Employees To Utilize Company Benefits
When employees know the company is looking out for their mental health and well-being by offering benefits and encouraging them to use them, they feel supported and know the company values them. They are then motivated and willing to support the company and do the extra that might be needed. It also helps with retention and recruitment as it highlights how you care about your employees. – Amy Casciotti, TechSmith Corporation
10. Offer Incentives For Physical Fitness Or Mindfulness Activities
When employee mental health is a company priority it not only carries over into the productivity employees exhibit on the job but also contributes to more positive team morale. Simple gestures like allowing time off for personal reasons with no questions asked or offering perks for physical fitness or mindfulness activities can meaningfully impact employee wellness and long-term retention. – Laura Spawn, Virtual Vocations, Inc.
11. Demonstrate The Company’s Commitment To A Supportive Work Environment
Investing in employee mental health and well-being benefits or programs improves productivity and team morale. It demonstrates an organization’s commitment to creating a supportive work environment and leads to a more engaged workforce and higher job satisfaction. As such, organizations should prioritize employee mental health as a critical component of their overall business strategy. – William Stonehouse, Crawford Thomas Recruiting
12. Encourage A Strong Work-Life Balance
The happiest, healthiest employees are the most productive employees. When programs help employees to access needed mental health resources like therapy and maintain a strong work-life balance, employees will often see improvements in their well-being. They will then bring more energy and motivation into work, contributing to higher morale, stronger culture and greater productivity. – Niki Jorgensen, Insperity
13. Add Stronger Benefits To Your Benefits Package
When we added stronger benefits to our benefits package, we found that our productivity increased. We have a worker resource group that focuses on mental health and people feel comfortable talking about challenges in a safe space. The more we promote our mental health benefits, the more use they are receiving and the more employees are being open about their struggles with others. – Erin ImHof, CertiK
14. Listen To Your Employees And Offer Total Reward Programs
Empathetic total reward programs enable employees to feel “seen” and feel valued. Prioritize employee wellness through meaningful programs created by the voice of the employee. What is most meaningful to them? – Britton Bloch, Navy Federal
15. Demonstrate Care And Concern In A Holistic Manner
The pandemic has taught leaders that employee mental health and well-being benefit programs are important to the overall health of an organization. There are complex stressors today that cannot be left at the door. Demonstrating care and concern for employees’ health in a holistic manner can drive the employer brand and increase retention and engagement. – Sherry Martin, Government Administration
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