Five Ways to Ensure that Employees’ Mental Health Support Serves your Company


Mental health can exert massive impacts on the business and the economy at large. Harvard Business Review once noted that “$4 is returned to the economy for every $1 spent caring for people with mental health issues.” As we discussed last week, even though mental health can be a topic that is frowned upon or joked about at the workplace and changes are only gradual, various studies show that people would rather work for employers that champion mental health and well-being. And this is applicable for all generations. A study by a UK-based firm, Peldon Rose, found that 76% Gen Zs, 73% Millennials, 75% Gen Xs and 56% Baby Boomers prioritize mental health and well-being over other causes.


A lot of leading companies understand this fact, and this has reflected in a McKinsey study of 1000 employers arbitrarily chosen from the leading organizations in the US. In the survey, around 60% respondents are starting, continuing, or expanding their behavioral health services. Here are 5 ways as drawn from the study to take inspiration from. These key actions can and should put companies in the right direction and positively drive their growth. 


Measure Behavioral Health

Though scarce, the measurement of employee stress and emotional well-being is on the rise. A pre-pandemic study of more of 600 firms by benefits advisor Willis Towers Watson revealed that there will be an increase of 16-53% in the number of employers measuring behavioral health by 2021. A noticeable number of these surveys use age-old questions regarding an individual well-being. For an effective study McKinsey recommends a 12-Item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) which was first developed in 1972 by a British Scholar Sir David Goldberg. It checks three major factors of an individual together, namely, Anxiety and Depression, Social Dysfunction, and Loss of Confidence. Testing them separately does not provide any practical solutions in identifying health issues. The GHQ-12 is consistently validated worldwide and has been translated into 38 languages.


Make Behavioral Health a Priority just like Physical Health.

Company bosses are already aware of the importance of being mindful and the required actions to be taken for the psychological well-being of their employees. By having open conversations on behavioral health and following up those discussions with significant actions, company managers can de-stigmatize mental health disorders. A similar program was launched by EY, christened WeCare with the objective to drive awareness about mental health issues among its people, encourage them to seek any essential help, and support others who might struggle with mental illness.


Hold Leaders Accountable for Making Progress on Employee Mental Health

Any initiative or project that can be measured and has the interest of the management leads to accountability. Michael Fenlon, the Chief People Officer at PwC, said that they asked all their teams to create well-being plans using the framework of mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being, where spiritual refers to having a sense of purpose. They provided tools and examples and asked everyone on the team to have both a personal goal and a team goal. They got about 5,200 team plans. They asked teams to visit progress against those plans on a regular basis and asked all their leaders to lead from the front, to share goals they are working on, and to serve as role models. If you combine a tangible plan with a system of accountability to track progress, it ensures that the comprehensive employee well-being has a place in the organizational agenda.


Explore a Range of New Services

A Society for Human Resource Management article says that the number of businesses that provide an array of partly or fully financed behavioral well-being solutions is on the rise. Just as telemedicine visits with specialists for physical sickness are developing, so are different online applications to aid mental health issues. Organizations like Talkspace, BetterHelp, and Gingerwork to guarantee employee access to simple trained specialists.


Work Closely with your Health-Benefits Administrator to Ensure Adequate Behavioral Health Coverage

In the United States, just as in the Emirates, a vast majority of the population get their medical coverage through their company. A majority of those organizations use medical insurance providers in order to ease up this process, including contracting for psychological health providers. This is a critical reason why organizations must regularly monitor and work with insurance providers, cautiously looking at how these plans work and what are their inclusions. Managers have the responsibility to convince health insurance providers to include mental health treatments in their plans. They can guarantee accessibility of behavioral health services by evaluating hindrances to access, the expanse of network, and reimbursement rates, and co-payment rates that employee is liable to. Organizations that prioritize access to mental health services and a supportive office environment has the potential to realize significant return on their investment.


Given the rapid speed at which advancements in medical field and technology with regards to mental health has taken place, it would be well advised for organizations who wants their employees to maintain sound psychological health to keep track of these innovations.