The mental health of an employee is related, among many factors to their effectiveness and attachment to the workplace – it is undeniable that it has an impact on the functioning of a company. Investing in the mental health of employees is profitable, although it should be noted that the effects may not be immediately visible.
Why is it important to take care of the mental health of employees?
According to the definition of the World Health Organization, mental health of the employee is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes their abilities, copes with normal life stresses, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to their community. It is considered to be our fundamental right.
The coronavirus pandemic has increased the discussion about the mental health of employees and their well-being in the workplace. It has become clear that the mental condition of an employee affects, productivity, engagement in work, and proper task hierarchy. The mental health of employees is also related to their absenteeism from work – according to the WHO, poor mental health costs the global economy trillions of dollars annually, mainly due to reduced productivity. The Social Insurance Institution also highlights the relationship between mental health and sick leave.
The report “Sick Leave in 2021” by the Social Insurance Institution indicates that mental disorders and behavioral disorders are still one of the main reasons for employee absenteeism. In 2021, they accounted for 25.2 million days of sick leave. Among women, the most significant causes of sick leave were reactions to severe stress and adaptive disorders (ICD-10 code F43) – accounting for 4.1% of the total number of sick leave days for women. Medical certificates issued due to poor well-being are also an important topic to discuss. Compared to 2020, their number has more than doubled, and the number of sick leave days has increased by over twofold. Most often, certificates were issued for a short period (65% of certificates were for a period of one to five days, of which 17.6% were for one-day certificates).
Investing in mental health as an employee benefit
Mental health prevention programs should become a priority for employers. However, mental health should not only be considered in the context of current employees. Investing in mental health is a benefit that many candidates pay attention to when considereing a new jon oportunity. The annual Deloitte survey indicates that almost half of Generation Z individuals (46%) and 38% of Millennials feel stressed all or most of the time. Nearly half of the respondents feel burned out due to pressure related to their responsibilities. According to the Deloitte report, although compensation is one of the reasons why respondents chose to work in their current company, the amount of pay was not the most significant factor. Representatives of Generation Z (32%) and 39% of Millennials pay attention primarily to achieving an appropriate work-life balance, which is closely related to mental health.
Investing in mental health of employees pays off?
The poor mental condition of employees affects employers; however, investing in the mental health of is still not the subject of interest for many organizations. This is mainly due to the belief that the invested money will not translate into company results. However, the data tells a different story. In a study prepared by Deloitte, we can find an example of a Canadian company that implemented an employee mental health program – the return on investment (ROI) is at the level of CAD 4.10. With increased program utilization (+190%), there was a 50% decrease in short-term, repetitive mental health-related absences, and a 20% reduction in the number of short-term leaves. In the case of the mentioned company, a positive ROI was observed three years after the introduction of the employee mental health support program.
The Deloitte report emphasizes that achieving a positive ROI may take three or more years. Mental health programs implemented by companies do not yield immediate benefits – the longer they run, the greater the return. Analysis of Canadian companies that have a policy of caring for employees’ mental well-being shows that the median annual return on investment in mental health programs was 1.62 Canadian dollars. A program implemented for three or more years has an ROI of 2.18 Canadian dollars.
Programs supporting employees’ mental health have a greater chance of achieving a positive ROI if they take a multidimensional approach to employee well-being – not only reacting to existing problems but also eliminating workplace factors that can jeopardize mental health.
Investing in employees’ mental health does not yield immediate returns; positive ROI is observed after several years of program implementation. However, we can observe a quicker change in employees’ attitudes, which also affects the perception of the company in the job market and can attract qualified candidates.
How to take care of employees’ mental well-being?
Programs supporting employees’ mental health should include multiple elements, such as:
- Eliminating stressors (such as aligning tasks with employees’ qualifications and clearly defining responsibilities).
- Training leaders (they should be supportive and unbiased – employees should feel comfortable expressing their needs without fear of judgment).
- Promoting mental health and well-being (educational programs).
- Offering counseling or therapy sponsored by the company.
The Helping Hand platform provides comprehensive and personalized psychological support. Employees (and employers) can benefit not only from consultations with specialists and online therapy but also from various tools such as webinars, workshops, and interviews with experts.
Although investing in employees’ mental health does not yield immediate returns, it is important to remember that employees’ mental well-being is closely related to their effectiveness. Implementing solutions that can improve mental health should be a priority for employers