Nearly four in 10 millennials and Generation Z believe their employers did not take appropriate actions to support their mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic.
It's been over two years since the beginning of the pandemic. Yet, many are still grappling with how our social and professional lives have changed. Mandated social isolation and a general feeling of panic and uncertainty took a significant toll on the global mental health crisis. Those with pre-existing conditions were highly vulnerable, and many of us developed new feelings of anxiety and depression.
Workplaces have permanently changed with many business leaders adopting remote or hybrid environments. Employers are finding that employees are leaving their jobs en masse, which is leaving remaining employees with heavier workloads.
Workers who have left their job during this time cite burnout and a struggle to compartmentalize work and personal life. According to a survey by McKinsey, 15% of unemployed respondents say they left their jobs due to concerns about their mental health in the fall of 2021.
In a survey of millennials and Generation Zers about mental health and working conditions, nearly four in 10 respondents believe their employers did not take appropriate actions to support their mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic, according to Deloitte.
Historically, employers have been hesitant to provide adequate coverage for mental health treatment, often requiring patients to meet specific qualifications before being approved. So, how can employers support their workers' mental health while reducing turnover and maximizing cost efficiency?
Employee benefits plans that are user-friendly, customizable, and accessible can go a long way in retaining employees. Employees and employers are beginning to discover new, innovative health and wellness technology platforms that, when integrated into benefits plans, offer employees a wide range of virtual and hybrid treatment options, helping combat stress, anxiety and social isolation.
Digital health and wellness providers are also beginning to partner with employers to provide virtual, digital services that employees can incorporate into their daily routines with no additional cost beyond their regular monthly premium. Workers can access these programs via smartphones, tablets and other devices, making them incredibly convenient.
While digital mental health interventions are great for offering employees more control and flexibility, finding the right solution is an additional step that consumers often do not feel informed about. However, a digital front door enables employees to create customized health programs tailored to their employees' specific needs. Mental health treatment is certainly not one-size-fits-all, making it crucial to personalize access to these plans.
Programs range from mindfulness and meditation sessions that help combat negative feelings to higher acuity options such as coach chats and video therapy. Some digital health and wellness interventions even include advanced tracking technology that can monitor mood changes over time so users can control stressors and better understand their habits.
Offering digital mental health solutions is, not only financially beneficial for companies, but also boosts morale and increases productivity of employees by implementing an incremental support system. Studies show that employees who struggle with their mental health report over 3.25 hours of unproductive time during a workday. Further, for every $1 spent on treatment, there is a return of $4 in improved productivity, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Employees need to know that their employer prioritizes their mental health to feel appreciated and valued. Offering accessible digital solutions is one prominent way companies can make good on their pledges to care for their workers and, ultimately, reduce turnover and increase productivity.
Ted Hong is the chief engagement officer for Solera Health.