Employers Prioritize Holistic Well-being
March 15, 2023
Many employers enhanced their mental health and well-being benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic and are expected to build on that in 2023. Millions of Americans struggled with mental health challenges and substance misuse before the pandemic, but these struggles worsened during the pandemic and persist today.
According to a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, mental health is a serious concern for the majority of American adults; the findings revealed that an alarming 90% of adults feel the nation is experiencing a mental health crisis. Furthermore, 1 in 5 adults rated their mental health as “only fair” or “poor.” Most adults cited stressors, including finances, politics and current events, relationships with family and friends, and work. There are also many barriers that prevent people from accessing mental health services including cost, scheduling (e.g., couldn’t get time off work) and the stigma associated with mental health.
Since the average American will spend 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime, employers are uniquely poised to help address or eliminate these hurdles. Another critical component of employee well-being revolves around work-life balance. As remote and hybrid work arrangements become the norm in the modern workplace, workers’ lines between work and life remain blurred. More employees also feel burnt out between the pandemic, inflation and job duties. As such, organizations will want to take greater responsibility for workers’ burnout and actively seek to help employees on a personal level.
To address burnout and other well-being challenges, employers may consider offering or expanding their employee assistance programs, behavioral health ant stigma campaigns and training for recognizing employee and peer behavioral health issues. Many workers will be looking to their employers for guidance as well as the education and support they need.
Workplace initiatives are likely to be shaped by the U.S. surgeon general’s new five-part framework for employers, which outlines how the workplace can promote employee mental health and well-being:
Protection from harm: Physical and psychological safety is critical for ensuring employees’ mental health and well-being.
Connection and community: Positive social interactions and relationships in the workplace can support employee well-being.
Work-life harmony: Work-life harmony involves employees incorporating work into the rest of their lives in a way that promotes happiness during and outside of the workday.
Mattering at work: Employees want to know that their work matters and is important.
Opportunities for growth: Employees may be more optimistic about their abilities and contributions when there are more opportunities to achieve goals based on their growth.
All signs indicate that employee well-being will become a primary focus for employers in 2023. Although many workers have experienced elevated stress, burnout and poor mental health in the past few years, holistic benefits offerings are uniquely positioned to alleviate many of these issues. More than ever, workers want to feel like they belong in the workplace, are recognized and appreciated, and are safe. In turn, when employees’ well-being is thriving, they often take fewer sick days, increase their job performance, manage stress better and experience less burnout. This year, successful organizations will lead with humanity as employee well-being continues to be challenged by social and economic pressures.
Reach out to Robertson Ryan & Associates for more information on today’s benefits trends.