Workplace well-being transforms every day, and many organizations have a renewed focus on employees as people. Employees want to be treated like human beings—not just resources. More than ever, workers want to belong in the workplace and feel recognized, appreciated and safe. Correspondingly, when employees’ well-being is thriving, they often take fewer sick days, increase their job performance, manage stress better and experience less burnout, all of which directly impact organizations. Thus, employers can yield positive benefits, including strong attraction and retention rates, by caring for their people.
Mental health, specifically, remains a top issue today; many workers battle stress, anxiety and other mental health conditions in their personal and work lives. Fortunately, the mental burden of the COVID-19 pandemic has enabled more transparency and empathy around the topic, especially in the workplace. As attitudes about employee mental health have dramatically shifted for the better, employers are poised to bolster their mental health support for employees through benefits and other workplace resources. Employers are incentivized to do so, as mental health can impact employee performance and recruitment and potentially increase costs.
The American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2022 Work and Well-being Survey validated that employee expectations related to mental health support are shifting, with 71% of workers reporting that they believe their employers are more concerned about employee mental health than in the past. More than 80% of workers agreed that how employers support employee mental health is an important consideration when they evaluate jobs. Employees’ ideal resources go beyond health benefits. According to the APA survey, workers want the following:
• Flexible work hours: 41%
• A workplace culture that respects time off: 34%
• Remote work arrangements: 33%
• Four-day workweeks: 31%
These findings underscore the importance of mental health support in the workplace—and with a greater focus on mental health support, employers can work to attract more talent in a tight market. To better support employees, it may also be helpful to understand what is stressing workers out. The APA survey found that a current significant stressor for employees is compensation. Most employees (71%) are worried about their compensation keeping up with inflation.
The work environment and how employees do their work can significantly impact mental health. More employers are continuing to embrace flexible and hybrid work formats, focusing more on how everyone contributes rather than where or how they’re doing their job. While many employees are worried about their compensation keeping up with inflation, they also hope for nonmonetary factors that impact their work life. Today’s workers want and need psycho- logical safety in the workplace. Effective employee recruitment comes down to ensuring workers’ safety and well-being during their workdays.
Organizations can start by evaluating current wellness initiatives and thinking about ways to improve them. To ensure offerings and investments resonate with the workforce, it can be helpful to survey employees first and see what they find most valuable and necessary for their overall well-being.