The latest industry trend reports show that employers are committed to investing in mental health benefits, but what benefits are those, specifically? Most brokers say that companies don’t have a clear answer. In short, employers know that mental health support is essential, but don’t know where to start.
Every year, Wellable asks brokers to spot investment trends in their Employee Wellness Industry Trends Report. Unsurprisingly, the 2022 report showed that 90% of employers plan to invest in mental health benefits. That’s a hefty majority, revealing the massive shift toward prioritization of mental health in the workplace. A trend that would have been unthinkable pre-pandemic.
However, while employers are certain that they need to offer mental health support, they are decidedly less certain about which programs to offer. That isn’t to say that employers are directionless, they have ideas, but they lack specificity. For example, 70% of brokers in the Wellable survey said that companies plan to invest in meditation and mindfulness initiatives. That’s a great start, but what does it look like when put into practice? Only a small percentage were able to give clear examples.
When asked to be more specific, 20% of brokers said employers chose mindfulness classes, 13% opted for mindfulness training, and 4% implemented mediation classes. Wellable’s data suggests that the majority of employers are dealing with decision paralysis. With so many different mental health interventions available, and the introduction of mental health in the workplace still so new—employers are struggling to confidently invest in one solution over another.
Part of the reason it is so difficult to confidently assemble a mental health benefits package is because mental health is not easily quantified and measured. An individual’s physical health can easily be assessed using numbers (blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, etc.). Mental health is more elusive, more open to interpretation, and more difficult to track.
How to combat decision paralysis:
One way employers can combat this uncertainty is by identifying and articulating what they hope their mental health programs will accomplish. Desired outcomes should be outlined and clearly communicated to leadership within the organization, who can more easily look for solutions based on daily interactions with employees. Managers should be encouraged to gather feedback from employees on what’s working, what’s missing, and what could be improved.
Employers can also expand their mental health benefits package by seeking out and implementing flexible, multi-purpose solutions. That means finding programs that address multiple needs at once. The right fitness benefit, for example, has the potential to improve employees’ mental and physical health at the same time. Choosing multi-purpose benefits eases the anxiety that comes with investing in new mental health programs.
Lastly, employers should avoid taking a one-size-fits-all approach to mental health benefits. Meditation classes, for instance, will be an excellent solution for some employees but may fall flat for others. Creating a mental health package that works for everyone requires offering multiple options, which doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Look for benefits with flexibility built-in, like a wellness app with a variety of classes, or a fitness benefit with a number of gym options.
The latest industry reports show that 90% of employers plan to invest in mental health benefits, but a very small percentage actually have a plan. In this week’s blog, learn why employers are experiencing decision paralysis, as well as best practices to confidently build a mental health benefits package.