Employees Want Their Employers To Encourage Good Mental Wellbeing, But Few Are

The vast majority of employees want their employers to encourage good mental wellbeing in the workplace, but very few actually are. With Group Risk products often making up a significant proportion of employee benefits packages, it’s time employers started implementing solutions that their employees want.

Fortunately, such products don’t cost the earth and employers that stay ahead of the curve stand to reap the greatest rewards.

[Related reading: Group Risk Products Recognised By Government In Employee Health Consultation]

Just 16% of workers think their mental health is supported

Just 16% of UK employees feel their mental health is well supported at work. That’s one of the main findings from recently released data and comes despite the fact 81% want their organisation to encourage good mental wellbeing.

According to healthcare top-up provider Lime’s Keeping up appearances: how ‘Presenteeism’ is eroding resilience report, 42% of respondents expect their employer to do more to support their mental health, while 40% would look for a new job if they didn’t.

In addition, more than half (51%) of those surveyed said they feel under pressure to put on a brave face in front of colleagues and 19% are concerned about their stress being visible to others. In fact, 56% of women and 45% of men feel like they must put on a brave face at work, rising to 61% for women aged 16-24.

Just over a quarter (26%) of employees say they’re not coping at work, while 40% feel less resilient now than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost half (49%) of men and 43% of women aged 16-24 feel less resilient now than they did previously.

Employee wellbeing expectations now greater

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed what employees expect when it comes to wellbeing.

Perhaps the most obvious impact the pandemic has had is when it comes to attitudes about workplace health. A few years ago, there might have been a reluctance for employees to talk to their line managers about their health, save for calling in sick from time to time.

Fast forward to today and we are all becoming a lot more open about both our physical and mental health. The effects of the pandemic have impacted us all and, as a result, we are more likely to want to take steps to preserve our health and that includes reaching out to employers for support.

For employers, this new reality represents a huge opportunity to learn more about their employees. So rather than simply assuming and guessing how best to support the wellbeing of their staff, employers can actually find out first-hand what they want.

Given that the majority of employees want their employer to do more to support their health, the ones who grasp the opportunity will emerge as the winners once the dust has settled.

With budgets across businesses stretched, justifying increased investment in employee benefits -- an area that’s often seen as and called “perks” -- can be difficult. That’s why there has to be a change in mindset at a leadership level, so that wellbeing isn’t a nice-to-have, but is instead a strategic tool that helps reduce bottom-line costs and increases productivity and employee retention.

[Related reading: Group Risk Cover Protection Market Displaying ‘Gender Paradox’]

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The health and wellbeing space is full of wonderful programmes which offer opportunities to elevate so many facets of a business and it's employees sense of purpose -- particularly when it comes to choosing the right Group Risk benefits for all levels of staff. With our expert advice and guidance, you can make a truly informed decision that will benefit all parties within your business. Please contact us if you would like to explore the best options for you.

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Author: Claire Ginnelly - Managing Director