No doubt a key priority for HR in 2021 is to support employee mental wellbeing.
Indeed, HR knows first-hand the effects of the pandemic on mental health, with a reported 70% increase in the stress-related absence in 2020 among HR professionals in the UK.
In helping support employees with their mental wellbeing, it’s important that HR remember the importance of their own mental wellbeing too, and so this should be the first important point to consider.
There are a number of ways to support staff with their mental wellbeing, but how can employee benefits play their part?
Employee benefits can have both a direct and indirect effect on employee mental wellbeing, which we’ll explain in more detail in this article.
There are also a few other factors to consider away from employee benefits which we’ll touch on too.
So, what are the most important employee benefits when it comes to improving employee mental wellbeing?
Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)
The EAP is one of the most important employee benefits for helping support employees with their mental wellbeing.
Typically, an EAP covers the majority of cases that can cause poor mental health including bereavement, divorce, and financial worries.
Having a 24/7, fully confidential helpline available is a vital lifeline for employees struggling with their mental wellbeing.
The EAP should be a key consideration as part of any company’s employee wellbeing strategy.
However, the important thing to note is that the EAP provides a responsive measure to employees struggling with their mental wellbeing, and so it’s important to combine this employee benefit with others that can help provide a preventative measure for poor mental wellbeing too.
This is where education can come in.
Health and wellbeing education
Providing health and wellbeing education as part of your employee benefits platform can help employees build a lifestyle upon which good mental wellbeing can be built.
It can help employees build mental resilience or at least educate them on what options are available to them in building mental resilience.
We’ve all heard the phrase “healthy body = healthy mind” and education plays a big part in that.
Now more than ever it’s important for everyone to build good solid foundations for good mental health. Often, people aren’t aware of what these are.
Through educating employees, they’ll be able to reduce, prevent and manage stress, sleep better, get fitter and healthier and lead a balanced, healthy lifestyle that is conducive to good mental wellbeing.
However, again there are a few other important points to consider. The main one we’ll look at here is the point of the bigger picture.
There are any number of reasons why someone may struggle with their mental wellbeing and employee benefits can help employees improve and solve problems in areas of their lives that are causing poor mental health.
So, when implementing employee benefits to support employee mental wellbeing, consider too other employee benefits that help meet important needs of employees that could affect their mental wellbeing.
Employee benefits like Financial Planning, Workplace ISA’s, and Financial Education help support employees in building and maintaining their finances.
A poor financial situation can often be a cause for poor mental wellbeing. It can be a vicious cycle, with poor mental wellbeing causing bad spending habits, in-turn worsening a person’s financial situation which can further affect a person’s mental wellbeing.
An employee doesn’t necessarily have to be in a bad financial situation to experience financial worries. The current economic climate has many wondering how it may affect their finances going forward.
Financial wellbeing benefits like the ones mentioned here can help alleviate some of those worries too which may be having a detrimental effect on mental wellbeing.
These employee benefits help employees make the right choices when it comes to safeguarding their future finances and can provide vital peace of mind, helping prevent any financial worries from becoming so overwhelming they begin to affect a person’s mental health.
With this in mind, it’s important to reiterate the importance of helping solve some of the potential root causes of poor mental wellbeing for employees. So, when considering employee benefits to support mental wellbeing, think outside the box and consider how other benefits such as financial wellbeing employee benefits can help too.
As mentioned, physical health plays a big part in building and maintaining good mental wellbeing too.
Whether it’s for prevention or cure, there are a ton of great health and wellbeing employee benefits out there such as Eyecare, Dental Cover, the Health Cash Plan, Health Assessments, and even the Bike to Work scheme which can all help build and promote good physical health.
Another key aspect of this is the worries people may have around their health. Our health is under the spotlight arguably more than ever due to the pandemic and so worries around health are heightened.
Providing good healthcare options through employee benefits can help alleviate some of these worries and reduce stress or anxiety around the subject of physical health.
Other important areas to consider
Mental wellbeing is of course extremely complex and while employee benefits can be a huge help, it is of course important to maintain constant communication with employees, gather important feedback and interpret that feedback in the best way possible to really understand what’s causing poor mental wellbeing and what’s driving good mental wellbeing.
Things like poor job design, work-related stress and uncertainty around the performance of the company for example can all play a part in poor mental wellbeing.
Tackling issues such as these requires thorough research into your employees and their mental wellbeing. Taking on issues such as these head-ons are another important part of building good mental wellbeing in your team.
Providing exercise classes to your team to encourage good regular exercise, regular social catch-ups and constant feedback are simple yet effective ways to boost employee mental wellbeing.
You can read more on this in our guide to supporting remote and furloughed employees’ mental health.
Employee benefits can certainly play a huge part in supporting employees with their mental well-being.
The key is to think about the bigger picture and consider how employee benefits can help support employees in meeting their needs that may be causing poor mental wellbeing or could cause poor mental wellbeing in the future.
Thankfully, there’s a whole range of employee benefits available that can support employees in a number of ways.
With one of the widest ranges of employee benefits you’ll find anywhere, and an employee benefits and engagement platform designed to suit your business, caboodle can support your employee wellbeing strategy by providing an employee benefits set-up that suits your business and your employees down to the ground.
Caboodle is one of the UK’s leading employee benefits providers and as our name suggests, we can offer everything you’ll need to reward and engage with your staff.
Find out more by heading over to caboodle-technology.co.uk.