Mental Health Awareness Month: Give Your Employees What They Really Need
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and for a workforce emerging from the pandemic, the stakes for mental wellbeing have never been higher for employees. Are you adequately addressing their needs?
Many tech companies are wooing their employees back to office with various perks such as a fully stocked snack bar, kombucha bar or any flavor of sparkling water at their fingertips. Other additions include extra phone booth and conference rooms enhanced with new video technology, but many employers are overlooking the one thing employees really want: support. In today’s world, that support is even more paramount as employees face heightened stress in all areas of their lives.
What are the Obstacles of Accessing Mental Healthcare?
Traditionally, mental health support isn’t easily accessible for employees in the office or outside of it.
First, the stigma around mental health services is still pervasive. In February, Forbes reported that 47% of Americans believe that seeking therapy is a sign of weakness. Overcoming that stigma requires more people to talk openly and honestly about their experiences with mental health and that’s easier said than done. Similarly, a report by Project Healthy Minds found that among Gen Z and Millennial employees, 55% do not feel comfortable talking about mental health at work. Only half say their employer is supportive of their mental health.
Logistically, even if you’re ready to start therapy, you might not be able to – at least, not anytime soon. Therapists and psychologists are booked out for months, preventing them from accepting new patients. According to a recent survey of mental health professionals, 75% reported an increase in wait times. Nearly 1 in 3 practitioners said it could take more than three months to secure an appointment – if they had room for new patients at all.
Employers Have Been Slow to Prioritize Mental Wellbeing
To date, employee assistance plans (EAPs) haven’t risen to the level of demand for mental health support. However, employers are uniquely situated to offer their colleagues mental wellbeing support for their personal and professional lives.
In fact, the Project Healthy Mind report notes that only 32% of respondents say their employers have implemented programs to support employee mental health during the pandemic. Increasing a mere 7 per person in comparison to the November 2020 survey, employers have been slow to act. It’s clear that there is a strong need for mental health support for employees. So how can employers initiate an emphasis on mental healthcare in their EAPs and beyond?
The Solution? Coaching
Instead of getting bogged down by wide-sweeping, difficult-to-institute programs, employers have a different option: providing their employees with complimentary coaching sessions.
Offering coaching as a workplace benefit gives employers a simple, easy-to-implement way to support their employees. With a personalized coaching platform, employees are empowered to work with a professional on creative, engaging solutions to their real-life problems. Coaching offers an accessible, approachable alternative to therapy (no 3-month waitlists here). Moreover, coaching offers a preventative perspective for mental wellbeing, allowing employees to meet their coach and develop a trusted relationship before issues become insurmountable.
Make a Difference in Employees’ Well-Being
At Boon, we’ve seen firsthand the power of coaching in the workplace. Our average utilization rate of 30% is 10 times higher than the traditional EAP usage. With a client retention rate of 90% after the first session, we can confidently say that employees see the value in coaching (which is also underscored by our 95% average satisfaction score among clients)
One thing that sets Boon apart is our focus on resilience as a key metric. We believe that resilience is the best predictor of a life well lived and research confirms that higher levels of employee resiliency directly correspond to improved work performance, increased motivation, job satisfaction, and greater commitment to the employer. So far, 85% of employees who use Boon’s coaching services are seeing an improvement in their resilience score after just 6 sessions. With our coaching, clients are supported and ready to face any challenges that may arise in their lives.
And one last thing: while we prefer to focus on employee well-being as our first priority, there’s no denying the cost savings that come with an employee benefit like Boon. Through our coaching, we’ve seen a reduction in turnover by more than 50% for employees who engage with Boon’s platform, leading to at least $3 saved for every $1 spent on Boon from employee turnover alone (not to mention saving leadership from unnecessary stress).
Your employees need you more than ever right now. This Mental Health Awareness Month, ask yourself what other ways you can support your employees in their mental wellbeing. When you’re ready to act, we’ll be here to help.
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