How can HR leaders enhance staff support policies?

Singapore-based industry expert gives her verdict after sobering survey results on employee wellbeing

How can HR leaders enhance staff support policies?

More than half of Singapore's workers revealed that they are not receiving "strong support" from their employers amid the pandemic, as over half of employees suffer from everyday stress. In the recently released Mercer Marsh Benefits' Health on Demand Survey, 56% of 1,000 respondents in Singapore said that they were strongly supported by employers as the pandemic went on.

This is slightly higher than the 51% of respondents globally who admitted the same thing, and 46% in Asia.

The lack of support came as 55% of employees reported suffering from everyday stress, higher than the 50% posted globally and 51% in Asia. According to the survey, 16% of employees were lonelier and more isolated, while 26% said they were financially worse.

In terms of gender, only 10% of women said they received "good support" from their employer, considering that they also had to carry out responsibilities at home to their families and children. The figures are only half of the 20% of men who said they received "good support" from their bosses.

Neil Narale, Mercer Marsh Benefits Leader, Singapore, stressed that it is important that employers know where the gaps are in their services to understand the areas where they can do better.

"Catering to employee well-being and preferences allows organisations to create policies, processes, benefits, and resources that are meaningful and personal for all," Narale said in a statement. "This is an important step towards creating a culture of health that advances diversity, equity, and inclusion, while aligning with broader environmental, social and governance principles."

Read more: Can leaders help ease employees' mental health struggles?

Meanwhile, only 10% of Singapore's employees revealed that they are comfortable in sharing their mental health challenges with family, friends, and healthcare professionals, however, they are slowly opening up to asking for help regarding their mental health.

Access, however, was discovered an issue as only 44% of employees have access to mental health counselling services, with 42% saying that quality mental healthcare was difficult to find.

Extended digital access to healthcare needed

Aside from lacking mental health support, two-thirds of Singapore employees also said they do not have access to lifestyle modification support, while only one in 10 said their employers provided them with virtual healthcare benefits.

Nearly half of them at 43% even revealed that they have never used telemedicine or other digital health solutions as the pandemic went on.

However, a shift on this is likely in the future as nine in 10 employees revealed that they want to use apps and devices to take more personal control of their health.

"Our study has also clearly highlighted that through the realignment of benefits programmes, we are able to provide the necessary support to the workforce and fill in the gaps to deliver results. This has been an incredibly challenging year," said Narale.

"Now more than ever, being able to support our employees through these crucial moments will significantly boost employee morale, resilience, and confidence in the long run."

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