Mental health support post-pandemic: Why HR must do more

Niagara Casinos benefits lead on how wellbeing perks can make the world of difference

Mental health support post-pandemic: Why HR must do more

Benefits and perks – they’ve never been as important as they are right now. Across Canada, employers and employees are grappling with rising inflation, with the cost of living crisis, and with mental health struggles.  Collectively, we’re all feeling the winter blues set in – and it’s causing depression, anxiety, and isolation to peak.

Enhanced benefits, supercharged perk packages, are an easy way to show your people you care – something that won’t go amiss in the Great Resignation. HRD recently launched our 5-Star Benefit Programs, research looking at the trends and predictions across the sector. In it, we found that wellness benefits and mental health support were the most in-demand perks in Canadian workforces, closely followed by upskilling and cost-of-living support.

Since the pandemic, employers have been forced to revaluate what makes a good benefits package. Kate Interisano, compensation and benefits manager at 5-Star Benefit Programs winner Niagara Casinos, tells HRD that her company looked at safeguarding mental wellbeing – from the top down. 

“The pandemic had a substantial impact on Niagara Casinos and our associates,” she says. “Due to the government mandated closures, we were forced to remain closed for roughly 17 months which meant the majority of our associates were without work.  A zero revenue environment for 17 months created its challenges; however we were able to maintain benefit coverage for all associates during this time.

“As the closure extended, we were forced to make some changes to safeguard the benefit plan to reduce costs and ensure coverage could be maintained as we gradually reopened and rebuilt the business.

“We also saw the pandemic take a toll on our associates and their dependents’ mental health. While we have always focused on providing our associates with benefit coverage and resources, the pandemic further highlighted the need to expand our coverage to provide access to more practitioners. We partnered with Sun Life to participate in their Mental Health Coach pilot program as added support and continue to promote our Employee and Family Assistance Program and alternate public resources.”

A recent report from Mercer found that 42% of employees who have access to mental health support are less likely to leave their current employer when compared to the 27% who don’t have access.  By focusing on your employees’ psychological wellbeing, you’re not only showing you care, but futureproofing your organization against the turnover tide on the horizon.

Take a look at our recent 5-Star Benefit Programs 2022 winners here.

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