Many HR leaders lack resources to meet workers’ mental health, well-being needs

7 in 10 worried about manager training to provide support to employees

Many HR leaders lack resources to meet workers’ mental health, well-being needs

Human resources leaders anticipate that factors relating to workers’ mental state will be among their top hurdles this year, according to a recent report.

About six in 10 cite employee mental health (61%) and employee well-being (56%) among their top challenges for 2023, reports Dialogue Health Technologies.

However, 58% also say providing mental health training/resources for managers will be a challenge. And almost half (48%) say their employee benefits programs do not provide access to a mental health professional.

Forty-five percent of HR leaders find it difficult to ensure employees are making the most of their benefit plans and 70% have not trained managers or feel managers have insufficient training to help them recognize and support employees' mental health needs.

Nearly half (48%) report that their employee benefits programs do not provide access to a mental health professional, and over four in 10 believe their current mental health support is insufficient (29%) or is non-existent (14%).

Overall, only 38% of HR professionals believe they effectively supported employees with mental health challenges in 2022, according to a previous report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Remote workers and mental health

And the problem is growing. Over three in 10 (31%) of HR leaders with a remote workforce believe that employees’ mental health is getting worse, according to Dialogue’s report, based on a survey of 98 Canadian HR leaders who collectively manage health and wellness benefits for over 50,000 employees, conducted between Jan. 17 and Feb. 2, 2023.

And among the 36% of workers that report mental health problems, many say they are experiencing more stress/anxiety (55%), reduced productivity (39%) and increased absenteeism (33%). 

"It's important to recognize where organizational blind spots may be and make improvements that promote a positive and healthy working culture to attract and retain top talent," says Jean-Nicolas Guillemette, COO at Dialogue. "Mental health and well-being will continue to be an important focus for employees. Organizations would therefore gain by providing HR leaders with the resources to adapt strategies to employee needs and by investing in benefits and programs that support a healthy workplace."

Over nine in 10 (91%) of HR leaders agree that mental health tools and resources that employees can use themselves would facilitate proactive self-care, and of Canadians agree that self-guided tools could help them be more proactive about mental health, and they would be likely to use such tools. 

Forty-six percent of workers are “burning out” in their current roles, with younger workers (51%) and women (48%) reporting higher levels of tension, according to a report from Eagle Hill Consulting.

Total well-being

HR leaders believe that the following are important to well-being, finds the Dialogue survey:

  • Financial situation (96%)
  • Mental health (94%)
  • Work-life Balance (94%)
  • Physical Health (93%)

And many employers appear to be failing not just when it comes providing mental health supports. For financial issues, less than half provide support for these well-being issues:

      • Financial counselling (48%)
      • Family counselling (44%)
      • Legal counselling (42%)

And for physical health, while 43% of Canadians have experienced muscle or skeletal pain related to their work set-up at home:

    • 47% of employers do not include paramedical coverage.
    • 76% do not include wellness spending accounts.
    • 77% do not include healthcare spending accounts.

In 2022, employers were expected to lose more than $40 billion due to workers dealing with personal financial matters at work, up from the $26.9 billion they lost in 2021, according to the National Payroll Institute.

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