How do you know if your mental health benefits are delivering?
With one in six people reporting a mental health problem in any given week in England and mental health issues increasing worldwide, looking after employee wellbeing has never been such a high priority.
Employees are critical to the success of an organisation and supporting their wellbeing is essential, but how do you ensure your wellbeing benefits are supporting their mental health?
Creating a culture of wellbeing that is open, supportive, and inclusive should be seen as the right thing to do, not only to show that you really care, but to support the internal growth of your business.
Clear and defined policies, outlining your aims, commitment and the support available to employees from a mental health perspective is important. It demonstrates your commitment to addressing mental health, along with the buy-in from management.
Where possible, the ’voice’ about wellbeing and mental health should come from a senior level. This makes an impact and creates the required openness from junior employees. Having mental health first aiders and wellbeing champions to drive the wellbeing agenda can also help continue to foster the culture around employee wellbeing.
Investment in benefits
When looking at your benefits strategy, ensure that wellbeing and employee mental health are always considered. Most core benefits offered as part of an inclusive employee benefits package have health and wellbeing woven throughout them. You can offer peace of mind with the financial safety net of life assurance, pension and sick pay benefits, some of which will also offer practical intervention in times of need.
Employee assistance programmes are often part of these embedded benefits and are widely used across the market. But how well do you communicate this, and do you know if it’s working? Reviewing engagement levels on a regular basis is imperative to understanding if the correct support is in place for your employees.
For example, your mental health provision may cover short-term issues, but you may find out too late that you are ill prepared for long-term issues. There may be a gap in your cover for something like private medical insurance and plugging the gap would be invaluable when it comes to more moderate to severe intervention support for employees.
Data analysis is the key
Data provides untold amounts of insight, informing every major organisational decision. Data should be used when it comes to understanding how mental health is affecting your organisation but also if your investment in benefits to support mental health is having the impact you want.
Regularly reviewing the management information from all benefits and services on offer will help you monitor the mental health situation within your organisation, highlighting areas of both strength and concern. Combining this with analysis of absence data will help you understand if your efforts are working and supporting your employees’ overall wellbeing, of which mental health is a large part.
Absence data can be just the start – you should also consider analysing the following:
- attrition statistics
- leaver surveys
- occupational and health referral reasons
- employee wellbeing surveys
These will help you pinpoint any hotspots within the business, spotlighting if there is a resource, training or resilience issue that can be addressed to improve the situation.
Having the right benefits in place to support wellbeing alongside a culture that embraces wellbeing and mental health is a positive step in supporting your employees, but successful communication is the true key to success.
There are so many creative ways that organisations adopt to engage with their employees these days, but face-to-face communication is the strongest. Internal messaging can be easily lost in the noise of a typical workday, so always consider complimenting any email messaging with awareness days, charity events and internal roundtables, for example.
Set a clear communication plan based on the insights that you get from your specific company data. This will help you to tailor your messages to each of your audiences and identify the right communication delivery. Taking a strategic approach to engagement will also provide a great foundation to monitor your success and understand if your messages have reached your employees and, more importantly, helped with their wellbeing and mental health.
Line managers are often the first line of support in teams and can be the first people to recognise when poor mental health could be affecting an employee. It is important that they are equipped with the right training and techniques to ensure they can facilitate meaningful, open discussions on mental wellbeing.
There are lots of ways to measure the success of the steps outlined above, taking into account both direct and indirect impacts they will have on your organisation. Tracking employee retention, the impact on stress related illness and absence and the impact on group insurance and claims are all good metrics to monitor.
In partnership with Barnett Waddingham
Everything we stand for at Barnett Waddingham is embedded in our promise – to do the right thing. We’ve applied this meaningful principle across all aspects of our business with continued success.