Supportive Benefits Vital to Improving Employee Retention & Mental Health

Plan Audit ProcessSupportive benefits have arrived.  As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, employer support benefits are now vital to employees’ well being.  This according to a new study from Mercer.  The study found that employers who are supportive fare better with employee satisfaction, loyalty, and retention – than those who aren’t.  In fact, caring employers with supportive benefits have an advantage when it comes to cultivating a more resilient and loyal workforce, according to Mercer.

Mercer’s recent “Health on Demand” study shows an interesting trend (download required for full report).  The study found that employees who believe they’ve received positive support from their employers since the pandemic began are much less likely to view their individual experience with the pandemic as negative.  This is compared to those who got little or no support (25% vs. 49%).  In addition, almost half (45%) of those receiving support from employers say they are more likely to remain at their job.

The Mercer study shines a spotlight on the pandemic’s physical, emotional, and mental toll on employees.  Especially when it comes to individual stress levels.  More than half of U.S. employees said they felt some level of stress in the past year.  Nearly 60% of employees reported feeling some stress, while 25% said they were highly or extremely stressed.  And as some offices reopen across the country, many employees are feeling the stress of returning to work in-person.

Nearly a quarter of the Mercer survey respondents indicated they had mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety.  Another fifth said they are financially worse off, and, nearly a fifth reported feeling less physically healthy or fit.  About half of employees surveyed (48%) say employer support for mental health is highly or extremely valuable.  While 40% report that finding and accessing mental health care is a challenge.

How can employers respond to this pandemic of employee stress?  According to Mercer, offering a variety of well-being, supportive benefits, and stress reduction resources can be helpful.  Among employees whose employers offer 10 or more health and well-being benefits or resources, 52% report their benefits give them a reason to remain with their employer.  This compares favorably to 32% of those offered between one and five benefits.

The types of benefits offered make a difference as well.  For instance, Mercer found that one-fifth of employees used telemedicine for the first time during the pandemic, and another 23% increased their usage of this benefit.  Among those who tried telemedicine for the first time, 72% said they intend to keep using it.

Digital solutions are also more valuable to more employees in 2021 compared to Mercer’s 2019 Health on Demand survey.  As such, Mercer said this finding supports the idea that employers should embrace more virtual and digital health care solutions.

Employers should strive to offer supportive benefits that foster and encourage employees’ mental well-being and overall health.  In addition, virtual and digital solutions seem to be important to employees, so employers should consider implementing these benefits offerings when possible.  As the Great Resignation continues, more employees are looking for higher pay and better benefits elsewhere.  Employers have an opportunity to boost employee satisfaction, retention, and well-being by offering a varied menu of benefits that are valuable and meet employees’ needs.

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