Employee benefits plans are often the number one expense for a company. For an investment that large, do you know if your employee benefits plan is working for you? Is it minimizing sick days and extended absences? Is it providing coverage for specific employee populations? Is it providing coverage for often stigmatized conditions?
An employee benefits plan that works is one that spearheads employee wellness and health as a whole. The truth is, one in five Americans lives with a mental health condition and yet only 60% seek out the appropriate support and services. The stigma of having a mental health condition prevents individuals from getting help, and that could be hurting your organization in in the form of employee dissatisfaction, absenteeism, and high turnover rates.
Keeping employees healthy and well (which don’t always mean the same thing) is key to reducing absenteeism and increasing productivity. How do you provide the mental support that is needed to combat the stigma and encourage employee wellness?
Minimize Sick Time with More Support
Whether it is providing preventative health coverage for simple things like biometric screening for major preventable/treatable diseases or providing coverage for chronic conditions, maximizing employee productivity means minimizing sick time.
According to a recent study from Kaiser Permanente, 62% of missed work days can be attributed to mental illness. It can be hard for people to discuss their mental health and needs for treatment with their peers and managers because they may feel it will reflect poorly on their performance or character. If your benefits program provided mental health services, not only are you offering the help they need, you're also indicating that mental health is a priority in your organization and that it is ok to reach out and use the services. In the long run, absenteeism related to mental health would decrease due to preventative measures and comprehensive coverage of medications and/or counseling.
Maximize Your Contribution
When we think of conditions like mental illness, or even just private medical issues like infertility, the more coverage your organizations’ benefits cover, the better. These conditions are often expensive to treat. That expense, combined with the condition itself, can cause a lot of stress for employees.
You could minimize stress by maximizing coverage (to the extent that is feasible), which helps employees cope with an already tough situation that much more. Minimizing stress can also help minimize time out of the office, or even time in the office fraught with distractions. Keep your employees at ease, keep your business running and make sure you take the human element of benefit selection into account when determining coverage.
Your employee benefits program is an investment. At their best, benefits serve employees and serve an organization equally to ensure wellness on all fronts, a win-win scenario for employees who are supported by their organization and managers who have a team of high-functioning employees. By accounting for mental health in your program, you are building a culture of wellness and productivity simultaneously.