Ninety-six percent of employers believe improving mental health in the workplace is good for their business, but only 65% indicate their company provides adequate mental health services, according to findings from a new survey released by national nonprofit Transamerica Center for Health Studies.
Generally, there's awareness that an employee's physical health has an impact on absenteeism and productivity. But mental health, formerly a taboo subject, is garnering increasing recognition as well, and for the same reasons.
The seventh annual comprehensive view of employer-sponsored health benefit offerings surveyed 1,379 employer decision makers, and showed companies recognize the value and business imperative of offering mental health benefits to their employees.
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While almost all employers believe improving mental health in the workplace is good for their business, 17% of employers acknowledge not offering any resources at all. The most common mental health resources offered by employers are stress management classes (39%) and mental health awareness training (39%).
WHAT'S THE IMPACT
Employers are confident: 88% feel their company's current financial situation is good or excellent.
In light of their financial position and the health coverage mandate for employers with 50 or more employees, nearly 100% of large and midsize employers report offering health insurance to full time employees, and 25% of all employers offer health insurance to part-time employees.
Employers that provide coverage expect to continue to provide health insurance and other healthcare benefits to their employees, with only 4% expecting their company to reduce coverage as much as possible. The survey also found that in the next one to two years, about 62% of employers expect their company to make positive changes and additions to health benefits for employees, while only 27% expect negative changes to those benefits.
Yet cost and affordability remain high priorities for employers when managing their employee health benefits. More than seven in 10 employers overall -- those that offer health coverage and those that don't -- say their company is concerned about affordability.
These employers want to address this challenge jointly with employees, with a strong majority of employers, 78%, saying they're taking action to manage healthcare costs and almost the same number (79%) wanting employees to take more action to minimize healthcare costs.
As for what they're doing to reduce costs: Nearly two in five concerned employers are finding ways to reduce health insurance premiums, while others are comparison shopping for the best options (37%) or talking to benefit advisors about how to reduce costs (37%).
WHAT ELSE YOU SHOULD KNOW
There are notable differences between all employers and employees when it comes to workplace wellness programs. Almost two-thirds of employers (63%) say they offer a workplace wellness program, but only 43% of employed consumers say their employer offers such benefits.
Among employers offering a wellness program, more than four in five say it positively impacts performance and productivity (84%), workers' health (83%), and workers' job satisfaction (81%). But only 59% of employed consumers agree they would have greater commitment to their company if they offered programs to improve their health and well-being.
Further discrepancies are seen in the overall employer perception of somewhat or very important attributes to attract and retain employees: flexibility for caregivers, 79%; maternity leave/benefits, 77%; paternity leave/benefits, 72%.
Again, by comparison, the survey showed employed consumers believe the following are somewhat/very important: 66% for flexibility for caregivers; 52% for maternity leave/benefits; and 72% for paternity leave/benefits.