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As the situation in Ukraine evolves, businesses should be mindful of potential risks to their people, assets, operations, or supply chains in the region and globally. Marsh, as part of the Marsh McLennan family of companies, has created a page with information, tools, and resources related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Please visit the page for the latest information.

February 17, 2022

Investing wellness in your employees

Dana Gore

February is National Heart Month, which makes now a perfect time to discuss why wellness plans are so critical.  As a consultant, if I asked 10 different people their views and thoughts around wellness I would likely get 10 completely different answers.  Some may think of a daily walking challenge, some a preventive screen campaign, while others think of a healthy eating challenge.  The possibilities are endless, which makes the idea of implementing a wellness plan quite overwhelming. 

We categorize wellness into four different buckets: emotional/mental, physical, nutritional and financial.  Each wellness category is important in its own unique way, but one that has been a major focus lately is mental health. It ties into all the other aspects of wellness and also greatly impacts workforce productivity. Mental health is projected to result in $16 trillion globally in lost output and productivity by 2030–a number that outpaces monetary losses driven by heart disease, cancer and diabetes. 80% of the workforce, leadership and employees believe that poor employee mental health negatively influences employee productivity.  As many of us are aware, the labor market is already tight, and employers can’t afford decreased productivity within their current workforces.  A wellness plan is truly a great investment for your employees and your organization.

How can you help with employee mental health, and what benefit will come of it?  There are plenty of ways to get started – and here is why you should hop on board. Employers are searching high and low for ways to attract and retain talent.  According to Naveen Bhateja, Chief People Officer at Meditata Solutions, “The shift toward prioritizing both mental and physical health long-term will be a key differentiator and competitive advantage for companies as they support the overall well-being of their staff and attract high-caliber talent.”  Here are a few strategies to help combat mental health issues in your workplace.  First, the biggest part is reducing the stigma.   This should be a top priority for companies.  If you already have mental health benefits in place, make sure employees are aware of them.  Research has shown that employees are not aware of what their employer offers in terms of mental health benefits.  There should be a clear communication plan put into place for you company.  Employees are looking for help with counseling, supporting children and teens, reducing loneliness and more support around addressing the stigma.  Another way to help combat mental health is implementing an employee assistance program. These benefit programs assist employees with personal problems and work-related problems that may affect their job performance and are widely available with many health insurance plans. Clear communication to employees on what is available and how to use these benefits is a great place to start.

As we move forward, employees will struggle with lingering effects from the pandemic.  This is not something that will just go away, especially as we move forward in this new way of the working world.  It’s essential, now more than ever, to start investing in your employees’ well-being.