4 Reasons Why Employers Should Prioritize Their Employees’ Mental Health

Mental health has always been an important issue for employers to consider, but post pandemic it is of even greater relevancy. Over 40% of Americans report increases in mental distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to reporting from the CDC. The CDC also stated that young adults are among the groups who reported having experienced disproportionately worse mental health outcomes, increased substance use, and elevated suicidal ideation.

85% of workers report the workplace itself affects their mental health and wellbeing. The workplace can easily become a cause for stress and mental health issues, but this also means that the workplace has the unique opportunity to be a place of support for employees’ mental health. Mental health in the workplace often spreads, especially from managers to subordinates. As social creatures, humans instinctively pick up and attune to the emotional states of those around them. This also means, that good work culture and a supportive environment can quickly spread to employees and improve their mental state.

Why should employers support the mental health of their employees? Having systems in place to support employee mental health benefits the job environment and the success of your store. According to the CDC, poor mental health and stress can negatively affect employee:

  • Job performance and productivity.
  • Engagement with one’s work.
  • Communication with coworkers.
  • Physical capability and daily functioning.

Here are four reasons why employers should prioritize their employees’ mental health:

1: Better Productivity and Engagement

According to a Harvard study, “respondents who felt supported by their employer also tended to be less likely to experience mental health symptoms, less likely to underperform and miss work, and more likely to feel comfortable talking about their mental health at work.”

2: Healthier Work Culture

According to a Harvard study, of the nearly 85% of employees reporting their workplace negatively affecting their mental health, the most common factor was emotionally draining (e.g., stressful, overwhelming, boring, or monotonous) work, closely followed by work-life balance. Employees who felt that their workplace supported their mental wellbeing had more positive views of their company and its leaders, including trusting their company and being proud to work there.

3: Return on Investment

According to new research released May 13, 2021 from the National Safety Council and NORC at the University of Chicago, employers that support mental health see a return of $4 for every dollar invested in mental health treatment.

4: Employee Retention

According to a study done by Harvard, 68% of Millennials (compared to 50% in 2019) and 81% of Gen Zers (compared to 75% in 2019) have left roles for mental health reasons. The costs of turnover averages $5,733 per year per employee, so employee retention is also important for your bottom-line! A review by BetterUp showed that supporting employee well-being had a significant impact on retention, and focusing on their well-being increased employees’ likelihood to stay at their job by around 31%.

How are you supporting mental health in your retail store? Check out the blog next week for tips on strategies you can implement!

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