Depression, which is recognized as the predominant condition, has become more widespread due to the pandemic. A survey by Gartner, Inc., conducted in the fourth quarter of 2020, conducted in the fourth quarter of 2020, found that more than a quarter of the workforce (29%) described themselves as depressed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Employers respond and offer programs that employees use. According to the survey, 49% of employees who reported that their organization offers a mental well-being program participated in it in 2020.
“The need for welfare support has grown exponentially since the pandemic, giving organizations a new mandate to offer more and better programs,” said Carolina Valencia, vice president at Gartner HR Practice. “Organizations, more than ever, need to respond to all aspects of the individual, from the physical to the emotional, and address some of the new stressors that have emerged over the past year.”
When evaluating initiatives for the benefit of their organization, Garners offers these points to consider:
Dedicate yourself to helping employees cope with stressors, even after a post-pandemic
In response to the challenges posed by the pandemic, most organizations have taken urgent action to support their staff. Gartner’s research found that 87% of businesses provide flexible working hours to employees who act as caregivers for family members. In addition, 26% of employees were given leave to care for children, and 21% to PTO for care of the elderly.
In addition, a Gartner survey of 50 human resource leaders found that 64% of companies provided a new welfare offering to support their staff, while 34% of companies expanded access to their existing offering.
However, only a quarter of organizations report that they plan to maintain the programs introduced during the pandemic in the foreseeable future. Leaders should consider maintaining the program after the pandemic because of financial difficulties and long-term stress that will continue even after the epidemic subsides.
Customize support to meet different employee needs
To address the different needs of employees, organizations need to ensure a match between the support they offer and the demand of employees. However, according to a Gartner survey, less than half of employees (46%) feel that their organization’s well-being programs are personalized. To mitigate this, organizations can take certain steps to achieve matching between support and demand – such as offering more choice. Currently, only 19% of employees working for organizations with mental well-being programs report having access to five or more offers.
In addition, leaders should give employees the tools to cope on their own in challenging moments at the right time. One tactic used by successful organizations is to encourage employees to assess their own well-being. This makes it easier for employees to easily set benchmarks, map a development plan to improve their well-being, and hold accountable for their own well-being. More importantly, it encourages employees to look for offers that the organization already offers.
Establish programs, processes, and guidelines to enable discussions
Although the COVID-19 pandemic was an anomaly, disruptions are becoming more common and organizations must be equipped to support employee welfare.
Leaders must establish programs, processes, and guidelines before any unexpected event follows. These efforts should empower – but not force – employees to discuss topics that might otherwise be nervous, including mental health challenges, resolving employee tensions, and emotional health issues.
Gartner’s research reveals that only about half of employees (49%) agree that their manager understands their problems and needs. To address this issue, leaders can provide easily understandable information that defines the level of manager involvement that is expected when providing support to their employees in mental and emotional health issues.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear to employers and employees that work and life cannot be treated as two separate assemblies,” Valencia said. “If employers help support employees more effectively in all aspects of their health in turbulent times, they not only have a better life, but also work at a higher level. In fact, organizations that provide holistic welfare support can increase employee discretionary efforts by 21%, twice as much as companies that offer only traditional (physical and financial) programs. “