Investing In the Mental Health and Wellbeing of Employees
Week 8 Final Assignment -Investing In the Mental Health and Wellbeing of Employees
Final Research Paper:
Overview You have acquired a vast knowledge about multiple topics relevant to managers and HR employees. Below, you will find a list of what some refer as pressing issues and trends facing HR professionals in 2020 and you are asked by senior management to weigh in on---from educating and discussing the implications for the organization to providing solutions in which the organization can implement.
For your final paper, you are being asked to weigh in on one of these issues or trends, defining and educating management exactly what the challenge or trend is, analyzing and discussing the implications for organizations, and what can be done. Do not limit yourself in these approach elements, as you want to make sure that the executive management would have all the information they need to make a decision or take action.
· Pressing Issues
· Corona Virus Pandemic
· Closing the skills gap
· Modernizing employment-based immigration
· Creating organizational cultures that prevent workplace harassment
· Improving the employee experience (i.e. employee engagement)
· Fostering the relationship between workers and robots
· Creating flexible work schedules and environments
· Taking a stand on social issues, i.e. employer/employee activism
· Improving gender diversity
· Investing in mental health and wellbeing of employees
· Addressing the loneliness of remote workers
· Upskilling the workforce
· Focusing on soft skills
· Preparing for Generation Z
· Preventing employee burnout
· Helping managers to manage (i.e. how HR can help managers manage)
· Holistic HR
· People Analytics to Analytics for the People
This is not an exhaustive list. If you find one outside of this list, please send me a message with your request.
Write an 8 page research paper in APA format, 7th edition (excluding the title page, abstract and reference pages) on the topic of your choice from the list above. You are to create an analytical study to evaluate your recommendation, showing and demonstrating a measurable performance impact it would create for the organization. For example, if your intention and recommendation is to reduce turnover and improve performance, then you need to provide both hard and soft data to support your assertions and recommendation, and, in turn, anyone reviewing your report would draw the same conclusions.
You will use a minimum of eight (8) sources, making sure that at least 80% (6) of your sources are peer-reviewed. You are, of course welcomed to use more.
Grading Rubric: Please ensure that you review the grading rubric (select on checkerboard under grade details above) for this assignment carefully, to ensure that you receive the highest possible grade for your work! Read the instructions in detail before beginning this assignment. Please ask questions if necessary.
The purpose of this paper is to look into investing in the mental health and wellbeing of employees. Mental health issues have become a prevalent issue in many organizations, leading to increased absenteeism and reduced productivity. Besides, organizations end up experiencing reduced profitability. The most prevalent ground for withdrawal from employment or early retirement in health issues is poor mental health. The cost of anxiety and depression disorders in the US alone every year is $210.5 billion. Around 6-7% of workers in the US have experienced mental health-related issues. Data collected in 2020 by Gallup indicated that about 24% of employees felt lonely, while 47% felt worried. Various reviews have encompassed evaluations of the effectiveness of the intervention, which are applied in the workplace to facilitate better wellbeing and mental health. Actions can be applied for targeted individuals, as well as at an organizational level. In the recommendations, organizations should be proactive when dealing with mental health issues, and they should also play the long game. Organizations should prioritize their investment by determining the most significant issues to be handled and lastly, they should make use of data analytics to adapt the applied programs to facilitate an effective outcome. Investing In the Mental Health and Wellbeing of Employees
The economic, social, and personal costs of poor mental health and wellbeing, which fall beyond the health-care sector, have been well researched. The cost of anxiety and depression disorders in the US alone every year is $210.5 billion. Around 6-7% of workers in the US have experienced mental health-related issues. A significant percentage of the annual costs are due to losses in employment productivity (Mcdaid & Park, 2011). Behavioral issues, which occur in childhood and persist in adulthood, can augment healthcare costs, as well as costs associated with social services and criminal justice due to reduced employment levels, and even lower salaries. The leading or the second most prevalent ground for withdrawal from employment or early retirement in the health issues is poor mental health (Mcdaid & Park, 2011). Though these are grave effects, they are not sufficient in justifying investing in actions to promote mental wellbeing and health. Therefore, it is imperative not only to pinpoint strong actions that are evidence-based but also to reflect on their resource consequences and costs, beyond and within an organization. Resources will always be limited, with numerous probable different uses, and well-articulated priority setting, and choices for investments (Mcdaid & Park, 2011). More importantly, it is significant to determine whether investing in the enhancing of mental wellbeing and health of employees, might be a viable investment and whether it will deter future costs associated with the mental wellbeing and health of employees.
Mental health and wellbeing of employees
According to WHO, mental health is depicted to be a state of psychological and mental wellbeing, where every person establishes his or her own potential, and they can handle the normal life stressors (Deloitte, 2020). This is in addition to working fruitfully and productively and contributing towards their community. Mental health is determined by an array of environmental, biological, and socioeconomic factors. Wellbeing refers to functioning well and feeling good and encompasses every individual's life experience, and a comparison of life situations with social values and norms. Mental wellbeing refers to the dynamic mental state. Approximately, only about 5% of workers approach the employee assistance program (EAP) annually. However, numerous individuals are encountering mental stressors. Data collected in 2020 by Gallup indicated that about 24% of employees felt lonely, while 47% felt worried (Deloitte, 2020). One out of five adults will be affected by mental health issues every year. One out of ten individuals will suffer from depression, which is one of the leading causes of disability, and globally affects over 264 million people. Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health cases (Deloitte, 2020). However, workers have various mental health conditions that they deal with such as eating disorders, disorders of substance abuse, obsessive-compulsive behavior. These mental conditions may be frequent, but many individuals do not have the courage to seek treatment and speak up. Therefore, the mental health and wellbeing of employees are a great concern for an organization.
There are positive and negative changes that have occurred in the workplace to either reduce or accelerate mental health-related issues. Based on the positive changes, there has been increased social consciousness of mental health issues, via various high-profile forums and campaigns. Employees receive increased support from employers, more so in a large organization through an employee assistance program. Stigma has also been significantly reduced for workers with mental health issues, which has prompted an increase in the number of people who report and seek treatment for mental health issues (Mcdaid & Park, 2011). Conversely, there are some negative changes. There is an increase in “leaveism” where workers fail to disconnect from work, as a result of accelerated use of technology, which leads to burnout. The weight of poor mental health in organizations affects young individuals disproportionately. Hence, young employees are more susceptible to mental health issues in the workplace. They are twice more prone to experience depression, and more vulnerable to financial concerns and “leaveism” than other groups of employees. Consequently, this has led to the increased need for the pervasiveness of mental health programs for young people (Mcdaid & Park, 2011). There has been an increase in the number of people working without adequate employer support, working freelance, under short-term contracts, or initiating uncertainty about their financial future, while there is little or no concern about their mental wellbeing and health needs.
Implications of mental health in an organization
If stress-related issues go untreated, they can escalate to severe and costly mental health issues. According to Goetzel et al. (2018), the estimated work-related stress has culminated in an annual average of 120,000 deaths and pushes the healthcare costs to 190 billion. A study that was conducted in 2016 revealed that the cost of lost productivity due to absenteeism in the US was more than $84 billion (Goetzel, et al. 2018). Anxiety and stress exerted undue pressure on employment relationships and affected the employees' ability to perform well at their jobs. Over the past decade, the level and frequency of absenteeism have decreased significantly, based on CIPD data. Generally, absence due to sickness is falling, but poor mental health issues leading to absenteeism have increased. Nevertheless, the figure 11% for absenteeism may be an underestimate because workers may be unwilling to reveal the real reason for absenteeism due to stigma linked to mental health. Also, employees may opt to work remotely, rather than taking time off, due to mental health-associated stigma (Goetzel, et al. 2018). Finally, employees may have an insufficient understanding of conditions linked to mental health. For instance, workers may apply for absenteeism as a result of poor mental health, but under physical symptoms like headaches.
Investing in the mental health and wellbeing of employees
Various reviews have encompassed evaluations of the effectiveness of the interventions, which are applied in the workplace to facilitate better wellbeing and mental health. Actions can be applied for targeted individuals, as well as at an organizational level (Hasson, 2020). The latter involves measures to enhance awareness of the significance of well-being and mental health for managers, risk management for poor wellbeing and mental health, for example, looking at social relations at work, terms of employment, working conditions, job content, applying modifications to the physical working environment, facilitating opportunities for career development, enhanced employee-employer communication, and flexible working hours (Hasson, 2020). For actions directed towards employees, they can revolve around goal setting, biofeedback, journaling, exercise programmes, time management training, mediation and relaxation training, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Most organizational health promotion evaluations linked to mental health have turned their attention to helping people who have already been identified as suffering from mental health issues to return, enter, or remain in employment. In essence, there are various economic analyses, which focus on promoting mental health (Adams, 2019). They are largely from a US perspective where employers have refrained from investing in workplace health promotion programmes as an incentive because they are bound to pay their employees’ health-care insurance premiums. Based on the organization level, modeling work done during the UK Foresight study of Mental Capital and Well-being purports that considerable economic merits that could occur from investing in the well-being and stress audits are flexibility extension of working hours arrangements and enhanced integration of primary and occupational healthcare. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) developed a comprehensive approach to foster mental well-being at work (Adams, 2019). NICE quantified various business case benefits of reduced absenteeism and improved productivity. NICE deduced that productivity losses to employers due to poor mental health and undue stress could plummet by 30% for a company with 1000 employees, and the company would end up saving €300,000. The English NHS workforce analysis revealed latent economic gains by reducing levels of absenteeism to levels witnessed in the private sector, which is tantamount to more than 15,000 additional employees being available daily to treat patients (Adams, 2019). Hence, English NHS's annual cost saving would amount to £500 million annually.
A majority of the analyses dwell on actions that target individuals, like stress management programmes, which are less intricate to evaluate. There have been various economic assessments of the general well and health promotion programmes. Nevertheless, few analyses dwell on mental well-being-orientated aspects, and when they do, they fail to report stress-specific or mental health outcomes (Chopra, 2019). The wellness program of Johnson and Johnson, which also entails stress management, has been linked with mitigation of costs in the healthcare of $225 annually per employee. Highmark Company’s four-year analysis of its wellness program, including online stress management advice, and stress management classes, revealed a return on each $1 invested of $1.65 when determining the effect in healthcare costs (Chopra, 2019). None of the analyses indicated specific effects on mental stress or well-being. Another intervention study of how to handle stress in the computer industry did not find any viable disparity in stress levels, but there was an imperative reduction in the overall reported illnesses.
A study that reported mental health outcomes, focused on the economic case, for investing in a workplace-based health promotion programme that had multiple components (Haddon, 2018). The components were workshops and seminars focusing on wellness issues, wellness literature, access to a modified health improvement model, health-risk appraisal questionnaire, well-being, and personalized health advice and information. Through a pre-post test study design, those who participated were identified to have reduced health risks significantly. The results also identified reduced work-related depression and stress, improved workplace performance, and reduced absenteeism (Haddon, 2018). The intervention costs for the company were about £70 for every employee and there was a 6-fold investment return as a result of improvements in productivity in the workplace and reduced absenteeism.
In another health promotion scheme, the experience of employees in over three years was evaluated with matched controls. General levels of health risks were reduced significantly, while a significant decrease in the pervasiveness of depression was witnessed, though anxiety rates increased significantly. From the health-care payer perspective, there were savings on net costs (Pohling, 2016). Nevertheless, the participation costs in the health promotion programme were not documented. In Canada, an evaluation that was uncontrolled of a wide-ranging workplace health management plan, involving stress management information, reported a noteworthy reduction in feelings of depression and signs of stress and stress levels after the three-year study period. Though programme costs were not reported, absenteeism and staff turnover decreased substantially (Pohling, 2016). A controlled small study that dwelt in programs to mitigate poor health and stress in correctional officers at youth detention in the US, indicated an increase in cost savings in 3 months amounting to over $1000, though the significance of the study was mitigated due to the small sample size (Pohling, 2016). Nevertheless, the study did not monetize the worth of the productivity gains reported, while there were affirmative changes in fatigue, anger, attitudes, and outlooks.
There are studies where there were no effects on absenteeism rates after interventions of stress management. In other scenarios, analyses of a blend of individual and organizational measures of stress management, reported emotional well-being improvements, reduced absenteeism, and improved productivity, but data on cost was not available.
Recommendations when investing in the mental health and wellbeing of employees
It is not sufficient that an organization tackles poor mental health, but it should also invest in proactive programs, which promote affirmative mental health as well as treatment. The involvement of in-house research will be significant in determining the applicable programs (Shuck & Reio, 2014). One aspect that has proven beneficial in various organizations is the involvement in charitable work and giving back to the community, which has culminated in positive mental health benefits.
Play the long game
Tackling mental health issues will not probably lead to prompt mitigation of absenteeism or escalation in productivity. It may take several years for an organization to realize the anticipated return on investment. Thus, it is imperative to exercise patience. This is a long-term investment, which is measured by more than the financial gain (Shuck & Reio, 2014). Implementing policies of mental health in an organization is not a drastic measure that can be implanted hurriedly. Rather, it requires small increments in the organization over time. A company can start by the identification of issues that may be leading to poor employee mental health, and from there taking using incremental steps to solve these issues. In Canadian, there is the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and- Safety in the Workplace (Shuck & Reio, 2014). It is optional for companies to apply these guidelines so that mental health can be addressed in the workplace. The US does not have such guidelines, but California passed legislation that is similar to that of Canada. Companies can look at these guidelines on how to invest in the mental health and wellbeing of their employees.
Companies may be wondering where money should be spent first. They should first prioritize investments in the areas that are impacted heavily like return-to-work programs and leadership training. The more the managers and supervisors are well prepared to tackle the aspects of mental health at the organization, the better (Baicker & Cutler, 2010). For numerous individuals suffering from mental health issues, resuming normalcy, which means resuming their normal duties at work, is an imperative step. Hence, anything that an organization does to ease the transition will be extremely helpful.
A company should utilize its data analytics to determine whether its investments in programs of mental health are achieving the desired result and adoption rate (Baicker & Cutler, 2010). The results are utilized to adapt the initiatives and programs in a way that augments their outcome. In numerous businesses, mental health is a relatively new phenomenon, which makes the data collected and its application very useful.
Organizations must invest in the mental health and wellbeing of their employees. Mental health issues have become a prevalent issue in many organizations, leading to increased absenteeism and reduced productivity. In addition, organizations end up experiencing reduced profitability. The leading or the second most prevalent ground for withdrawal from employment or early retirement in the health issues is poor mental health. it is significant to determine whether investing in the enhancing of mental wellbeing and health of employees, might be a viable investment and whether it will deter future costs associated with the mental wellbeing and health of employees. There are positive and negative changes that have occurred in the workplace to either reduce or accelerate mental health-related issues. Various reviews have encompassed evaluations of the effectiveness of the interventions, which are applied in the workplace to facilitate better wellbeing and mental health. Actions can be applied for targeted individuals, as well as at an organizational level. Organizations should be proactive when dealing with mental health issues, and they should also play the long game. Organizations should prioritize their investment by determining the most significant issues to be handled and lastly, they should make use of data analytics to adapt the applied programs to facilitate an effective outcome.
Adams, J. M. (2019). The Value of Worker Well-Being. Public Health Reports, 134(6), 583–586. https://doi.org/10.1177/0033354919878434
Baicker, K., & Cutler, (2010). Workplace wellness programs can generate savings. Health Affairs, 29, (2) doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2009.0626
Chopra, P. (2019). Mental health and the workplace: issues for developing countries. Int J Ment Health Syst 3(4), https://doi.org/10.1186/1752-4458-3-4
Deloitte, (2020). Mental health and employers Refreshing the case for investment January 2020. Retrieved on February 27, 2020, from https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/uk/Documents/consultancy/deloitte-uk-mental-health-and-employers.pdf
Goetzel, R. Z. et al (2018). Mental Health in the Workplace, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 60(4), 322-330 doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001271
Haddon, J. (2018), "The impact of employees’ well-being on performance in the workplace", Strategic HR Review, 17 (2), 72-75. https://doi.org/10.1108/SHR-01-2018-0009
Hasson, G. B., D. (2020). Wellbeing & mental health in the workplace. New York: CAPSTONE Publishing LTD.
Mcdaid, D., & Park, A. L. (2011). Investing in mental health and well-being: findings from the DataPrev project. Health promotion international, 26 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), i108–i139. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/dar059
Pohling, R. (2016). Work-related factors of presenteeism: The mediating role of mental and physical health. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 21, 220–234.
Shuck, B., & Reio, T. (2014). Employee engagement and wellbeing: A moderation model and implications for practice. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 21, 43–58