Eighty percent of workers indicated they were more inclined to stay with a firm that provided good mental health benefits. However, how can HR and benefits experts determine if their approach to workplace mental health is effective in the current market? An expert panel from renowned consulting organisations, including TRUEbenefits, Willis Towers Watson, Marsh McLennan Agency, and NFP, was put together by Modern Health to provide a response to this question. Our panellists discussed the current state of mental health solutions and provided advice on how HR and benefits specialists may create more effective benefit plans. The main conclusions from this conversation are listed below.
- Take Employer Access & Location into Account
When assessing mental health benefits, employer location is crucial because access to care varies greatly by region. With almost a 50% gap between those who need help and those who provide it, there is also a severe shortage of mental health professionals.
What’s even more concerning is how severe the lack of mental health professionals is in many parts of the US. Many populations in several East Coast states are underserved, according to Amanda Hahn, vice president of health and benefits at NFP. Here are the shockingly low rates of people who receive mental health needs, per data from the Department of Health and Human Services:
- 23% in New York
- 15% for Connecticut
- 5% in Washington, DC
- 33% in New Jersey
Examine whether a mental health solution offers support through a wide network of providers to guarantee that employees receive the care they require whenever they need it. Essential Hint: Take into account how soon workers can reach providers while assessing a mental health benefits plan.
2. Pay Attention to Employee Demographics
The first step in learning how to meet a wide range of culturally diverse needs is to have a clear sense of the workforce demographics. People frequently feel more at ease around service providers who share their values, cultural heritage, or other demographic and psychological characteristics.
People prefer a provider who “mirrors” who they are, according to Aanya Lee, Senior Consultant at TRUEbenefits. “There aren’t many providers, so it’s difficult to find one in their market who reflects their persona, personality, and uniqueness.”
Employees from all over the world who require care in a particular language or time zone have a wide range of needs, which is particularly true. Important Advice: To ensure the highest level of care regardless of provider location, choose a mental health solution that has clinical practises and provides ongoing training to its network of providers.
3. Be Mindful of Employee Care Preferences
One size does not fit all when it comes to the demands of employees in terms of mental health treatment. As highlighted in the webinar by Bryan Vercler, Modern Health’s Head of Partnerships:
“For instance, people in Latin American nations like group solutions, but workers in Asia and the Pacific can choose digital and self-directed ones. Thus, being aware of your demographics might assist you provide the best combination of solutions for your staff.
To enhance their present benefits, HR directors and benefits specialists may wish to search for a mental health solution that provides individualised assistance like one-on-one treatment, coaching, self-paced programmes, and group sessions. Important Advice: Find a mental health solution that fosters participation by delivering a range of mental health services that cater to different employee requirements.
4. Assess Utilization Data and Trends
Companies may determine if their workers benefit from a mental health service and whether their requirements are being addressed (or not) by looking at engagement and usage statistics. Director at Willis Towers Watson Robyn Harmon proposes examining current health care expenditures, in-network and out-of-network use, where people go for treatment, the most common ailments, and RX pricing. Harmon explains:
“Even if EAP use is low, it doesn’t always mean that the populace has a need for it. It could be a result of difficulties navigating, lack of access to quality treatment, stigma, difficulties locating the correct provider, and so on.
If employers discover that their staff members are seeking mental health prescriptions from their primary care physicians, it may indicate that there are obstacles to mental health treatment in the area. It could also signify that staff members just don’t know who to ask for assistance when they do. Finding a mental health benefits package that can address those particular requirements could be simpler if HR and benefits specialists identify any current gaps. Important Advice: To hasten the analysis of employee benefits data, while selecting a mental health solution, establish that the partner can provide real-time reporting.
5. Look Beyond Financial Returns
A company’s bottom line may be negatively impacted by the expenditures associated with employee absenteeism brought on by mental health problems as well as any resulting poor engagement or dissatisfaction. The opposite, however, is also possible. Organizations who engage in employee health and wellbeing often earn a return on their investment of six times that amount, according to a 2021 research by Modern Health and Forrester.
While many businesses base their benefit evaluations on ROI statistics, HR and benefits professionals should consider the whole return on investment. Many beneficial effects of treatments in mental health may not be measurable in these figures. Robyn Harmon made this point in reference to one of her customers who discovered that after using coaching assistance, staff members had become considerably more prevention-focused. Finding a mental health solution that provides workers with assistance to promote personal and professional development is an essential tip.
6. Opt For A Solution Holistically Supports Mental Health
Principal at Marsh McLennan Agency Adam Moise spoke on the value of mentoring, training, stress management, and career growth. According to Moise, a benefits consultant, coaching guidance may be very beneficial to employees:
“What a brilliant concept it is to combine real mental health help or treatment with coaching. Therapy is not always necessary. Actually, a lot of people don’t. Most individuals only need a push in the correct direction.
Traditional mental health benefits may be offered via health insurance plans and employee assistance programmes (EAPs), but new forms of assistance may help to personalise the treatment process and provide tools that can aid all workers, regardless of their requirements. Important Advice: Look for a solution that can assist staff members with demands ranging from low to high acuity, fosters personal and professional growth, and provides dependant or family assistance.
7. Evaluate the Employee Experience
How simple it is for workers to identify and apply the advantages has a big impact on how widely adopted and used your mental health solution is. According to Amanda Hahn, the following often occurs when businesses initially begin to incorporate new mental health benefits:
The company observes a need for employee perks like counselling, meditation, or telemedicine.
This perk is an addition from the employer.
After monitoring the data for a few months, they discover a low level of engagement or use.
What took place? Employees who don’t aware about benefits or who feel overburdened by the choices are often to blame for poor usage. When benefits are provided via a distinct source rather than an all-in-one solution, low usage may also occur.
Find a service that provides as many options as possible in one location while guiding workers to the one that best suits their requirements to avoid overloading them. When you’re ready to put your new solution into practise, rely on employee resource groups or peer-to-peer networks as well as management to spread the news. It’s also crucial to work with a solution that can provide resources to assist staff, management, and other crucial stakeholders in order to save you time. Ask a mental health solution provider whether they provide trial access so that you may try out some of the advantages or solutions they provide. Schedule a demo with a member of our staff now if you want to assess your benefits to determine if there is opportunity for improvement or learn more about Modern Health.