Study shows how companies take care of their employees’ mental health

The researchers surveyed 572 professionals and published their findings in FGV EAESP’s journal, GV-Executive, presenting possible ways to improve the situation.
管理学
27 四月 2023
Study shows how companies take care of their employees’ mental health

A study was recently carried out to look at the mismatch between the high incidence of mental disorders among professionals in Brazil and insufficient actions to deal with this problem. It was conducted by Paul Ferreira, director of the Professional Master’s in Administration Program at Fundação Getulio Vargas’ Sao Paulo School of Business Administration (FGV EAESP); Taynã Appel, a business administration student at FGV EAESP and Bocconi University; and Ines Hungerbühler, head of clinical strategy at Gympass.

The researchers surveyed 572 professionals and published their findings in FGV EAESP’s journal, GV-Executive, presenting possible ways to improve the situation. The COVID-19 pandemic triggered an increase in mental health problems and companies then began to pay more attention to this topic. Despite this, however, some organizations underestimate its importance and need to pay more attention to it.

The study verified the following among organizations and leaders:

  • Different benefits were implemented in response to the pandemic;
  • These initiatives are perceived as insufficient by employees and there are divergences between what companies communicate and what is actually applied in everyday work;
  • Leaders have a key role to play in coordinating any mental health policy.

Findings

  • The current mental health picture at companies

In 2020 and 2021, because of the pandemic, workers’ mental health was significantly affected by direct health problems, fear of catching the disease and uncertainty about the future. In 2022, the situation changed and professionals became more concerned about professional overload, triggering episodes of demotivation, panic attacks, depression and burnout.

  • The most important benefits

The main benefits reported were health insurance, financial assistance and leadership/professional development.

  • Communication, implementation and perception gaps

Most of the interviewees said that their company hasn’t implemented or communicated eight of 12 benefits listed as priorities, such as comprehensive mental health programs including psychological care, provision of masks, mindfulness activities and yoga.

  • The role of managers

According to the respondents, the most important measure would be to improve communication or alignment with their leaders, but almost two-thirds of them claim that their company does not have any initiative to achieve this.

  • Mental health and performance

Although companies are well aware of the need to take care of their employees’ mental health, the evidence serves as a counterargument to the myopic view that looking after workers’ mental health and well-being is merely a way to reduce costs. What was observed is that they do little or do not worry about anything.

The article highlights three lessons learned that are relevant to organizations and their leaders:

  • Companies’ initial response to demand for mental health care was based on the implementation of different employee benefits;
  • This response is perceived as insufficient by employees and there are divergences between what companies communicate and what is actually applied in everyday work;
  • Leaders have a key role to play in coordinating any mental health policy.
     

Recommendations

  • Encourage open conversations to reduce stigma.
  • Listen first. Maintaining active listening is important.
  • Provide mental health training.
     

According to the researchers, the study found that employees require holistic support with regard to mental health. “The solution is a proactive approach that puts employees first and redesigns work arrangements, processes and objectives to be more humane and healthier for workers. This will help HR regain a more strategic role and it will also have positive long-term benefits, including greater employee engagement, productivity and loyalty,” they write.

To read the full article, visit our website.

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