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How Mental Wellness and Employee Engagement Are Interrelated

Neil Leibowitz, MD, JD, chief medical officer at mobile therapy company, Talkspace, discusses the growing push for raising awareness around mental health among employers and strategies to implement more wellness-oriented benefits.

Neil Leibowitz, MD, JD

Chief Medical Officer, Mobile Therapy Company, Talkspace

What major challenge do companies face when trying to improve workplace wellness and employee retention?

Companies are having a difficult time evaluating the various solutions that can improve employee well-being in an increasingly crowded wellness landscape. Another challenge then becomes understanding why the solutions organizations currently offer, often at great expense, are not meeting the needs of their employees. It is important not only to actively prioritize but also to allocate sufficient resources to addressing the needs of today’s workforce that faces significant challenges with mental wellness.

What is one industry trend that is helping to combat this major challenge you just mentioned?

Telehealth is increasingly becoming not only a viable alternative — but a preferable one — for many organizations, offering both cost-effective, convenient solutions and better clinical outcomes. 

What do you think employees look for when evaluating a potential employer?

Aside from basics like stability, growth opportunities, and compensation, employees are looking at the totality of their benefits package — with health benefits typically ranking as their highest priority. Many are increasingly looking at health coverage in the context of a suite of benefits that includes wellness offerings outside of a traditional health care benefits package consisting of medical, dental, and vision.

What is the best advice you can give to HR managers to increase employee engagement?

Understanding your employees and their increasingly complex and challenging lives is crucial. The workforce today is more anxious and deals with more uncertainty and instability than in the recent past. Pursue solutions and benefit options that help your employees address these struggles — whether in the mental health arena, with regard to financial wellness, or other channels. This will help them live happier, healthier, and — important to employers — more productive lives.

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