As workplace stress continues to rise, some employers are making changes to increase benefits that promote self-care, wellbeing, and life-work balance.
Director of Workplace Mental Health, Mental Health America (MHA)
Expressing job-related frustrations is an American tradition. However, many employers across the nation over the past year took time to listen to their employees, examine policies, and update benefits that have a direct, personal impact on worker wellbeing. The result: Mental Health America (MHA) awarded the Mental Health Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health to 92 organizations in 11 fields.
Created in 2019, the Bell Seal is awarded to employers that are committed to creating mentally healthy workplaces in four areas: workplace culture, benefits, compliance, and wellness programs. For those that don’t meet one of the levels of certification, MHA provides information on how to create workplaces of mental health excellence.
“The mix of applications from health care to construction really shows organizations across the board are prioritizing employee wellbeing,” said Taylor Adams, director of workplace mental health at MHA and the one who developed and manages the Bell Seal program. “We knew there were challenges to employee mental health before the pandemic. With the ‘great resignation,’ many employers realized big changes needed to be made to increase worker retention and overall mental satisfaction while on the job.”
A staggering, but unsurprising, 80% of workers said work-related stress affects relationships with friends, families, and coworkers, according to MHA’s 2022 Mind the Workplace Report. While a job can affect everything around you, the numbers also showed that workers have difficulty concentrating at work (71%), are actively looking for a new position (56%), and don’t feel like their managers care about their personal wellbeing (59%).
Adams said that Bell Seal recipients understand their workforce’s needs and responded to employee feedback with meaningful policy changes, improved benefits, and additional support. Bell Seal organizations reported, among many benefits, offering employees: full coverage of mental health counseling visits, regardless of provider or network; increased compensation, transparency, and equity; permanent flexible work schedules, enhanced leave policies, and encouragement to use paid time off; and an inclusive environment by revising hiring practices, celebrating different cultural holidays, and talking openly about physical or mental illness to reduce stigma.
To learn more about the certification process and see other ways employers creatively boost morale, visit mhanational.org/bestemployers.