Beyond the balance sheet: Why investing in employee mental health pays off

Beyond the balance sheet: Why investing in employee mental health pays off

Workplaces are crucial determining factors for an employee’s mental health. While workplaces can often amplify issues contributing to poor mental health, they can also play a crucial role in protecting the mental health of employees. In fact, according to the WHO, “for people with mental health conditions, decent work can contribute to recovery and inclusion, improve confidence and social functioning.” The post-pandemic world witnessed a steep rise in mental health problems among individuals and workforces. Therefore, possessing good mental health is an asset for individuals, organisations and economies. This means that viewing the mental health of employees not only as an ethical requirement for organisations but also as a business strategy and investment is a must. In other words, workplaces must treat the mental health of their employees mental health as an investment that would yield benefits for both parties. 

But first, what is mental health?

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “Mental health is a state of mental wellbeing that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realise their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community.” It affects all areas of an individual and society. The WHO considers mental health “a basic human right” and “safe and healthy work environments” a “fundamental right,” treating employee mental health as a social responsibility of organisations.

How can organisations invest in employee mental health?

Organisations must make necessary interventions to support the mental health of their employees. These interventions must target areas like a workplace environment, sponsored therapy, easily accessible mental health resources, flexible work hours, fair compensation, and more. 

We at Manah Wellness provide a wide range of cutting-edge digital tools and resources to support the mental wellbeing of your employees.

Why invest in employee mental health?

Mental health investment is a strategic business decision that can help you achieve organisational success. Here are the benefits of such investment: 

Increased employee satisfaction

At the end of the day, what matters the most for an organisation, is satisfied customers and satisfied employees. Studies reveal that the relationship between employee satisfaction and the mental health of that employee is reciprocal and directly proportional. Fair compensation, career development opportunities, work-life balance, etc create a satisfied employee who remains loyal towards the organisation and gives their absolute best to it. All the points mentioned below, are directly linked to employee satisfaction.

Increased productivity

Since workplaces can be one of the major causes of stress in an individual’s life, many employees consider good mental health to be their top sought-after benefit in workplaces. A mentally healthy employee is naturally more productive than an employee who isn’t. Good mental health ensures good productivity metrics because a happy employee is an efficient employee. 

Reduced costs

According to a report of the Mental Health Foundation, UK produced with Unum, “the value added by people with mental health problems in the workforce is greater than the costs arising. Improving and protecting mental health secures that value and should help reduce cost.” 

Increased return on investment

According to the WHO, for every single dollar invested into the mental health of the employees, employees and organisations witness a four-dollar improvement in their health and productivity metrics. Therefore, mental health investment could contribute to a higher return on investment. A study conducted by Deloitte also found the same and revealed that such return on investment increases when these programs are implemented over longer periods. According to Forbes, “Compared to other common business investments, these programs are a bargain.”

Between a rock and a hard place

Mental health issues and burnout only add to absenteeism among employees, for obvious reasons. However, studies reveal that if employees suffering from poor mental health show up to work, the costs of productivity loss are even higher - at least 3 to 4 times the cost of absenteeism. Therefore, the organisation suffers in both situations, and the best route for it is to ensure its employees are mentally healthy. 

Long term sustainability 

Mental health investment in employees reduces absenteeism, increases retention of employees, and thereby also reduces the cost incurred during recruitment, training and re-training. 

Save Our Souls 

In the present times, while more and more organisations and companies are proactively investing in mental health programs to increase their productivity metrics, minimise costs in the long run, ensure employee wellbeing, increase employee engagement and more, an organisation that does not invest in the mental health of its employees would soon find itself at a competitive disadvantage. 

The vicious cycle of organisational success

Finally, an organisation that invests in the mental health of its employees, will experience overall organisational success. These will include increased productivity, reduced employee turnover rates, reduced costs of hiring and training, increased return on investment etc. It will also witness goodwill from both employees and customers who trust the organisation and are more inclined towards working in it or buying its products or services. Goodwill among prospective employees will ensure that the organisation has a better pool to hire from, ultimately leading to a healthy, skilled, and productive workforce.