Addressing employee stress is important to a good benefits strategy – report

Report points to correlation between higher benefits and employee satisfaction

Addressing employee stress is important to a good benefits strategy – report

Life & Health

By Mika Pangilinan

Employee stress is a major issue that companies need to address in order to attract and retain talent, according to a new report by Mercer Marsh Benefits.

The report surveyed over 17,500 employees in 16 global markets about their health and well-being priorities, revealing that nearly half (47%) of all employees admitted to feeling stressed in everyday life.

These employees also identified the factors that put them at risk for burnout at work, ranking work pressures (54%), poor leadership (39%), and toxic culture (37%) at the top of the list.

Additionally, only 58% of employees agreed or strongly agreed that they feel free to speak their minds without fear of negative consequences.

In light of these findings, the report underscored the importance of addressing psychological safety in the workplace and encouraged employers to tackle the underlying causes of workplace stress through a “comprehensive and inclusive benefits strategy.”

This could include reviewing job design and supervisor competencies, the report noted, as well as creating a culture of belonging and inclusive decision-making, and offering benefits such as reduced-cost mental health treatment and virtual counselling.

The report also revealed that 21% of employees are concerned about affording healthcare, with women and single mothers being significantly more likely to lack confidence in their ability to afford needed healthcare than men.

To address these healthcare gaps, the report urged employers to explore benefits and employee experience strategies that “balance human and digital health delivery and respond to the different needs of a diverse workforce.”

Correlation between higher benefits and employee satisfaction

Employees who felt that their employers care about health and well-being were much more likely to be thriving, with survey findings indicating a positive correlation between higher levels of benefits and employee satisfaction.

Specifically, the survey revealed that employees who receive 10 or more benefits are more likely to believe their employer cares about their health and well-being. They are also less likely to move to a different employer and are more confident that they can afford the healthcare their family needs, according to the report.

Mercer Marsh Benefits global leader Hervé Balzano stressed the importance of offering a wide range of benefits to address significant gaps in protection for workforces.

“Our research shows how these challenges, along with multiple pressure points facing healthcare systems, have brought to light significant gaps in protection for workforces,” he said. “This is particularly true among groups such as low-paid workers, caregivers, and women.”

Amy Laverock, global advice and solutions leader at Mercer Marsh Benefits, echoed this by emphasizing the need for employers to take a values-based approach to their benefits strategies.

“Employees who feel cared for by their employer are more likely to report organizational leadership that is committed to a healthy culture,” she said. “Work-related commitments such as embedding well-being in job design and taking action on issues such as living wages and social justice are a key part of this. It also means giving employees confidence that they can afford the healthcare that they and their families need and having access to benefits that are relevant to them.”

The 2023 Health on Demand Report by Mercer Marsh Benefits was conducted from October to November 2022 and involved 17,531 employee respondents spread across 16 markets globally.

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