About Us Global insights Burnout culture is out. Workplace mental health is in. 3 ways businesses can promote employee well-being.

Burnout culture is out. Workplace mental health is in. 3 ways businesses can promote employee well-being.

Employers are responding to some of employees’ top concerns—work-life balance, burnout, financial stress—with mental health and well-being initiatives. It’s good for employees and good for businesses.

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3 min read |

Excessive workloads aren’t new. Inflexibility at the office has typically been the norm.

Yet, concerns about employee mental health are at peak levels—the highest in years—according to late-2022 research by Principal®.1 What’s going on? Employers cite clear contributors:

Reasons for worsening employee mental health1

Burnout factors

  • Poor work-life balance 
  • Inflexible/longer work hours 
  • Not taking time off

Economic factors 

  • Inflation 
  • Rising cost of living 
  • Resulting concerns about personal finances 
Infographic showing 36% of businesses are planning to increase mental health and well-being programs.

of businesses are planning to increase mental health and well-being programs.2

In response, many employers are adding or expanding their mental health benefit offerings2 and taking initiative to improve employee experiences. It’s both the right thing to do and—bonus!—boosting employee morale tends to lead to better productivity and retention.

Leading a team of your own? Read on for three ways you can make a difference in your employees’ mental health and well-being.

1. Address employee burnout.

In 2022, 44% of employees reported feeling burnt out3—mentally or physically exhausted and less motivated. The best solutions are unsurprising but big:3

  • Reduce heavy workloads
  • Offer more flexibility
  • Increase paid time off

If you’re worried you can’t afford to make significant changes in these areas, consider how you might at least move the needle. Say, giving employees a Friday off after meeting a big deadline. Or arranging for solo projects to be completed anytime, anywhere.

Access to and support from leadership also means a lot—especially to Gen Zers and millennials.3 Schedule regular manager-employee touch-bases that encompass job and life concerns. A few talking points:

  • What filled your cup last week?
  • What stressed you out more than normal?
  • What are you working on that I can help with? What barriers are you facing?

During these conversations, make a plan to address issues or offer better support—all while gaining insight into how your team member is feeling.

2. Build a benefits package that serves employee mental health.

Employee mental health isn't all on you. Providing access to professional, affordable resources and care is essential in promoting employee mental health and well-being.

An employee assistance program (EAP) offers a vast array of confidential services at no cost to the individual, often by phone or online. Services include:

  • Coaching on coping skills and stress management
  • Substance use and addiction treatment, through EAP services or referrals to local providers
  • Life-assistance services ranging from childcare to identity theft
  • Training on workplace management and leadership skills
  • Critical incident response sessions, helping individuals process traumatic events

From there, consider how easily an employee could get more substantial therapy or treatment if needed and how much it would cost under their health insurance options. Ensure employees have the flexibility to step away for any in-person or telehealth appointments.

The scope of mental health challenges ranges wide.

Encourage an open and accepting environment by taking steps to decrease stigma.

  • Educate yourself and others about the facts of mental illness.
  • Recognize the signs of mental illness and seek professional help when needed.
  • Show empathy for those living with mental health and substance use disorders—while respecting workplace privacy laws and norms.
  • Be aware of your attitudes and language choices.

3. Support employees’ financial well-being, too. 

Economic inflation is on everyone’s minds. Employees report it’s their No. 1 concern.2 And employers say it significantly contributes to employees’ worsening mental health, citing rising costs of living and concerns about personal financial situations.1

While you directly impact your employees’ financial situations through compensation, consider broader ways you can support them. For example:

  • Offering a financial wellness program with tools, resources, and education—and highlighting key content
  • Auto-enrolling employees in a robust retirement plan with employer-match incentives
  • Financially assisting employees with student debt
  • Offering emergency relief funds in the event of a personal or regional crisis

Taking steps to provide your team members with balance and resources can dramatically improve their personal and professional lives. And in the long run, serving your team is serving your business.