Increasing mental health programs in companies does not only increase revenues. The benefits actually go beyond profits. Here’s why!
Having solid mental health programs in your organization attracts younger people to the company as well as increasing employee- and customer retention. Isn’t that what every company dreams of? Nevertheless, some of the more established companies seem to be stuck in their ways and still don’t prioritize mental health programs or don’t deem them as important enough. Especially after having lived through the pandemic of COVID-19, the world has seen how important mental health is. As we can increasingly see in this ever changing world, more and more young companies and start-ups are led by young entrepreneurs who make mental health one of their top priorities.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a basis for understanding the role of mental health programs
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is what will guide you through this blog post. Personally, I believe it to be one of the best ways that someone has analyzed and understood human psychological needs. As you probably know, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is portrayed in a pyramid. At the bottom of the pyramid we have physiological needs (which include having air, water, food and shelter), then we have safety needs (which include personal security, employment, resources and health), then we have love and belonging (which include friendship, intimacy, family and a sense of connection), then we have esteem needs (which include respect, self-esteem, status, recognition and strength) and lastly, we have self-actualization, (which is the desire to become the most that one can be).
After a long analysis of this pyramid, I have found 4 reasons as to why companies should prioritize having good mental health programs to show their concern about their employees’ mental health. The reasons will be supported with Maslow’s needs (leaving out physiological needs).
Safety needs and reducing healthcare costs
Various studies have shown that there’s a direct impact between reducing healthcare costs and having good mental health. The national safety council in America has found that in 2021 some organizations have spent over $15,000, on average, on each employee giving them mental health treatment when asked for it multiple times. On a happier note however, employers who support mental health and have substantial mental health programs see a return of $4 for every $1 invested in mental health treatment. That would mean that prioritizing your employees’ mental health isn’t only positive for your company. It’s also positive for keeping your employees safe and healthy.
Love, belonging and collaboration
When an employees’ mental health is prioritized in a company, employees feel increasingly psychologically safe to share opinions and collaborate more effectively with their team. When we feel that we are in a safe space, we are more likely to discuss what we think with our peers, and we are more likely to approach people and be open minded to work with others that we haven’t worked with before. Everyone knows that feeling where if you’re in an environment that gives you negative energy you don’t feel like you want to give anything back. However, if you are in an environment that welcomes you with open arms, you are more than likely to feel positive energy and want to give that back. Hence, when mental health is made a top priority, the idea flow and creativity at a company increases immensely.
Esteem needs and loyalty
When companies are seen as prioritizing the mental health of their employees, among other currently salient issues, such as sustainability, customers are more likely to buy from those companies. The McKinsey group has recently published a study showing that 79% of the respondents said that they believe that wellness is important and 42% consider it a top priority. This shows us that not only is it important to prioritize mental health for employees, but it actually creates a stronger sense of loyalty from the customer to the brand because the company is seen as caring for the people that they affect.
Self actualization, innovation & employee retention
An employee who’s mental health is prioritized can foster an encouraging and risk-taking environment, where they and their colleagues feel more confident. This leads to all employees thinking outside the box, becoming more creative, innovative and possibly becoming more intrapreneurial. Thinking outside the box can contribute to a company gaining a new Unique Selling Point and what company doesn’t want that? Especially nowadays with younger people accessing the job market after having lived through the pandemic in almost complete isolation, the increasing value that they place on mental health means that companies have to start focusing on it more.
The more mental health programs are included in a company, the more likely younger people will want to join that company. I can just talk for myself, but when I apply to internships my three top priorities are that:
- I can learn something from the company
- The company prioritizes mental health and sustainability
- The company is innovating new ways to help society
Psychological prosperity can be the result of a good mental health program
Looking back, I have learned a lot of things about myself over the years but one thing that I have really been working on is improving my physical and mental health and making sure that both of them are my top priorities. I deeply believe that everyone should do the same because let’s face it, work is important, but it definitely isn’t everything. We have so much to look forward to in this world, and we should be happy while exploring the four corners of the Earth.