In collaboration with the Faas Foundation, Mental Health America (MHA) late last year released an eye-opening report titled “Mind the Workplace,” which includes findings from a two-year research project to understand more about the impact of mental health concerns in the workplace.
MHA recognizes the psychological impact that workplaces can have on their employees. Millions of employees spend a large part of their lifetime eat work, increasing the effect that workplace environments can have on psychological well-being. MHA’s research is part of an ongoing commitment to uncovering workplace disparities and addressing the psychological needs of the workforce. Research has shown that disengaged workers can contribute to $450-500 billion a year in losses in productivity.
“We know that employees who are overstressed and under-supported can significantly impact the people around them and a company’s success,” said Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of MHA. “Interestingly, our research found that recognition overall was more important than salaries in employee satisfaction – which means even small companies with limited budgets can improve workplace health and productivity by focusing on the individual in addition to the bottom line.”
The Workplace Health Survey launched in June 2015 on MHA’s website and measured the attitudes and perceptions of over 17,000 employees across 19 industries in the United States. Survey questions were designed to collect data on workplace culture, workplace stress, employee engagement, and employee benefits. Survey findings explored the relationship between workplace health and employee engagement, a concept that has, in recent years, become more measurable, and indicative of workplace stress levels and overall mental health.
Some results from the survey:
• 25% of respondents felt that they were paid what they deserved;
• 44% of respondents felt that skilled employees were not given recognition;
• Survey respondents also reported high rates of absenteeism (33%) and work-family conflict (81%), as well as increased mental health and behavioral problems (63%);
• Among employees with lower levels of engagement, 70% stated that they were thinking about and/or actively looking for a new job;
• The healthiest industries were Healthcare, Financial Services and Non-Profits; and
• The unhealthiest industries were Manufacturing, Retail, and Food and Beverage.
The survey findings also point to the importance of practices and policies that increase employee engagement and professional development. Data show that employees taking the survey perceive a lack of support and recognition in their workplace. Additionally, the unmet demand for professional growth through the diversification of skills, and increased work autonomy resulted in greater dissatisfaction with work. One key finding revealed that employees who received recognition and felt valued by the company were more satisfied than respondents who had fair pay.
Workplace perks and flexible work environments were
identified as key factors that influence satisfaction. In offering perks, organizations can provide employees with autonomy and reward and recognition, and have a significant impact on the perceptions and attitudes held by employees. The Survey showed industries that scored higher on workplace health had a higher percentage of respondents stating they received flexible work arrangements and professional development opportunities, and experienced open door and relaxed work environments.
• 52% of employees in healthy industries enjoyed flexible work arrangements;
• 75% reported open door and relaxed work environments;
• 69% was offered professional development opportunities;
• Employees overall valued professional recognition over salary; and
• Conversely, only 14% of respondents in low-scoring industries reported that they received flexible work arrangements, 8% an open and relaxed work environment, and 10 percent opportunities for professional development.
“While much of the results of our research show that many people are dealing with high levels of stress, low engagement or specific mental health concerns, the results also pointed to some low-cost options that could make things better,” added Gionfriddo. “Not everything is about money. Workplace perks can go a long way in creating a healthy environment with higher levels job satisfaction and employee engagement. Workplace challenges can be turned into opportunities if companies incentivize employees with workplace perks, particularly those determined to have the largest influence on workplace health.”
Learn more at mentalhealthamerica.net