SHRM: Mental health, the benefits of telehealth are priorities after the pandemic

Brief information about diving:

  • Mental health coverage and telemedicine or telehealth services are among the most important benefits employers believe they can offer their employees in 2022, according to an annual study of the benefits of the Human Resources Management Society published on June 12. The survey was conducted in January and February and was sent to US-based SHRM members representing a variety of industries and sectors, ranging in size from two to more than 25,000 employees.
  • Of the 3,129 responses to the survey, 93% said they offer telemedicine or telehealth, a 20% jump from 2019, when the category was last recorded. Similarly, respondents offering mental health coverage reached a new peak of 91% compared to before the pandemic. “The strong spread of these benefits, even after the business returned to more normal conditions after the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine, indicates that they are likely to become ‘permanent conditions,'” the summary said.
  • Next were retirement savings and planning benefits, with 82% of employers saying they were important to offer, up from 55% in 2020/21. Most employers offer some form of retirement plan; 94% suggested traditional 401 (k), 68% suggested Roth 401 (k). Many employers also provide some sort of match with an employer. Just over half (51%) said they automatically put new or existing employees on their company’s retirement plan, a figure that has remained stable since the pandemic began.

Diving Insight:

As reflected in the study, employers’ priorities continue to adapt to evolving needs after a pandemic. For example, while almost all employers currently offer paid leave (99%) or sick leave (96%), the spread of new parental leave beyond what is required by law has returned to pre-pandemic levels. In particular, the number of organizations offering paid maternity leave fell to 35% in 2022, from 53% in 2020; Paternity leave paid fell to 27% in 2022, from 44% in 2020.

The decline may be due to the need for direct parental leave at the beginning of the pandemic, the summary explains. “Now that many companies have returned to a more typical way of working, employers seem to be turning to expanded parental leave,” the summary said.

In line with the priorities that employers now place on mental health coverage, the study found emerging support for mental health leave: 1 in 5 employers said they offer paid mental health days separately from regular sick leave. This is in line with what an employment lawyer called on human resources professionals on 13 June at the SHRM’s annual conference.

With the stress of the pandemic, the employer must ensure that employees know that they appreciate what is happening in the world and support their mental health, the lawyer said. Employers can show support through training managers on how to respond to requests to leave, as well as emphasize the importance of using inclusive language.

The study also reflects the pandemic-induced shift between personal and telecommuting. Opportunities for hybrid work continue to be well represented among compensation proposals, the study found. About 2/3 of employees (63%) say they offer most of their workers the opportunity to accept some combination of remote and personal work. In all organizations, 62% say they reimburse or offer a subsidy to employees for work or equipment in the home office. On average, these employers provide about $ 891 to employees to cover the cost of working from home.

When developing a hybrid work model, employers must be focused and build trust, said a global strategist for diversity, equity and inclusion during his presentation on June 13 at the annual SHRM conference. As company leaders look for models to adopt, they must keep in mind that no size fits all, the strategist said. She outlined five questions that employers need to ask in order to structure their model, including who can choose personally against remote work and when and how and for whom they will use management tactics as surveillance.

The ability to work remotely gives organizations access to a wider range of talents, the study said. As workers also have more options for where and when they will work, employers face a difficult landscape for talent. But the benefits can be crucial to how this happens, the summary concludes.

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