How Employee Mental Health Impacts The Bottom Line
So to kick this article off with the words of a man much smarter than me..
A company runs on happiness. When was the last time you saw someone that was at their peak performance level sad? I'm going to guess never because when you're sad and unhappy you simply don't preform well.
Companies seem to be doing everything they possibly can to improve the mood of their employees.
They go on work retreats. Ping Pong tables are installed. Free coffee and tea in the kitchen. Monthly 1 on 1's with the manager. Thousands are spent optimizing the colors on the wall, providing comfy benefit packages, everything they can think of.
So why is it that resources for mental health are completely ignored?
The economic impact of mental illness is unfathomably. Forget optimizing for that 10% increase in performance, how many millions of people have been fired or resigned because they were dealing with their mental health?
"I'm taking a mental health day."
Would you get fired if you told your boss you're taking a mental health day? Would you be upset at your employee? If someone is sick we tell them not to come in so they don't get other people sick. But if they aren't contagious they need to "suck it up".
Having to fire an employee because they were dealing with depression costs you a lot of money. Having an employee quit because they couldn't "deal with the stress" costs you a lot of money. When an employee is too anxious to bring up a great idea because of their anxiety, that costs you money too.
You Are Losing Money If You Don't Provide REAL Mental Health Resources
I don't mean free lunches. I don't mean Ping Pong tables.
What happens at your organization if someone is struggling with depression? Can they tell their manager? Can they take a day off? Are they able to see a therapist or do they "need to do that after the 9-5"? Can they afford to see a therapist?
These are a lot of hard questions that no one wants to think about.
Providing mental health resources costs money.
But it costs less than their health insurance. It costs less than their lunches. It costs less than their 401k match. It costs less than their PTO. And it costs WAY less than having to fire them or have them quit because they were dealing with their mental health and you never even knew.
What Resources Should A Company Provide?
The first thing an organization should do is create a culture and policies that support people who are struggling with their mental health.
It should be okay to tell your manager that you're struggling with depression. It should be okay to not have to say anything more than "I need a mental health day". It's extremely important to create a culture where it's okay to communicate about mental health, and it's okay to be private about it too.
There's also a number of resources you can directly provide.
- Quirk is an app that helps people overcome depression & anxiety through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It only costs $6 a month.
- TalkSpace provides unlimited talk and text with a therapist for as little as $65 per week. They don't even need to leave the office in order to see a therapist.
For $6/mo per employee you could provide them ALL with 24/7 access to DIY Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and then offer TalkSpace as a resource to talk with a therapist if they are really struggling.
You might think $65 per week is expensive, but that's nothing compared to having to fire the employee and hire/train someone completely new. Turnover can cost a company hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars, and you can prevent a significant amount of it if you're able to actually help your employees when they are struggling.
How many of your employees or coworkers do you know that are struggling with mental health? Statistically speaking almost 20% of them will struggle with mental illness this year. If your answer isn't 20%, chances are they just aren't telling you (and probably for good reason).
Don't wait until they are fired, quit, or even worse, before you start addressing the problem.
Koby Conrad - Co-Founder of Quirk
Koby is the Co-Founder of Quirk and loves to write about mental health tech, startups, advertising and marketing. He has a very strong background in consumer products and how psychological factors impact advertising, entrepreneurs, and technology.