Employee mental health and well-being improvements have gained focus since the evaporation of readily available quality talent post-pandemic. Although employee benefits have been underutilized, they stem from efforts to retain talent and maximize worker productivity.
Despite efforts from managers and executives to provide a working environment that is stocked with resources and initiatives to promote mental health, companies are still dealing with the consequences of having unhappy people on staff at every level.
Deloitte’s latest well-being at work survey, in partnership with Workplace Intelligence, shows that unhappiness in the workplace is taking a significant toll on productivity and the ability to preserve organizational talent in the long term.
Managers See Improvements
Most employees said their mental health worsened or stayed the same last year. In multiple categories, only about one-third of employees saw improvements (see chart below). These assessments do not align with executives' efforts and claimed successes — three-quarters (75%) of whom claimed to see improvements in their workforce’s mental health over the last year.
These discrepancies, either caused by leaders distracted by more pressing issues overlooking their employees' well-being or by an ultra-sensitive workforce that expects more while wanting to do less, must be of focus for leaders who wish to preserve their talent base.
“Leaders should be immensely concerned that work continues to be the primary reason people are physically and mentally unwell,” said Dan Schawbel, managing partner at Workplace Intelligence. “Employees need to be able to take time off and disconnect," and they shouldn’t be constantly stressed and exhausted due to their jobs, he said. "Work can and should be compatible with well-being — and it’s up to leaders to deliver on that promise.”
According to the data, employees struggle to find the time to unplug from their work and find a proper work-life balance. Just under three quarters (74%) of them say they find it difficult to disconnect from work, less than half report they have adequate time to exercise (48%), get at least seven hours of sleep (47%), and have enough time outside of work with their friends and family (42%).
The problem isn’t isolated to just employees at lower levels. Four in five (80%) respondents told survey takers that a heavy workload and corresponding stress impact their well-being.
Unhappy Leadership Likely to Leave
According to findings, the more seniority or accolades an individual has in the workplace, the more likely they are to leave due to a mental health-related issue. Three-quarters of the C-suite respondents (75%) and nearly two-thirds (64%) of managers said they’re seriously considering quitting their current job for one that supports their well-being at a higher level.
Despite having their own mental health issues, executives have begun to take the reins on employee well-being, adding it to the growing list of responsibilities deemed to be in the jurisdiction of the C-suite. Over eight in 10 (85%) of executives said they would be more responsible for their workforce’s mental well-being over the next few years.
Organizations have much to gain from metrics that can help them better understand and communicate about worker well-being. — Jen Fisher, Deloitte
Among leadership, more than three-quarters (78%) believe leadership doesn’t deserve to hold the role if they can't maintain an acceptable level of workforce well-being. Over 72% went as far as to say they believe executive bonus compensation should be directly correlated with employee well-being metrics.
“Organizations have much to gain from metrics that can help them better understand and communicate about worker well-being,” said Jen Fisher, Deloitte’s U.S. chief well-being officer. "[Most] leaders surveyed agree that sharing this information could build employee trust and help them attract talent. And while publicly disclosing these metrics may seem radical, it has a precedent with the evolution of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting.”
A large portion (85%) of executives told Deloitte they believe their organizations should have to report these types of metrics that indicate their workforce's well-being.
Despite findings showing nearly 4 in 10 (39%) of employees believe their employers have properly portrayed their company’s visibility employee well-being, executive leadership believes they are doing a much better job than that. According to the bosses, 84% of them have made well-being data and commitments publicly accessible.