Beyond yoga and free pizza: how to embed mental health into your EVP 

In this blog, we will share why creating a comprehensive benefits package and overall Employee Value Proposition puts you in a better position to not only boost the well-being of your employees but also attract more aligned talent.

14th May 2024

In recent years, there has been a significant shift in prioritising mental health in the workplace, with employees demanding better support from their employers. Recent research reveals that one in five UK workers report feeling unable to manage stress and pressure in the workplace and 55% of workers feel that work is getting more intense and demanding.

As a somewhat quick fix to try to tackle this and gloss over the reality of a toxic workplace culture, many companies are focusing their efforts on offering incentives such as yoga classes, free pizza on Fridays, or introducing "duvet days". While these efforts can contribute to a more positive work environment, they don’t quite cut it when it comes to dealing with mental health and well-being.

The reality is, if you genuinely care about your employees' mental health and well-being, you need to look beyond offering surface-level perks. But don't just take our word for it. Studies shows that 73% of employees consider a company’s benefits package when deciding on a job offer.

By focusing more on creating a comprehensive benefits package and overall Employee Value Proposition, you’re in a better position to not only boost the well-being of their employees but attract more aligned talent.

In this blog we will look at the benefits of embedding mental health into your EVP and how to go about doing this.

What are the benefits of embedding mental health into your EVP?

Companies that embed mental health in their Employee Value Proposition (EVP) are better positioned to attract and retain top talent, enhance employee well-being, increase productivity and engagement, and reduce turnover and absenteeism. Here's why it's essential:

  • Attract and retain top talent: In today's competitive job market, offering mental health support in your EVP is crucial for attracting and retaining top talent. Employees are increasingly prioritising employers who demonstrate a commitment to employee well-being.
  • Enhanced employee well-being: A strong EVP that includes mental health support creates a positive work environment where employees feel valued and supported. Access to mental health resources improves overall well-being, boosting morale and job satisfaction.
  • Increased productivity and engagement: Research shows that happy employees are 13% more productive on average. By providing resources and benefits that address mental health, you create a healthier and more productive workforce.
  • Reduced turnover and absenteeism: Embedding mental health in your EVP can reduce turnover rates and absenteeism. When employees have access to support and resources for managing stress and burnout, they are less likely to leave the company or take sick days.

How to embed mental health into your EVP

An Employee Value Proposition is the unique set of benefits, rewards, and experiences that a company offers to its employees in exchange for their skills, capabilities, and commitment. A strong EVP is essential for attracting and retaining top talent, as it shows your company's commitment to your employees' well-being and professional growth.

Let's look at how you can start embedding mental health into your EVP. You may not have all of these in place, but focusing on a handful to begin with is a good starting point.

1. Competitive salary and benefits

Fair compensation is a fundamental part of a strong EVP. Employees who feel underpaid or undervalued are more likely to experience stress, resentment, and a lack of motivation. With two-thirds of employees saying that finances impact their mental health, it is important to regularly review their salary structures to make sure they are competitive within their industry and provide a comprehensive benefits package that supports their employees' physical, mental, and financial well-being.

2. Flexible ways of working

Employees crave the freedom to choose how they work to fit their lives. Companies that give options like remote work, flexible hours, or shorter workweeks show they trust their employees and value their work-life balance. When employees have more say in when, where, and how they work, it can lower stress and boost job satisfaction. On the flip side, a lack of flexibility can lead to more stress, burnout, and dissatisfaction. As people prioritise their well-being, they're more likely to look for jobs with supportive, flexible environments. A study by the CIPD highlights this by showing that four million people in the UK have changed careers due to the lack of  flexibility at work. That's a statistic we just can't ignore.

3. A supportive leadership team

Having the right leadership team in place will make a huge difference when it comes to mental health at work and creating a positive workplace culture. Leaders who focus more on transparency, empathy, and inclusivity will be at the forefront of creating an environment where employees feel valued, heard, and supported. Regular check-ins, feedback sessions, and company-wide communications can help build trust and ensure that everyone is aligned with the company's goals and values.

4. Opportunities for growth and development 

Employees who feel stuck in their roles or lack opportunities for advancement are more likely to experience frustration, disengagement, and even burnout. By investing in your employees' professional development, offering mentorship programs, and providing clear career paths you demonstrate a commitment to your employees' long-term success. By supporting employees in their growth and development, you can improve job satisfaction, retention rates, and overall performance.

5. Upskilling managers in mental health awareness

Provide training for managers and team leaders to increase their awareness and understanding of mental health issues. This training should cover recognising signs of mental distress, providing support, and effectively communicating with employees about mental health matters. By upskilling managers, you empower them to create a supportive environment where employees feel comfortable discussing mental health concerns and seeking help.

6. Enhanced mental health resources

In addition to training for managers, offer a range of mental health resources and support for all employees. This could include access to confidential counselling services, mental health hotlines, mental health days, online resources, and support groups. Ensure that these resources are easily accessible and well publicised to encourage employees to use them when needed. By providing comprehensive mental health support, you demonstrate a commitment to the well-being of your employees.

7. Enhanced benefits package

Enhance your benefits package to include initiatives that support employees' work-life balance and overall well-being. Think about things such as enhanced parental leave policies, carers leave, health insurance, Employee assistance programs and well-being allowances. All of these play a key role in helping you create a supportive working environment that prioritises the health and well-being of your employees. 

Shift your focus and see the difference

While yoga classes, free beer, and duvet days can be enjoyable perks, they're not a substitute for a comprehensive approach to creating a mentally healthy workplace. To truly support your employees' well-being and foster a positive workplace culture, you've got to focus on developing an EVP that encompasses competitive salaries, flexible ways of working, strong leadership, opportunities for growth, and a commitment to addressing the root causes of a toxic workplace.

Only then can you create an environment where your employees feel valued, supported, and empowered to thrive both personally and professionally. This, in turn, can lead to increased job satisfaction, higher retention rates, and improved overall performance – benefiting both your employees and your organisation as a whole.

Do you need support building your EVP?

For the first time, our CEO and Co-Founder Molly Johnson-Jones has launched an EVP masterclass designed to help HR and People leaders who are looking to build a powerful EVP from scratch, refresh an existing EVP, or enhance their EVP efforts with exclusive data and insights.I will take you through the 7 core pillars of a strong EVP and teach you how to use your current working environment to attract not only more candidates but also build brand awareness, reduce recruitment costs, and increase internal awareness of your EVP. Get ready to take your EVP to the next level!