EXCLUSIVE: EAPs and flexible working are most popular mental health benefits

EXCLUSIVE: Employee assistance programmes (EAPs), flexible working or work-life balance policies, and access to education and guidance for staff are the most commonly offered benefits to support mental health, according to research by Employee Benefits.

The Employee Benefits/Health Shield Healthcare research 2019, which surveyed 202 HR decision makers and influencers, also found that nearly all (90%) employers offer an EAP as part of their approach to supporting the mental health of staff. As in previous years, this takes the top spot, having been offered by 92% of respondents in 2018 and 97% in 2017.

Giving employees the opportunity to work flexibly, or providing other policies centred on boosting work-life balance, has gradually grown in popularity. Nearly three-quarters (71%) offer these initiatives to support employees’ mental health, growing from 56% and 61% in 2018 and 2017, respectively.

While flexibility and work-life balance have grown as employers increasingly come to understand the benefits to an organisation, including to productivity and engagement alongside mental wellbeing, the provision of education and guidance has remained steadily popular, selected as a key method of supporting mental health by about two-fifths of respondents for the past three years.

A new option was added to the survey this year to capture the number of employers that provide trained mental health first aiders within the workforce, an initiative that is growing in popularity. Reflecting this trend, which has seen numerous organisations
work to place mental wellbeing alongside physical health and safety on their agendas, 38% currently provide this for employees.

Are you an HR decision-maker who would like to be part of our next research project, and be in with a chance to win £100-worth of retail vouchers? Click here to answer our pensions research survey…