More People Use Mental Health Benefits When They Hear That Colleagues Use Them Too | Harvard Business Review

Workforce Trends

Employee well-being remains a priority for several organizations, yet progress in improving it has been slower than desired. This article explores the mounting challenge of mental health in the workplace, citing statistics showing a significant increase in anxiety and depression among employees. Despite various mental health initiatives implemented by organizations, employees often hesitate to utilize these resources due to the stigma attached to mental health issues. In an effort to understand this topic further, a team of researchers conducted a randomized controlled trial involving 2,400 Novartis employees across the UK, Ireland, India, and Malaysia. It aimed to understand how framing and storytelling could impact employees’ willingness to engage with mental health support programs. Results show that simply hearing about colleagues’ struggles, regardless of severity, normalized access to mental health support at work and increased uptake of existing peer-to-peer support programs by up to 8 percent. Conversely, emphasizing the anonymity of these programs did not significantly boost usage, suggesting that highlighting privacy and confidentiality is insufficient by itself to encourage program usage. As practitioners strive to use research-based studies to inform employee well-being practices, the insights in this article can provide ideas. I am also resharing my playlist of five resources on the topic of employee wellbeing, covering topics such as burnout, microstressors, and more.