Pandemic pushes mental health to the forefront: How must HR respond?

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The past year was one of trauma for your employees. And as home life merged with work life for many people, that pulled mental health into a front-burner workplace issue. Amid the crisis, many proactive organizations stepped up to the challenge.

"If there's one big silver lining of this pandemic, it's that organizations are seeing their workforce more as people and less as employees," says Andrew Hewitt, a senior researcher at Forrester Research. "Many companies have gotten much more comfortable addressing mental health needs in the workplace and improving access to health services like counselors."

While some employers took big steps on mental health last year, most employers admit their efforts to support employees fell short, according to a new survey by Willis Towers Watson.

Less than three in 10 employers said their well-being programs (29%) and caregiving programs (27%) have been helpful to employees in the past year. Employers cite rising stress and burnout as the top well-being challenges connected to the pandemic, generated by an increase in caregiving needs and lack of social connections.

The good news: Nearly two-thirds (62%) of employers said enhancing...

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