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Why Personalized Employee Benefits Matter in 2023

Learn why providing customized employee benefits is more important than ever.

Mental health is as important as physical health, but typical mental health benefits programs provided by employers (like EAPs) do not holistically support the entire person. As a result, experts say that we are in the midst of a global mental health crisis. 

Depression is one of the leading causes of disability, and suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. Yet, nearly 80% of employees believe they can successfully avoid chronic mental health concerns if they are encouraged to prioritize their mental health in the workplace. Personalized mental health care can address the stigma surrounding it and eliminate many barriers to equitable mental health care.

Currently, one-on-one therapy is the primary delivery method of mental health care for most EAPs. These services are often delivered in a limited number of sessions and there are long wait times to get see a provider.  This approach limits the availability of health care services that prioritize mental well-being.The future of mental health care depends on an organization's ability to apply a multifaceted approach to its mental health benefits programs that can fully support and protect the mental well-being of its workforce. To provide truly equitable access to mental health care, it's essential to provide options that eliminate barriers to care and meet the unique needs of employees. 

What Is Personalized Mental Health Care?

Personalized care from Modern Health includes services that address all of the aspects of mental health and well-being, including cultural, linguistic, and other social and environmental needs. This is achieved through culturally centered care practices focused on belonging provided by a network of certified coaches and licensed therapists supporting over 50 languages.

Designed to provide the right care at the right time, personalized mental health care addresses the needs of employees as individuals. When employees invest in mental health benefits that offer personalized care, employees receive an individualized plan that includes access to a range of services targeted to each employee's needs. With multiple modalities of care to choose from, employees can get the care they need when they need it. 

In the same way physical health care needs evolve and change, the mental health of individuals doesn't always require the same acuity of care. For example, physical therapy is designed to change as a patient grows stronger. Personalized mental health care can evolve similarly to provide different levels of support as needed.

The Importance of Personalized Mental Health Care

The failure to personalize mental health care creates barriers and places unnecessary strain on an already overloaded system of mental health care professionals. Currently, there are approximately 33.9 licensed psychologists per 100,000 people in the U.S. 

As a result, individuals seeking mental health care services are typically subjected to long waits and limited service options. Ninety-six million Americans, or 38%, have had to wait longer than one week for mental health treatments. Personalized mental health provides these benefits to eliminate barriers to mental health care:

  • Improved care options: Mental health needs are diverse.. While one-on-one therapy is the most often prescribed modality of care, fewer than 44% of employees prefer one-on-one therapy as their preferred option. Personalized mental health care offers other options, including self-guided care, culturally centered care, blended care models, and group sessions.
  • Higher adoption rates: When employees have services relevant to their needs, adoption rates improve. With engagement rates as high as 20% (compared to the average of 5.5% recognized by EAPs), employers can maximize their ROI with the benefits of increased productivity and engagement and reduced absenteeism and turnover.
  • Improved company culture through enhanced inclusivity and belonging: When diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are incorporated into mental health care benefits, every employee feels comfortable participating. For example, Modern Health's vision for DEIB utilizes healing circles to support multiple communities and team participation in regular training with DEIB leaders on topics such as allyship, anti-racism, and unconscious bias. 
  • Lower costs for employers: By offering multiple modalities of care, including self-guided programs and virtual care, employers can significantly cut costs related to mental health care benefits. For example, Modern Health provides services at a third of the cost of other providers without sacrificing the quality of care. 
  • Better outcomes for employees and organizations: The removal of barriers to access through customized, flexible mental health care options creates better outcomes for employees through improved well-being and benefits for organizations, including reduced costs from absenteeism (4:1 ROI) and improved retention (5.5%). 

The Cost of Untreated Mental Health Conditions

Employers are justifiably focused on business outcomes in a challenging economic climate. Seventy-one percent of employers believe that offering mental health benefits is too costly. Seventy-two percent of employers fear focusing on mental health could have a reverse ROI through employees working fewer hours to care for their mental health and being less available to respond to messages. 

However, untreated mental health concerns result in substantial costs for businesses. Annual costs of up to $60,000 for one organization and $105,000 billion nationwide are derived from various symptoms of untreated mental health conditions.

Lost Productivity

Employees with unresolved depression experience a 35% reduction in productivity, contributing to a loss to the U.S. economy of $210.5 billion annually in absenteeism, reduced productivity, requests for extended leaves of absence, and medical costs. The cost of mental health treatment is a fraction of this amount. Yet, many people do not seek treatment because they cannot afford it or fear the stigma attached to mental illness. 

Increased Absenteeism and Presenteeism

Since depression causes difficulty concentrating and a loss of interest in most activities, it's not surprising that it causes an average of 31.4 missed days per year for an individual. While absenteeism causes significant productivity loss, it fails to consider the loss of productivity when employees show up to work despite concerns (presenteeism). This adds up to another 27.9 days lost to unproductivity. 

When employees show up to work feeling sick, anxious, exhausted, or too distracted by their personal issues to focus on their workload, safety is at stake, and productivity is lost. It has also been shown that mentally distressed workers have a 3.5 times higher likelihood of suffering from substance use disorders which could result in more missed work. 

Increased Turnover

Nearly 80% of employees are likelier to stay at a company that provides quality mental health benefits. Providing the right benefits for employees could be the best way to avoid rapid turnover in a tight labor market. Hiring new employees costs more than retaining them. 

According to new benchmarking data from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the average cost per hire was nearly $4,700. But many employers estimate the total cost to hire a new employee can be three to four times the position's salary, according to Edie Goldberg, founder of the Menlo Park, California-based talent management and development company E.L. Goldberg & Associates. 

U.S. businesses lose $1 trillion every year due to employee turnover. Costs may include:

  • Diminished production and increased absences before an employee leaves: Before quitting, an employee is likely to become disengaged and less productive at work. Disengagement, seeking new employment, and a desire to use remaining PTO can also result in higher absences, adding to already high costs before an employee leaves a role.
  • Recruitment costs: We noted that the average cost per hire is estimated at $4,700. Yet that doesn't consider the soft costs of recruitment like lost production and lowered morale. It also doesn't consider the hiring methods used by the company or varied roles. For instance, the average recruiting fee from a professional recruiter is between 15% and 20% of the first-year salary of the new employee. 
  • Training a new employee: Companies spend an average of 46.7 hours training an employee, costing an additional $986 in training expenses
  • Loss of institutional knowledge: When employees leave, they take with them valuable institutional knowledge. This knowledge includes organizational processes, co-worker relationships, and product knowledge. The average U.S. enterprise-size business may be wasting $4.5 million in productivity annually by failing to preserve and share knowledge.
  • Potential revenue an employee could have earned the company in the future: A knowledgeable employee earns an organization more knowledge than a new recruit. On average, 42% of the skills and expertise required to perform in a given position capably will be known only by the person currently in that position. A new employee will have to take the time to learn over 50% of the skillset, requiring significant time and resources.
  • Low morale: There can also be a staggering impact on those not dealing with mental health conditions. According to Gallup, low morale costs American businesses up to $550 billion a year due to lost productivity, including absenteeism, illness, and other problems resulting from employees being unhappy at work.

The Future of Mental Health Care: Research and Trends Pointing to Increased Customization

In a recent survey of 1,000 U.S. employees, 56% said their employer-sponsored health and well-being programs were irrelevant to their needs. Eighty percent said that "more personalized programming" would inspire them to increase benefit use. Modern Health meets the needs of employees with multiple modalities and culturally centered care that provides the flexibility modern employees seek.

Our study at Modern Health analyzed records of 149,451 unique employees across 104 customers and found that retention was 5.5% higher among employees who engaged with Modern Health versus those who did not. For an employer with 10,000 employees, turnover savings of 5.5% would result in an additional 137 employees retained. Assuming an estimated replacement cost of $28,155 to $42,233 per employee, employers would save $3,857,235 to $5,785,921.

When asked why they intended to stay at their current organization for the next year, the number one reason stated by employees was that the benefits offered by the company meet their needs. Customized employee benefits matter because employees demand them. 

Employers concerned about the potential costs must take the time to consider the costs of inactivity. Finding high-quality mental health benefits during challenging times can be difficult.  Want to learn more about how to provide your employees with customized mental health care benefits that are more likely to meet their needs in 2023? Request a demo to begin the journey to a thriving workforce.

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Modern Health

Modern Health is the comprehensive mental wellness platform that combines the WHO well-being assessment, self-service wellness kits, an international network of certified coaches, and licensed therapists available in 35 languages all in a single app. Modern Health empowers employers to lead the charge in acknowledging that mental health is just as important as physical health, de-stigmatizing the conversation, and increasing accessibility of mental health services for all.