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Strategic Insights for Global Employee Mental Health Benefits in 2024

Gain insights into the latest global benefits trends and learn how to support diverse workforces effectively in 2024 from Willis Towers Watson’s Director of Health, Equity, & Wellbeing, Erin Terkoski Young. Discover actionable strategies for enhancing mental health offerings, personalizing benefits, and ensuring cultural competence in your HR practices.

For our most recent Consultant Leadership Series session, Modern Health’s VP of Partnerships, Robyn Harmon, joined Willis Towers Watson’s Director of Health, Equity, & Wellbeing, Erin Terkoski Young, to discuss global benefits trends to watch in 2024. This illuminating conversation spotlighted the global business landscape and the pivotal role health care and mental health benefits now play in human resources strategy. 

As we approach the 2024 benefits renewal season, human resources professionals, especially those in Total Rewards and Benefits roles, must consider several crucial factors to best support diverse and widespread workforces. Here are key insights from the session: 

Future Trends for Employee Benefits in 2024

Several trends are poised to shape employee benefits:

  • Increased focus on mental health: The ongoing global mental health conversation will drive companies to further integrate mental health benefits into core offerings, moving beyond basic support to comprehensive mental wellness programs.
  • Benefits personalization: Advances in technology and data analytics will allow for more personalized benefits experiences, catering to individual employee needs and enhancing the effectiveness of health interventions.
  • Holistic well-being programs: Companies will adopt a more holistic approach, combining emotional, physical, professional, social, and financial well-being into interconnected wellness programs that address the multifaceted nature of employee well-being.

Erin noted, "As we look toward the future, the integration of AI and machine learning in analyzing benefits usage will revolutionize how we tailor wellness programs to meet the nuanced needs of our global workforce."

Consultant Leadership Series: WTW discusses holistic mental health benefits in 2024

Global Considerations for Employee Benefits

Cultural competence and regulatory compliance are paramount when managing benefits for a global employee population. Benefits strategies that work well in one region may not be appropriate or effective in another due to cultural differences, local regulations, and varying health care systems. For example, mental health stigma varies significantly across cultures. Programs effective in destigmatizing mental health in the U.S. might not be as effective in countries where mental health issues aren't as openly discussed.

Key considerations include:

  • Cultural sensitivity: Tailor programs to respect and integrate local cultural attitudes toward mental health.
  • Regulatory compliance: Ensure that benefit plans comply with local laws and regulations, which can vary widely between countries.
  • Accessibility: Provide resources that are accessible in local languages and ensure remote or less connected employees also have access to these benefits

Consultant Leadership Series: WTW shares checklist for global & inclusive mental health benefit

Measuring the Value and Impact of Mental Health Benefits

With rising awareness of mental health’s impact on workplace productivity and overall employee well-being, quantifying the reach and outcomes of mental health benefits should be a top priority. Measurement helps justify investment and fine-tune programs for better results.

Effective metrics include:

  • Engagement rates: Track engagement rates of mental health programs to gauge awareness and acceptance among employees.
  • Productivity metrics: Observe changes in productivity levels, absenteeism, and presenteeism before and after implementing mental health initiatives.
  • Behavior metrics: Track changes in behaviors, such as reduced smoking, drinking, and use of higher-cost medical care, and increased physical activity. 
  • Employee feedback: Conduct surveys and focus groups to collect data on employees' perceptions and satisfaction with mental health resources. 

According to Erin, "Leveraging data not only helps in measuring impact but also empowers HR leaders to make informed decisions that enhance employee engagement and productivity."

Consultant Leadership Series: WTW shares how to measure value and impact of mental health benefits

Actionable Steps for HR Leaders:

HR leaders should take strategic actions to enhance their global benefits offerings:

  • Review and adapt: Continuously review and adapt your benefits programs to ensure they remain culturally relevant and compliant with local regulations.
  • Invest in training: Educate your HR team on cultural nuances and the importance of mental health to ensure they are equipped to manage and advocate for effective programs globally.
  • Incorporate technology: Use technology to personalize and streamline benefits management and make it easier to adapt offerings at a regional level.

Strategies for managing employee benefits must evolve with global dynamics and workplace expectations. By embracing cultural diversity, using data for strategic decision-making, and keeping up with emerging trends, HR leaders can ensure their global workforces are supported, engaged, and productive.

We want to thank Robyn and Erin for sharing their time and thoughts during this session!  To explore how you can implement these strategies within your organization, reach out to Modern Health to learn more and request a demo