- The need for employers to focus mental health amid the pandemic "skyrocketed" amid the pandemic as many employees reported having depression, a Gartner report released March 15 found. In response, most employers took "emergency measures" to support their staff, according to the research and advisory company.
- In the fourth quarter of 2020, Gartner conducted a survey of more than 5,000 employees and found that 29% of respondents said they were depressed due to the pandemic. The survey also revealed that 49% of respondents who said their organization offered a mental well-being program took part in it last year. An additional survey of 50 HR leaders found that more than half (64%) of companies provided a new well-being offering to support their employees, while 34% of companies expanded access to their existing offerings.
- In response to the pandemic, the greater majority (87%) of businesses surveyed provided flexible work hours to employees acting as caregivers for family members, the report found. Just over a quarter (26%) of employers offered employees paid time off for childcare, and 21% offered it for eldercare. However, just 25% of organizations said they plan to maintain programs that originated amid the pandemic "for the foreseeable future," according to the report. "HR leaders should consider sustaining programs beyond the pandemic due to the financial difficulties and lingering stress that will persist even after the outbreak subsides," Gartner said.
Personalization is an important factor of the employee experience, according to research.
For example, a 2019 report by Welltok found that personalized wellness programs and paid time off, motivated the greater majority (80%) of employees surveyed to be more engaged in employer programming. But 84% of employees said their organization provides "one-size-fits-all" programs.
The personalization of programs can address the varying needs of employees, Gartner found. But less than half (46%) of employees surveyed by Gartner felt that their organization's well-being programs were personalized. The report suggested employers offer more choices; under a quarter (19%) of employees at organizations with mental well-being programs reported having access to five or more offerings. But HR leaders can also provide employees with the tools to self-assess their well-being, allowing them to benchmark themselves and map out a development plan, Gartner suggested.
"The need for well-being support has skyrocketed since the pandemic struck, giving organizations a new mandate to offer more and better programs," Carolina Valencia, vice president in the Gartner HR practice, said in a statement. "Organizations, more than ever, must respond to all facets of the individual, from the physical to the emotional, and address some of the new stressors that have emerged over the past year.