It’s time to prioritize health - in all senses of the word. As workplace mental health and work-related stress continue to gain (and need) attention, it is becoming increasingly evident that comprehensive corporate wellbeing programs are highly necessary. Yet, many wellness solutions are falling short.
83% of workers suffer from work-related stress with nearly one million Americans missing work, each day, due to stress. Nearly 50% of employees are not as engaged at work due to their stress with 65% saying that stress has caused difficulties.
Do you feel more stressed just reading those statistics?
Not to compound the issue but as Burnalong works with employers, hospitals, insurance consultants and brokers, medical professionals, health plans, and government entities–we are seeing this as the norm across every industry.
When chatting with brokers, we’ve heard that stress is increasingly becoming not only a topic of conversation with their clients but also something felt amongst consultant firms. Many insurance consultants aren’t seeing their clients providing effective support, and there is a lack of understanding around the challenges of dealing with mental health and stress.
So, we’ll take a quick look at stress from the broker perspective. Plus, we’ll take a minute to focus on the brokers who play a large role in helping companies find and offer dedicated resources to help employees feel healthy and perform at their best.
Are you seeing an increase in employee stress too?
A recent survey with nearly 200 health insurance brokers on wellbeing benefits and employee health showed brokers reported stress and burnout as two major issues for employees today.
Only 1% of respondents “said they believe their clients have a strong understanding of how well employees are managing chronic workplace stress.”
The American Psychological Association ran a survey with 1500 employees. They found that “...79% of employees had experienced work-related stress in the month before the survey. Nearly 3 in 5 employees reported negative impacts of work-related stress, including lack of interest, motivation, or energy (26%) and lack of effort at work (19%).”
To address employee stress, it is vital to have mental health programming, stress management classes, access to emotional health experts, and healthy ways for employees to cope (i.e. getting physical exercise or meditating). While there are numerous point solutions to address each facet of employee health, there is an increasing sense of point-solution fatigue.
Employees aren’t keen on navigating a stressful web of providers, offerings, apps, and solutions. As many insurance consultants and brokers know, many benefits are not always tapped into by employees. Rather than adding another solution into the mix, now is the time to simplify offerings and focus on holistic wellness support with a comprehensive wellbeing solution.
What does that mean exactly? To reduce employee stress, focus on solutions that address the whole person. Not just that, focus on platforms that can tailor the experience to help support individual goals, needs, abilities, and skills.
There is no one-size-fits-all way to be healthy and corporate wellness solutions should reflect the diversity of the workforce it supports. While some solutions might be able to support a single aspect of employee health, it is often a combined effort of holistic support that can mitigate employee stress. And improve employee health.
What impact is employee stress having on brokers?
While brokers are key in helping companies find employee wellbeing programs that will provide meaningful support, their own workloads can take a toll. As brokers, like you, are helping leaders to relieve their stress and the stress of their employees, many are admitting to being quite stressed themselves.
A Wellbeing Survey that asks brokers to rate their stress levels has shown higher stress levels linked to work in the last two years and reports stress levels to be at an all-time high. The biggest contributors to their stress include “heavy workloads (78%), customer demands (49%) dealing with regulation (45%), and pressure to hit targets (41%).”
In theory, benefits brokers are tasked with creating and offering benefits plans to fulfill their clients’ needs.“In practice, brokers are much more than that: They’re trusted allies who cut through the stress faced by business leaders, helping them make choices that best serve their employees.” Sound familiar?
The pressure to provide comprehensive benefits packages can be taxing and overwhelming. “Whether they accept this role or not, brokers have been thrust into the added role of wellness consultant.” As companies are realizing that it is crucial for the success of their business and of their employees to implement an effective and meaningful wellness program, they are looking to their brokers for guidance.
While insurance consultants have the opportunity to help others, they need to continue prioritizing their own mental health and resiliency in the process. It isn’t enough to just take care of your clients, it is vital that you care for yourself too.
Embracing mental health and stress management
On the bright side, “a third of brokers said the pandemic has improved their employer’s approach to wellbeing.” As awareness grows and action is taken by employers to provide support and resources to help employees manage stress and build resilience, there is hope that these initiatives will positively impact all employees, their families, and brokers, too.
Offering alternative resources and digital wellness tools where employees (and brokers) can focus on areas such as mindfulness, financial health, and better sleep will allow employers to better support their people. This in turn will be an investment in their human capital and reap benefits to the bottom line, work culture, and employee retention.
Want to learn more about how a holistic approach to employee wellness can positively impact your client’s business AND reduce your stress? Let’s chat.