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News » U.S. firms to boost benefits amid mental health crisis

U.S. firms to boost benefits amid mental health crisis

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES — Corporate America is taking a proactive stance in addressing the mental health crisis, with a significant 42% of companies planning to introduce new employee well-being benefits this year, according to The Conference Board.

The survey of nearly 150 chief human resource officers revealed that 26% of organizations increased their 2024 budget for employee well-being, while 69% said it remained the same.  

Forty-two percent plan to offer new benefits this year, with 20% focusing on mental health initiatives.

“Taking a holistic view of worker well-being can not only improve employee engagement and productivity but also retain your workforce – a key priority for business leaders,” said Diana Scott, Leader of The Conference Board’s US Human Capital Center.

There’s also a growing consensus that businesses bear responsibility for employee well-being. Thirty-six percent believe organizations are fully responsible, while 62% view them as somewhat responsible.

Sixty-nine percent of employees worldwide report their mental health has stayed the same or deteriorated over the past year, with cost of living pressures as the top factor, according to Calm’s 2024 Voice of the Workplace Report.

Meanwhile, Oxford University researcher William Fleming has cast doubt on the efficacy of popular workplace mental health interventions. He concluded that companies should focus more on core working conditions like pay and schedules rather than wellness offerings to truly improve employee mental health.

Meanwhile, the CHRO Confidence Index, which gauges HR leaders’ perspectives on workforce trends, slightly ticked up to 54 in Q1 from 53 last quarter, indicating cautious optimism amidst persistent labor shortages. 

Hiring outlooks remained stable, with 36% of CHROs anticipating to increase their hiring over the next six months, from 44% in Q4, while 13% expect to decrease their hiring over the next six months, from 19% in Q4.

Other findings include:

  • 29% of CHROs expect their employee retention levels to improve over the next six months, up slightly from 28% in the fourth quarter. 
  • 19% expect employee retention to decrease over the next six months, down from 22%. 
  • 35% expect engagement levels to increase, down slightly from 37% in the fourth quarter. 
  • 20% expect engagement levels to decrease, down significantly from 31%. 

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