7 Companies that Win at Mental Well-being Practices

Learn why Mental Health Awareness Month is an important event to mark by your organization and what actions some of the most successful companies take to promote well-being and empower their employees to be healthy.

May 31, 2022 By Ravijojla Novakovic Share on Twitter! Share on Facebook! Share on LinkedIn!
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Mental Health Awareness Month is celebrated between May 1st and May 31st, and is marked by numerous incentives and activities that aim to spread awareness, destigmatize the topic of mental health and spark important conversations around mental health.

The Mental Health Awareness Month was founded in 1949 by the National Association for Mental Health, now called the Mental Health America (MHA). Lots of progress has been made in the 70 years that Mental Health Awareness month has been celebrated, however we still have lots to do.

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Why does mental health matter in business?

Healthy employees are productive employees. Companies that promote and support their employees’ mental well-being ultimately reduce company costs. According to the World Health Organization, “workplaces that promote mental health and support people with mental disorders are more likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and benefit from associated economic gains.”

What’s next for mental well-being at work? 

The recent Pandemic wreaked havoc on the state of employees’ overall well-being. The reduced access to mental health services causes companies to step in to offer mental well-being programs as benefits. More and more companies will pick up on this trend to keep up with the hunt for talent during and after the Great Resignation/Reshuffle era.

New approaches to screening and hiring practices will create more opportunities for neurodiverse talents in workplaces. We may have the framework to support people with psychosocial disabilities, but the practices are only beginning to take hold. We can also expect a further increase in reported mental health issues, correlating with reducing mental health stigma.

→ Well-being is multi-faceted. Learn more about wellbeing at workplaces.

How are the best companies approaching mental health today?

A Total Rewards Package including well-being programs, is a fundamental approach to employees’ mental health. To respond to a lack of access to adequate overall healthcare, companies also institute various employee assistance programs that support employees living with mental health issues. 

The corporate wellness market size is expected to rise in the upcoming years. According to the industry research paper published in 2021 by Sapient Insights Group, organizations are spending 57% more money on tech, focusing on benefits and wellness, skill management, and HR analytics in comparison to company spending in 2020. 

Learn how your company can use digital-first benefits to leverage the well-being of employees. 

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7 examples of companies winning at mental well-being programs and initiatives

Top-performing companies comprise top-performing teams, and those are certainly teams that put mental well-being on top of their priority lists. There’s a myriad of well-being initiatives and options to choose from. Have a look below at what some of the most successful companies do to ensure and build a well-being culture. 

Google

Google is an absolute champion and a prime example of a wholesome approach to employees’ wellbeing. Not only is Google fully transparent about benefits they offer, but the company actively works on making its workspaces inclusive for all. 

Even before the pandemic, Google’s long-standing efforts to promote employee’s mental health included: life insurance policy, a digital sleep improvement program, flexible working hours, a second medical opinion benefit (including psychiatrist services), a massage program, peer support network groups. In 2012, Google introduced a Disability Alliance to help people with disabilities.  

In 2021, Google developed clinically validated screeners for depression, PTSD and anxiety, and made it available to their employees. Google’s feature ‘Recover Together’ helps people recover from substance abuse. After acquiring Fitbit, Google expanded the available tools introducing mindfulness tools as well.   

In April 2022, Google premiered the Resilience podcast, and designated a team dedicated to helping employees build resilience. Just to name a few more ways Google makes an effort to promote wellbeing: allowing pets at work (there’s a dog park at the campus), flexibility allowing WFH, hybrid and remote work models, extended parental care leave, a medical advocacy program for transgender employees and so on. 

Most recently, Fast Company defines Google as the highest-rated employer for LGBTQ+ employees.

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Coca Cola Consolidated

Coca Cola Consolidated’s standard well-being benefit offer comprises medical & Rx, dental, vision, telemedicine, health savings account, and flexible spending account. 

For this year’s Mental Health Awareness Month, the company informed employees about the program that offers employees and anyone in their household up to five no-cost counseling sessions. 

There’s also a dedicated chaplain who is available 24/7, and a free app that offers on-demand clinical practices to help teammates manage stress, anxiety, and depression. Additionally, a behavioral health support hub provides a knowledge base for employees and their families to get help with the right care and support they need.

A novel approach is to help employees with financial wellness, which impacts mental wellbeing a great deal. Coca Cola Consolidated helps employees with their financial wellbeing by offering life insurance, supplemental insurance for employees, employees’ spouses and their children, short- and long-term disability programs, as well as voluntary benefits that help plan for life events. 

Bottling Investments Group at the Coca-Cola Company (BIG) tackles employee well-being on the company culture front as well. The company has recently introduced an employee recognition program, with the goal to impact company culture and strengthen social bonds at work places. Employee well-being is the byproduct of thriving company culture and employees. 

Additionally, Coca-Cola clearly defined its mission to have women represent 50% of its leadership by 2030.

MAVS

Basic employee rewards packages offer comprehensive health insurance for employees and their dependents, disability insurance, gym membership. Additionally, there is a rich catalog of online resources for health and wellness for employees and family members. 

To mark the Mental Health Awareness Month, MAVS organized The Huddle panel, with a goal to remove stigma of mental health in non-white communities. The Huddle is also a series of events highlighting some of the most pressing social issues in order to reduce stigma and encourage dialogue, such as trans perspectives, equity in education, homelessness and hunger and so on. 

A huge plus for MAVS is its transparency and ownership of faults. To amend for those, the company publicly apologized and developed an action plan for diversity and inclusion. The outcome is that there are now 50% women and 47% non-white people in the Mavs executive leadership team.

Starbucks

In 2020, Starbucks quickly responded to the global well-being crisis by offering its employees and their eligible family members 20 free hours of therapy that can be accessed online. 

Starbucks’ standard benefits offering is flexible and includes: digital on-demand mental health care, stock & equity options for investing in employees’ future, family planning reimbursement options, backup adult and childcare days and more. 

Further on, Starbucks offers flexible workplaces – WFH, hybrid and remote options, depending on the role.

To promote equal opportunities for all, in the US, Starbucks organized a Starbucks College Achievement Plan that offers an opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree online with 100% tuition coverage. 

Starbucks hired more than 7,700 veterans and military spouses in the U.S. and are committed to hiring at least 5,000 more every year going forward.

In 2022, a new initiative is being introduced: offering enrolled partners reimbursement for eligible travel expenses when accessing abortion or gender-affirming procedures not available within 100 miles of their home.

PwC

Quick to respond to the global health threat caused by the pandemic, in 2020, PwC evolved its benefits package and offered Free 24/7 access to a coach or therapist through a mental health app.   

At the same time, PwC offered its employees a knowledge resource, a playbook for returning to work, a digital health-check tool, 1 on 1 and group well-being coaching sessions.

Additionally, it showed flexibility when the company expanded child care reimbursement, relieving some of the invisible workload of care-giving employees and alleviating the ‘motherhood penalty’. 

PwC understands that embracing cultural diversity helps to foster a positive company culture.  One good example is how PwC acknowledges various cultures of its many employees: celebrating Ramadan, Yom Kippur, as well as Passover and Easter

Some of the additional DEI initiatives include sponsoring the inaugural Women of the Future 50 Rising Stars in #ESG program.

In May 2022, to contribute to the Mental Health Awareness Month, PwC hosted a Green Light to Talk campaign and the #MyMindMatters social media campaign.

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Thrive Global

Being a company that offers wellbeing solutions to other companies, there’s a lot to expect from Thrive Global. Thrive Global’s standard wellbeing benefit offering comprises: life, health, dental, disability, vision and supplemental life insurance, flexible spending account, and health savings account. 

Additionally, the company provides a family medical leave, a generous parental leave and a flexible work schedule with remote options for specific roles. It promises hiring practices that promote diversity and training that aim to eliminate unconscious bias. 

In March 2022, Forbes named Thrive Global as one of 50 best startup employers based on three criteria: employer reputation, employee satisfaction and growth. 

To mark the Mental Health Awareness Month, Thrive Global organized a community panel and further added to the vast body of knowledge regarding mental health awareness.

Squarespace

Squarespace basic benefit package comprises premium medical, dental, and vision coverage for employees and their dependent children. Additionally, the company offers up to 20 weeks of paid family leave, fertility and adoption benefits, daily gourmet lunches and snacks, and more.

Additionally, the long list of well-being benefits include: 100% free access to apps Headspace, Ginger, Talkspace, 100% paid premium healthcare for employees and their dependents, virtual counseling sessions via HealthJoy, and many more. 

Just to name a few more of the overall benefits that influence well-being: employees can choose to work remotely, the company embraces and celebrates cultural diversity. There is a paid bereavement period for loss of a loved one and a subsidized back-up care for dependents. 

To mark the Mental Health Awareness Month, Squarespace encouraged its employees to place blocks on their calendar to secure time for self-care.  

Most recently, Squarespace won Ragan Wellness’ Workplace Wellness Awards for the Employee Benefits category. 

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Conclusion

While we can undoubtedly agree that progress in addressing employee well-being has been made, we are still fairly under-equipped to deal with the massive shortages in dealing with the global mental health crises.

Could we find the global recovery and healing we’re looking for at workplaces? A return to a meaningful life begins with work. There is a lot companies can and should do to create a positive company culture that promotes the mental well-being of its employees.

Mental Health Awareness Month is an ideal occasion to raise awareness, encourage dialogue, and reduce mental health stigma. However, revolutions take time, and progress can only happen if the efforts to promote a well-being culture are constant. To attract and retain talent, workplaces will continue to offer competitive benefits and further evolve them. We’re living in a moment we must take advantage of – the time is ripe for change.