The numbers are clear: the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that quit rates are at a historic high, with 4.5 million Americans voluntarily leaving their jobs in November. This report comes on the heels of a string of record-breaking months – and it’s a clear indication that the “Great Resignation” is raging on.
Indeed, the Labor Department reports that employers across the country are seeking to fill a near record high 11 million job openings.
Why are so many people leaving their jobs? Because COVID-19 has changed every aspect of life – including the way people view their jobs and what they deem most important. Said simply,
today’s employees view quality of life as a key factor in where they devote their time and talent.
The High Cost of Employee Turnover
While turnover is typically highest among younger employees, resignation rates amid the pandemic are highest among mid-career workers. Indeed, Harvard Business Review reports a 20% increase in quit rates between 2020 and 2021 for employees ages 30-45.
Perhaps more alarming, Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index predicts a whopping 40% or more of the global workforce will consider leaving their current employers within the next year.
The Society for Human Resource Management estimates that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs an average of six-to-nine months’ salary.
For someone earning $50,000 a year, that’s $25,000-$37,500 in recruiting and training expenses. In today’s race for talent – not to mention the staggering costs of attrition – employee recruitment and retention have bubbled up as a top priority for companies nationwide.
Workplace Mental Health a Critical Factor
If COVID-19 has a silver lining, it’s that it’s helped soften the stigma of mental illness by spotlighting the challenges facing employees and opening dialogue around mental health. In 2020, mental health support went from a nice-to-have to a must-do for businesses. The stakes are even higher today – not only because mental health is directly linked to productivity, but because supporting workers’ mental health is a key factor in retaining employees and attracting new talent.
Mind Share Partners’ 2021 Mental Health at Work Report reveals that three-quarters of full-time U.S. workers reported at least one symptom of a mental health condition in the past year.
The numbers were even higher among top-ranking employees, with 78% of C-suite employees and 82% of executives reporting at least one symptom. What’s more, a full 50% of survey respondents left previous jobs due, at least in part, to mental health reasons. This number is up from 34% in 2019.
Employers Expanding Mental Health Benefits
For years, employees have ranked healthcare as the most important benefit at work. That’s truer than ever.
Consider a new report from Workhuman, which reveals that benefits are even more important than salary:
63% of survey respondents stated they would jump ship for a company that offered better benefits – even if it meant a cut in pay.
And research conducted in November 2021 by Paychex and Future Workplace found well-being benefits – including mental health – to be a key deciding factor when applying for a new job.
To underscore the point, Mindshare Partners reports that respondents who felt their employers were supportive of their mental health were 2.7 times more likely to be satisfied at work – and 2.5 times more likely to intend to stay in their job for two years or more – compared to those who didn’t feel supported.
Employers are taking note: Kaiser Family Foundation reports nearly 40% of businesses have expanded mental health services since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This also includes expanding the ways in which employees can access these services, such as teletherapy and telepsychiatry.
The Case for Telebehavioral Health
Companies are now turning to virtual care to provide the benefits their workforces want and need. Not only does the virtual model overcome the barriers of traditional care – like long wait times, extremely narrow networks and high out-of-pocket costs – but the American Psychological Association reports it’s just as effective as in-person care in treating common mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
Indeed, telehealth is now an accepted – and even preferred – platform for mental healthcare. Not only do patients report feeling more comfortable talking to a provider via video or the phone more than in person, but utilization has skyrocketed. The latest report from McKinsey & Co. shows a full 50% of psychiatry visits are now virtual.
What’s more, data shared in JAMA shows very high satisfaction scores and lower attrition rates among people who have sought treatment via telebehavioral health vs. traditional, in-person therapy.
It’s truly a win-win for employers and their staff.