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How Prioritizing Employee Well-Being Boosts HR's Recruitment Efforts

Attracting talent comes with new challenges these days for HR professionals. The pandemic initiated a massive shift in the workforce, with 4 million Americans quitting their jobs in September 2021. As a result, the number of available jobs is at a record high. 

Many workers are leveraging this opportunity to seek jobs that provide a better work-life balance. A desire for a better work-life balance is second only to compensation, with 42% of workers citing it as a reason to look elsewhere.

Your company culture must reflect the current priorities of its candidates to gain a competitive edge in today’s job market. COVID-19 has shifted priorities in the American workforce, and mental health is at the top of the list. Prioritizing employee mental health — and demonstrating this to candidates — is a strategy you’ll need to utilize to appeal to prospects. 

 

How to Attract Talent by Supporting Employee Well-Being

There are two major steps to successfully leveraging wellness strategies to improve recruitment efforts. First, the company must make employee well-being a pillar of its culture. Second, the hiring process should communicate that this is a company value. 

Here’s how HR professionals can do this. 

 

Foster a Psychologically Safe Workplace

A toxic work environment creates mental health challenges for team members. Many employees have left their jobs because working conditions have directly caused mental health issues. In addition, millennials and members of Gen Z are leaving for mental health reasons at higher rates than other generations. This occurrence signifies that mental health is not a trending topic; instead, it’s a cultural shift. 

Creating an open culture around mental health can’t be done without leadership training. Management sets the tone for company culture. So your organization should train leaders to navigate conversations about mental health and create a supportive workplace. 

It’s also important to train leaders to ask for feedback. Feedback opportunities give employees a voice and boost employee engagement. The best way to encourage feedback is to create routines that create opportunities for employees to speak freely. Leaders should also communicate effectively when employees’ feedback leads to company change.

Prioritizing the professional growth of all team members can help create a psychologically healthy working environment. For example, companies can offer reimbursement for certification, licensing or give employees a professional development allowance. 

During the hiring process, it’s important to show candidates that your company encourages growth among its employees. So, first, ask candidates their professional and personal goals and what skills and opportunities they need to realize them. Then, discuss how you’ll work together to help them achieve their goals. 

 

Respond to Pandemic-Related Stress

One in five employees is struggling to cope with the pandemic. To improve recruitment efforts, leaders must demonstrate a sensitivity to the ongoing changes in the lives of their employees. 

Companies must be flexible with schedules, especially for employees who have caretaking responsibilities. Offering work-from-home days or allowing full-time remote work sets a precedent for a trusting relationship with new hires and lets them know their personal lives matter.

Do an audit of the company’s policies to ensure that it reflects the significant changes to workers’ lives. Consider expanding parental leave or offering parents more flexibility. Address how your sick leave affords time for booster shots, covid-19 infections, or caregiving for family members. Create a mental health day policy that encourages employees to recharge. 

 

Provide Proactive Employee Mental Health Training

Work-related or not, addressing the mental health of your employees is good for your bottom line. Half of employees with depression, a leading cause of presenteeism and absenteeism, do not seek treatment for their condition. Some of the reasons for this are the stigma of reporting it in the first place or not understanding the nuances of mental health.

To support your employee’s mental health, invest in a proactive wellness program that emphasizes stress management and strategies to improve everyday well-being. As a result, wellness programs improve employee productivity and performance, reduce workplace conflict, and boost employee engagement. 

A successful wellness program is the most effective way to demonstrate that your company cares about its employees’ quality of life. To improve recruiting efforts, emphasize how your wellness programs reflect the needs of your employees during the hiring process. 

 

Invest in DEI That Makes a Real Difference

Diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies are essential to supporting employee mental health. LGBTQ+, Black, and Latinx employees are the most likely to cite mental health reasons for leaving their jobs, and they’re also most likely to agree that company culture should openly embrace mental health. 

However, data shows us that training management in diversity alone often fails to make a difference. Sometimes, it even backfires on employees. If companies want to show candidates that they care about diversity and inclusion, leadership must be open to feedback and address their unconscious biases.

In addition, wellness programs should address tough subjects like racial and gender violence. Finally, companies should implement mentorship programs, cross-training, and self-managed teams to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

 

Offer Benefits That Support a Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is a top priority for candidates right now — and effective HR teams are making it a core component of their recruiting strategy. 

Take an internal review of how your company operates and decide when and where employees can elect to work remotely. Many new hires have caretaking responsibilities or are more productive at home, so this is a substantial benefit to offer. 

Some companies have adopted a four-day workweek and have reported that employee well-being and revenue have increased. More and more companies are conducting internal audits of how productive their employees are in a 32-hour workweek. While it’s still considered fringe, it’s indicative of shifting perspectives about well-being and productivity.  

 

Be Transparent With New Hires About Pay

Disclose salary ranges during the hiring process. While discussing pay may feel taboo, hiding it can indicate that the company doesn’t value transparency. Candidates know that discussing salary is beneficial to employers and keeps wages fair. On the other hand, maintaining pay secrecy builds distrust, especially among women and minorities, who know they’re historically underpaid.

Women are less likely to initiate negotiations and more likely to be penalized for negotiating. In turn, salary transparency signals a commitment to closing the gender pay gap. In addition, pay transparency early on in the hiring process builds trust. This trust gives recruiters more leverage to promote their company culture, opportunities for growth, and employee experience. 

Indeed reported that companies who disclosed wage increases saw spikes in Indeed searches. Amazon, Bank of America, and other companies have begun utilizing this transparency strategy to attract new talent. Consider using social media platforms like LinkedIn to emphasize company culture and establish a reputation of transparency. 

 

Supporting Mental Health Gives You a Competitive Edge

HR professionals should be sensitive to how the pandemic has changed employees’ lives and the workplace to recruit new talent. As a result, mental health and well-being must become central to company culture. And to have a competitive edge during the hiring process, HR needs to demonstrate an investment in employees’ quality of life.


Recruiting talent is just one way your organization can benefit from prioritizing well-being in your workplace. Employee mental health hits every organization’s bottom line and ignoring it can come with a hefty price tag.

Companies lose thousands, sometimes millions of dollars, each year due to mental health conditions in the workplace.  Find out how much employees' mental health concerns are costing your company each year.

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