BOSTON, MA (November 15, 2022) – The pandemic, and the cavalcade of stress and distress that came with it, have touched virtually every organization. The mental health fallout will continue well into 2023, according to meQuilibrium (meQ), the #1 digital solution for building workforce resilience.
“While we may have turned the corner on the pandemic, we’re not tapering off in terms of employee mental health issues,” said Andrew Shatte’, PhD, Chief Knowledge Officer and co-founder, meQ. “With typical adversity, when the adversity ends, so does the psychological fallout. However, the mental health fallout from the pandemic has not abated and we will continue to see a loss of motivation, burnout, clinical depression, and clinical anxiety in 2023. This ‘long tail’ makes sense when we conceptualize the events of the last 2+ years as ‘traumatic’.”
meQ identified five HR trends that will shape employee wellbeing and organizational growth in 2023:
1. The long tail of the pandemic: The burnout epidemic persists and workforce wellbeing will continue to suffer
Threats to employee wellbeing continue to intensify with 60% of the global workforce reporting at least one mental health challenge, including symptoms of anxiety, depression, or burnout, according to McKinsey.
“The demands that are being put on people show no signs of slowing, as the long tail of recent trauma persists,” said Dr. Shatte’. “From changes related to the pandemic to shortages of front-line employees and changing work environments – the problem of feeling overworked and feeling burnt out and stressed out, is increasing.”
2. HR leaders will recognize that mental health is health
Globally, burnout, anxiety, and depression are at higher rates than ever. In 2023, we’ll see employee wellbeing becoming even more central—with a sharp focus on building mental wellbeing.
“HR leaders are recognizing that mental health is health,” said Alanna Fincke, SVP Content and Head of Learning, meQ. “This means HR departments will be creating more wellbeing programs that focus not only on physical health but on mental strength.”
3. Employees want help preparing to adapt to change
HR leaders must make it possible for their organizations and people to rise above the trauma of today, and deliver a positive, proactive approach to workforce wellbeing.
“We need to promote self-care for the long haul and boost positivity to move through the trauma stronger than when we went in,” said Dr. Shatte’.
“When we fail to prioritize self-care, we don’t give the body or the brain what it needs to rest and recuperate,” explained Adam Perlman, MD, Chief Medical Officer and co-founder, meQ. “Ultimately, that tends to lead to both physical and mental distress. Stress can lead to increased risk of conditions like depression, heart disease, and high blood pressure. It is important that employers encourage employees to rest and recharge and communicate resources to support mental and physical wellbeing.”
4. Population behavioral health risk analytics will be key to HR’s success in 2023
HR population analytics will continue to grow as a tool for forward-thinking organizations to identify workforce patterns and risks, and then take action to address burnout risk, stress and turnover intent in real time.
“Predictive workforce behavioral health population analytics is increasingly essential to successfully operate and grow in uncertain times,” said Brad Smith, PhD., Chief Science Officer, meQ. “This knowledge will enable HR to identify workforce risks and remedial actions as part of an integrated proactive C-suite response to disruption.”
5. Skills that support growth-oriented thinking will be the new must haves
Employee mental health fallout from the pandemic and economic uncertainty are continuing. In order to achieve organizational growth, businesses will look for ways to ensure that their people are as engaged, empowered, and aligned.
“Skills that build trust and engagement – empathy, positivity, wellbeing — will be the new must haves,” said Jan Bruce, CEO and co-founder, meQ. “The game is changing – people want different things from work, and this is moving businesses to look very carefully at their benefits. Employers must go way beyond health protection and prevention and move towards helping their employees be prepared to adapt and rise to the changes and challenges in the new paradigm of work.”