Google offers its employees a groundbreaking benefit: workplace therapy. Could an in-house therapist right for your small company? Sure, on-site mental health therapy could help you stand out and attract top talent. But there’s a lot to consider when providing this sort of health care.
For starters: Is there room in your budget for an on-site therapist? Do you have the space available, either on- or off-site? How will you preserve employee confidentiality? And will your employees even use this benefit?
So before you overhaul your current offerings, consider these pros and cons of providing on-site mental health therapy, as well as advice for doing so properly.
Pro: Helps to Attract and Retain Top Talent
On-site health care, including mental health clinics, is a perk many employees value. Why? These clinics make health care visits more convenient and, potentially, more affordable. When you provide in-house therapy as part of an already-attractive benefits package, it can appeal to new talent and may even entice some employees to stick around.
Con: Big Upfront and Ongoing Costs
Creating a space for mental health services and paying qualified mental health providers incurs substantial upfront and ongoing costs. And finding the right mental health professional who meshes with your diverse workforce can be challenging. Seek out mental health providers who aren’t actively searching for a job and who maintain advanced credentials or board certifications.
Pro: May Boost Workplace Productivity
According to one study on mental health in the workplace, employees who experience depressive episodes tend to be less productive at work, but less than half of workers living with severe depression actually seek treatment. Offering on-site mental health treatment connects employees with help they may not seek out on their own, which can improve both their lives and their job productivity. Therapy can help staffers find healthy ways to cope with work-related stress, anxiety and depression.
Con: Possible Patient Confidentiality Challenges
Protecting employee confidentiality is a top priority—and can it feel daunting. Make your on-site mental health space private, shield employee health records, and only allow certain staff members to access sensitive mental health information. And always abide by all HIPAA privacy regulations.
Pro: Potential Savings on Health Care Coverage
You’ll spend money installing and maintaining an on-site mental health clinic, but doing so can save your company money in the long run. Forbes reports that companies can save money by deferring expensive mental health treatment to on-site clinics with more affordable care. Additionally, if employees are interested in—and will actually use—in-house care, you may be able to reduce the reach of your insurance network, which can lower premiums across the board.
Con: Wariness of Using This Benefit
Employees may hesitate to use on-site mental health resources because they fear the stigma. Employees may assume others—including their bosses—will view them as mentally unstable for seeing an in-house therapist.
To assuage these fears, consider offering after-work therapy hours or creating an employee mental health facility off-site. Combine mental health services with an on-site employee health clinic or a corporate wellness program, so employees aren’t fearful of being seen at a mental health facility for treatment.
A virtual mental health service, such as AbleTo, is another excellent option for employees worried about privacy. It delivers top-quality mental health treatment from the privacy of their home during convenient hours.
Promoting Workplace Therapy
If you decide an in-house therapist is right for your business, make sure to announce this benefit at HR and onboarding meetings. You could also send out company-wide newsletters and create signs or posters to display throughout your workplace.
If you have room in your budget and space available at your office, offering these mental health services is an excellent way to boost employee satisfaction, company morale and even productivity.
Want to know more about the tools and resources available to manage employee benefits? Check out the Employer Toolkit on United Concordia Dental’s website.