While nearly half (47 per cent) of global human resources leaders said their company supports employee well-being, just 24 per cent of employees agreed, according to a new survey by Achievers Workforce Institute.

The global survey, which polled more than 2,000 employees and 950 HR leaders from Australia, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S., found just 20 per cent of employee respondents said they feel physically and mentally healthy, while fewer than one in five felt their employer supports their physical (17 per cent) and mental well-being (18 per cent). In addition, nearly half (48 per cent) of employee respondents said they feel stressed and, of that group, 63 per cent said their stress is related to the coronavirus pandemic.

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“As we look ahead at the weeks and months to come, it’s easy to think that the worst is behind us with vaccinations on the rise and many businesses starting a phased return to the office,” said Natalie Baumgartner, Achievers’ chief workforce scientist, in a press release. “However, the well-being research . . . shows that stress remains high, with COVID-19 as a key driver.”

While 40 per cent of HR leaders said their company offers resources to support employees’ well-being, just 18 per cent of employee respondents felt supported at work in managing their mental well-being.

“While HR may believe they are taking the right steps to support employees in this area, if individuals don’t experience that support as effective, then the effort is not meeting the goal,” said Baumgartner. “The key step is to ask employees for their input on both existing initiatives and with regards to which programs would be beneficial to their physical and mental well-being. This employee insight is crucial to implementing support that is experienced as effective and impactful.”

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The survey also found that marginalized groups are reporting more stress, including those who self-identify as Black, Indigenous and people of colour, LGBTQ2S+, people with disabilities, women or non-binary people. Across the board, these groups reported higher stress and less support for their well-being.

For example, BIPOC respondents were 29 per cent more likely to say they feel a lot of stress at work, while LGBTQ2S+ respondents were 55 per cent more likely than average to have taken stress leave. Respondents with disabilities were twice as likely to say they’re stressed and women were 23 per cent less likely to say they feel a strong sense of mental well-being compared to men.

“HR leaders need to understand how and why marginalized groups are experiencing heightened stress, otherwise inequities will deepen and result in cultural erosion over time,” said Baumgartner.

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