HR technology provider Phenom will give $1,000 to each of its 331 U.S. workers to put toward their mental health, according to an email from the business to HR Dive starting from this year.
The benefit is distinct from the coverage offered by the company’s health plan for employees and is funded through a health reimbursement arrangement.
According to Brad Goldoor, the company’s chief people officer in a separate email. To be eligible for the benefit, employees must have worked for at least 30 days.
“As the workplace dynamic has changed drastically since early 2020, employees and job seekers have become more aware of companies’ emphasis on mental health,” said Goldoor.
“An empathetic culture isn’t enough; talent now expects organizations to openly acknowledge the importance of mental health and demonstrate how they will promote it.”
Organizations responded to the surge of pressures that befell employees and their families during the pandemic, in part, through their benefits programs.
This featured announcements by huge corporations like Walmart and Amazon, both of which increased or added access to subsidized mental health counseling services for their employees.
According to a 2020 poll conducted by research firm Gartner, businesses responded quickly to mental health issues early in the pandemic, with more than half of a sample of 50 HR leader respondents reporting that their companies provided new well-being support for employees.
Nearly half of employee respondents who claimed their businesses offered a mental health program in 2020 used it. As the pandemic drags on, however, some cracks may be showing in mental health programs.
For example, according to a November 2021 survey conducted by HR services firm LifeWorks, one-quarter of U.S. employee respondents do not intend to use their employer’s mental health support benefits, with one-quarter citing barriers such as confidentiality, cost, or a lack of knowledge about how to access the benefits as reasons.
These findings come at a time when analysts have expressed concern about the loneliness and isolation that workers face, particularly those who work remotely or off-site.
Goldoor stated that one of the main reasons for launching the company’s mental health benefit was to eliminate financial constraints.
“As the pandemic continues to weigh on all our minds, we do not want our employees to think twice about accessing mental health resources if they need them. Unfortunately, many therapists don’t accept health insurance, which can significantly reduce the upfront cost of therapy.”
The $1,000 donation from the company is not considered part of an employee’s compensation, and the funds are available to all U.S. employees, regardless of whether they are registered in Phenom’s health plans or not.
Goldoor went on to say that the company encourages employees to use their perks wherever they feel most at ease.