New Study: 68% of HR Leaders Prioritize Employee Mental Health: Shifting the Focus from Organizational Priorities to Human Needs

U.S. survey of more than 200 HR leaders identifies 5 strategic priorities placing HR at the center of business transformation

The turmoil of the past year has uncovered striking changes among HR leader’s priorities, according to the second annual HR Sentiment Survey conducted by Lyra Health, Boston University and Future Workplace, an advisory and membership organization that prepares HR leaders for the future of work. The study of over 200 senior HR leaders across the U.S. found a shift of priorities from the early months of COVID-19 2020 to currently where the focus has moved to employee well-being, mental health and DEI, and reshaping the HR priorities.

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2021 Signals a Priority Shift as HR Leaders Prepare for the Hybrid Workplace

As companies adopt new models and paradigms for the hybrid workplace, the focus is shifting from organizational issues to individual human concerns.

“As we move to the next normal of a hybrid workplace, focusing on employee well-being will be crucial for leaders to create inclusive experiences for all employees regardless of where, when or how they work,” explained Jeanne Meister, Managing Partner, Future Workplace.

“The past year thrust mental health into the spotlight as a universal issue with significant implications for individuals, teams, and entire organizations, which is why the conversation has expanded from HR benefits leaders to the boardroom,” said Dr. Joe Grasso, Ph.D., Senior Director of Workforce Mental Health at Lyra Health. “Employers should strategically align their leaders, culture initiatives, management practices, and resources to specifically support the mental health and well-being of their employees.”

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A New Look at HR Resource Allocation

Plus, a whopping 90% of organizations surveyed have already instituted, or have plans to institute formal training on return-to-office protocols. but according to HR leaders, more still needs to be done. When HR leaders were would invest more this year if they were able to double their budget, the following 5 areas were identified as key categories;

  • 44% – employee experience
  • 37% – improving existing technology
  • 34% – investing in DEI
  • 31% – upskilling/next generation leadership
  • 27% – coaching employees

“The pandemic has marked a massive shift in strategic priorities in the workplace,” said Fred K. Foulkes, Faculty Director, Human Resource Policy Institute Professor, Management & Organizations Professor of Organizational Behavior, Questrom School of Business at Boston University. “Companies that do not adopt new models and paradigms will struggle to retain top talent and succeed as a business.”

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