Mental Health Services Are Key to Hiring and Employee Retention Strategies

November 20, 2020
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Attracting and retaining millennial and Gen Z employees can be a struggle for non-acute healthcare providers and hospitality companies. The secret? These generations don’t necessarily want what their predecessors did from employers. Benefits that include wellness mental health services may be the key.

Employee benefit packages have long been part of total compensation. The packages often include health insurance, paid time off, disability insurance and retirement plans. While these benefits are attractive to employees, the needs and priorities of millennials and Gen Zers are uniquely different from Gen Xers and baby boomers.

Younger generations want employee wellness programs and mental health services, along with a positive employee culture, with their jobs. Organizations have to understand how certain benefits are a competitive advantage when recruiting, hiring and retaining millennials, which are now the largest generation in the workforce.

Millennials value their health more than anything except their families, according to a Sanford Health study. That’s one reason they’ve been dubbed “the wellness generation.”


Wellness programs can incentivize employees to improve their overall health and wellbeing. The programs encourage people to exercise, eat healthy and take mental breaks, which boost employee morale and productivity.

While traditional wellness programs can appeal to millennials and Gen Zers, they want mental health services, too. That’s why employers should prioritize those services for their workers.

“Millennials are more engaged and more open about their mental health struggles than previous generations and they are also more likely to expect mental health benefits from their employers,” noted Employee Benefits News.

Mental health factors can determine if millennial or Gen Z employees stay with their employers. Fifty percent of millennials and 75% of Gen Zers have left a job, either voluntarily or involuntarily, for mental health reasons, according to survey results featured in Harvard Business Review.

A growing number of prominent employers now offer mental health benefits that cover a higher number of therapy sessions and a wider range of treatment options, including therapy and mental health coaching. Still, younger generations say it’s not enough. Nearly eight in 10 (78%) of millennials believe their company should do more to support their health and wellbeing needs, according to a millennial survey report from Welltok.

“Looking to hire top millennial and Gen Z talent? If so, know that providing a comprehensive benefits package and a supportive employee culture are essential to attracting and retaining younger employees. Those benefits include an employee wellness program that offers mental health services.”


Millennials and Gen Z are breaking the stigma attached to mental health. Part of the reason is that these generations need the services more than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people (61%) say they are lonely, which is fueling a mental health crisis, according to Cigna. Young people are particularly at risk. Even before the pandemic, millennials were considered the “loneliest generation” and claimed to be in worse health than older generations.

Furthermore, a large number of millennials and Gen Zers frequently suffer from stress and anxiety, which are common mental health concerns, according to a paper by Deloitte. The anxiety created by COVID-19 worsened their mental health struggles.

As one Bay Area doctor said, “The mental health problems among young people have almost tripled” during the pandemic. Millennials in particular are more likely to experience stress as a result of the coronavirus than other generations.

Companies interested in adding mental health services to their employee wellness programs can attract candidates both now and post COVID-19.

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