Prioritize Mental Health in Recruitment to Attract Top Talent

Rodney HessBy Rodney Hess
October 10th, 2023 • 3 Minutes

Today is World Mental Health Day and the spotlight is firmly on the escalating importance of mental well-being in the workplace. As employees globally grapple with unprecedented challenges, their expectations from employers have evolved. They no longer seek just a paycheck, but a holistic environment that prioritizes their mental health.

Progressive companies are leveraging their mental health initiatives as powerful recruitment tools to attract top talent.


Pandemic Leads to Mental Health Awareness

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing mental health challenges and created new ones. A recent study found that 4 in 10 adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression during the pandemic, a fourfold increase from 2019.

Younger generations are especially vocal regarding their needs. A 2023 report from Deloitte highlights the increasing importance of mental well-being in the workplace, especially among the Gen Z demographic. As the younger generation navigates a myriad of challenges, their expectations from potential employers have undergone a transformation. They are in pursuit of more than just monetary compensation; they are seeking a comprehensive environment that places their mental health at the forefront. 

In fact, listings on job boards that prominently feature wellness programs, counseling services, and a culture that champions work-life balance are seeing a significant uptick in applications from this younger generation.


Mental Health Viewed at Same Level as Physical Health

With this generational shift, mental health is increasingly being viewed at the same level of importance as physical health. Job seekers now actively evaluate the mental health benefits and environment cultivated by potential employers.

Savvy recruiters are showcasing their company’s mental health offerings front and center. Job postings now highlight wellness programs, counseling benefits, meditation spaces, and a culture that values work-life balance.

Modern applicant tracking systems not only streamline the recruitment process but are also increasingly equipped with features that highlight a company’s mental health initiatives, ensuring that potential candidates are immediately aware of the benefits on offer.

Companies are also leveraging employee referral software where current employees can vouch for the organization’s commitment to mental well-being. Such platforms amplify the message that the company truly values its employees’ mental health.

According to the 2023 Work in America Survey by the SHRM Foundation, 92% of workers said it is very or somewhat important to work for an organization that values their emotional and psychological well-being. An equal percentage believed it’s very or somewhat important to work for an organization that provides mental health support.

Mentions of “mental health” in job descriptions have tripled over the past two years. Roles like investment bankers and software developers that discussed mental health and wellness attracted more applicants.

As a result, roles that emphasize mental health and wellness benefits are increasingly appealing to potential candidates. This trend underscores the evolving priorities of job seekers, who are now placing a greater emphasis on holistic well-being when considering potential employers.


Promoting Mental Health Offerings in Recruiting

Companies are getting creative with how they showcase their mental health offerings during recruiting. By promoting these benefits upfront, employers can catch the eye of job seekers who prioritize mental wellness. 

Some tactics include:

  • Highlighting mental health offerings directly in job postings and career sites.
  • Offering introductory mental health benefits as a recruiting perk like free meditation app subscriptions.
  • Recruiters can highlight offerings like counseling benefits and wellness spaces during interviews.
  • Promoting the mental health culture on social media job ads.
  • Utilizing video interviewing software to convey the company’s commitment to well-being and culture.
  • Providing mental health stipends or reimbursements for self-care activities.
  • Including mental health messaging on company swag given to candidates.

These types of mental health promotions allow companies to stand out and show candidates that employee well-being is a top priority. By leading with their mental health culture, employers can gain a competitive recruiting advantage.


Mental Health Programs Benefit Companies

Employers recognize that taking care of employees’ mental health is not just an ethical imperative, but also makes good business sense. The cost of job stress in the U.S. is estimated to be over $300 billion annually, according to the American Institute of Stress.

Simple, low-cost steps like allowing remote work, encouraging breaks, providing healthy snacks, and offering mindfulness classes can greatly boost employee morale and retention.

More companies are also integrating comprehensive mental health services into their benefits packages and employer branding. This provides employees access to counseling, therapy, meditation apps, and other resources.


Competitive Edge in Recruiting

Mental health is now a key element in talent acquisition and companies are highlighting this in using their recruitment tools. Employers emphasizing genuine wellness initiatives will distinguish themselves from the competition, attracting top candidates seeking a supportive environment. While some lag behind, visionary companies are integrating mental health deeply into their ethos, rather than just offering superficial perks. As World Mental Health Day underscores the focus on workplace well-being, it’s evident that successful recruitment will hinge on recognizing and nurturing the holistic well-being of employees.

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