Why is it so important to benchmark employee wellbeing?

Integrated health platforms empower employers 'to identify different ways to action, and equip people with concrete solutions'

Why is it so important to benchmark employee wellbeing?

Many Canadians continue to face mental health struggles even though employers are offering numerous benefits and supports to their workforce.

Overall, Canadians have a low overall wellbeing score of 49.4, according to Dialogue Health Technologies.

The score is based on the World Health Organization's WHO-5 Well-Being Index.

“What's interesting about WHO-5 is it's a very simple questionnaire. It [consists] of five questions and takes less than a minute to complete. And then it measures wellbeing along the five dimensions of wellness, which are mood, stress or ability to deal with stress, sleep or sleep issues, level of activity and sense of purpose,” says Dr. Marc Robin, medical director at Dialogue.

Does age play a role in mental health?

One thing that proves to be popular among workers is virtual care options, and eight in 10 working Canadians now expect their employer will offer these, finds Dialogue’s survey of 6,400 people across Canada from Oct. 1, 2023 to Dec. 31, 2023.

“Virtual care is proven to reduce barriers to access, which is especially important for mental health. In addition to reducing wait times, a digital front door allows patients to access support in the comfort of their homes, catching the moment of opportunity when they are ready to seek help,” says Robin.

“By bringing in elements of prevention in addition to treatment, virtual care also helps Canadians proactively address health concerns earlier in the wellness-illness continuum, not just once or twice a year when employees are already sick or struggling.”

However, employees’ wellbeing needs vary depending on their age. Across age groups, the youngest workers in Dialogue’s survey have the lowest wellbeing score.

Source: Dialogue

“Boomers have a lower prevalence of mental health issues, but they have a higher prevalence of physical and chronic diseases. The youngest Boomer will be 60 years old this year. So, they're more associated with chronic diseases,” says Robin.

“Gen Z's and millennials have less chronic disease, but more mental health challenges to deal with. It's not to say that Boomers did not have those mental health challenges when they were 20, 30 years old, but certainly they weren't talking about that as much.”

Nearly nine in 10 (89 per cent) of Canadian professionals say their personal wellbeing has become a “top priority”, and 60 per cent think employers should be doing more to preserve employee wellbeing, according to a previous report.

What is the importance of benchmarking employee wellbeing?

Citing data from the Mental Health Research Canada council, Dialogue notes that more than 20 per cent of Canadians suffer from moderate to severe anxiety or depression, yet only one in 10 Canadians have consulted for their mental health in the past year.

Also, 48 per cent of Canadians lose sleep over their finances.

“We know that 71 per cent of Canadians are conscious about their health, and that about 50 per cent say their benefits as insufficient,” says Robin. Also, half of Canadians have never used their Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

To ensure that employees utilize the resources available to them, it’s important for employers to “meet people where they are at,” says Robin.

Benchmarking employees’ wellbeing can help with that, he says.

“Benchmarking wellbeing through data on integrated health platforms really empowers [employers] to identify different ways to action, and equip people with concrete solutions.”

It also drives workers to use their benefits, he says. 

“It's also good for the employers to be able to inform initiatives they want to put in place and measure the successes of these initiatives and the return on investment.”

For instance, seven in 10 survey respondents with access to Dialogue’s Wellness program adopted a healthy habit after going through an assessment.

The most popular healthy habits among these Canadians are:

  • sleeping better (32 per cent)
  • moving more (16 per cent)
  • reducing stress (13 per cent).

“Dialogue’s Well-Being Score allows Canadians to address areas of wellness through clinically validated collections of healthy habits. This allows employees to adopt small and measurable changes to improve lifestyle factors, such as sleep, nutrition, substance use or physical activity levels, empowering Canadians to improve or maintain their overall level of wellness before they reach a more serious state of illness,” says Robin.

“Especially in the context of Mental Health Week, it’s important for employers to re-evaluate how they support their workforce.”

In January, Bell Let's Talk kicked off a new campaign to inspire real change to positively impact mental health. The “Let's create real change” campaign asks employers, workers and everyone else to play a role to create change at workplaces and even homes, schools and communities.

Latest stories