Mental health benefits are the hot new perk for companies looking to attract, optimize and retain top talent. Failure to have it as a cornerstone offering of your benefits plan is a risk of being seen as an “old economy” employer who doesn’t understand the needs of today’s top tier talent.
But simply adding coverage for therapy to your company’s health insurance plan is not enough since many employees only utilize therapy services once their mental health has reached a crisis state. In the same way that forward-thinking companies began offering wellness initiatives like smoking cessation campaigns, employers seeking to lower their healthcare costs while increasing the quality of life for employees are embracing proactive mental health initiatives.
The highest ROI mental health initiative a company can offer is conflict resolution training, which helps strengthen every aspect of an employee’s work and personal life. Conflict resolution training differs from standard communication training in that it focuses on helping employees break log jams where the communication is painfully clear, such as, “You’re the problem” and “You, not me, need to change!”
Such conflicts often emerge when co-workers want the same outcome (increased sales, better company culture, etc), but have very different ideas on how to get there. This can lead to intense conflict that creates distraction from job duties, blocks collaboration, and even increases absenteeism.
It can also lead to a deterioration of an employee’s physical health and an increase in unhealthy coping mechanisms, both of which substantially increase the cost of an employer’s health insurance premiums. Similarly, these conflicts can spill over to an employee’s home life, increasing strain on their family and creating further distractions for the employee during their working hours.
Adding Conflict Resolution Training to Your Benefits Program
For small companies without a large human resources department, the idea of instituting a conflict resolution program can feel overwhelming and cost-prohibitive. They often don’t know where to start, and they fear that the training will cost tens of thousands of dollars that the company doesn’t have to spend.
The good news is that conflict resolution is a fundamental building block of what most therapists are trained to do and provide at their practices every day. That means there are hundreds of experts within a short drive of your business that can give your employees easy-to-use tools to help de-escalate conflict and restore collaboration.
Consider reaching out to a local therapist or one of the professional associations in your area to set up a lunch-and-learn or a workshop focused on skills like active listening, developing empathy and collaborative problem-solving. Your employees will love you for it, and it’ll pay exponential dividends to your company’s bottom line and cultural experience.