Dear HR Executive,
Would you believe a quarter of your employees are depressed – putting your company at risk of lost employee productivity in at least four different ways?
That’s a shocking figure, but it’s what researchers at the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) claim. Working with data from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Health and Work Performance questionnaire, IBI found that 28% of employees self-report as depressed.
This compares with just 10% of the working population if you use only data from medical and disability claims.
True, most employees aren’t doctors, and their depression diagnosis might not agree with that of a medical professional. But the 28% figure does suggest that depression may be a much bigger roadblock for employee productivity than you knew.
IBI also estimated that of lost productivity associated with depression – whose money value has been put at $44 billion a year – 64% comes from presenteeism: employees who are at work but not performing adequately. Another 18% comes from sick days taken because of depression.
The other 18% is associated with short-term disability claims – 5% from STD claims with a diagnosis of depression and 13% from employees who go on STD and then get depressed.
What can HR and Benefits pros do to increase employee productivity? At least three things:
- Promote the idea that “real men” (and women) don’t suffer in silence with depression. WHO says it takes, on average, eight years from the onset of depression until it’s first treated. That’s too long, and productivity can suffer throughout.
- Make sure your health insurance plan covers mental health treatment.
- Consider some kind of Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
The HR Café Newsletter