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Solid business case for workplace mental health programs: report

Business case 'impossible to ignore,’ says Deloitte CEO


Investing in workplace mental health programming is good for the bottom line, according to a Deloitte Canada report.

Companies with mental health programs in place for one year had a median annual return on investment (ROI) of $1.62 for every dollar invested, according to analysis included in “The ROI in workplace mental health programs: Good for people, good for business.”

For companies with programs in place for three or more years, the median annual ROI is more than double, says the report.

The report explores data from seven Canadian companies at various stages of rolling out mental health programs and supports — including Air Canada, ATB Financial, Bell, Canada Life, CIBC, Desjardins Group, Enbridge, Energir, Husky Energy and Morneau Shepell.

“There’s both an economic and moral imperative for Canadian employers to take action, recognizing that the cost to the Canadian economy of poor mental health in our workplaces is estimated to be $50 billion annually,” said Anthony Viel, CEO of Deloitte Canada.

“The findings from this report provide a business case that is impossible to ignore. Organizations committed to delivering and measuring impactful employee wellness programs are creating healthier workplaces and seeing investments in their people’s mental health pay off.”

Other key findings include:

  • Wellness programs are more likely to achieve positive ROI when they support employees along the entire spectrum of mental health — from promotion of well-being to intervention and care.
  • Employers could achieve greater program ROI by prioritizing investing in higher-impact areas such as leadership training and preventive interventions, including psychological care benefits.
  • If employers measure their baseline data and take stock of existing initiatives, many organizations would realize they have already started to use the right tools to strengthen workplace mental health.
  • Putting in place mechanisms to measure performance can enable organizations to achieve desired program impact, improve adoption rates, and enhance decision-making.