Number of the day: tech help for mental health

83: Percentage of employees who want their company to provide technology to support their mental health

The vast majority of employees say they want their employer to provide tech to support their mental health, according to research by Oracle and Workplace Intelligence, an HR research and advisory firm. The study of more than 12,000 employees, managers, HR leaders and C-level executives across 11 countries also finds that 80% of people would prefer to talk to a robot—such as an AI-powered therapist or chatbot counselor—instead of their manager about stress and anxiety at work.

What it means for HR leaders

COVID-19 has prompted a sharp focus on employees’ mental health—and on the help and support that employers provide. That’s because depression, anxiety, stress and burnout rates are soaring as a result of the pandemic.

Related: Mayer: The employees are not all right

While a number of employers are enhancing and rolling out programs and benefits—like employee assistance programs, more time off, therapy sessions and virtual meditation classes, for example—to support employees with their mental health, the research finds that employees also are looking for technology to help. Why the interest in technology over human support? It’s because employees believe an AI-powered therapist provides a judgment-free zone (34%), an unbiased outlet to share problems (30%), and quick answers to health-related questions (29%).

Learn more on the intersection of HR tech and mental health at the Virtual HR Tech Conference. Register here.

The findings signal that there’s significant potential for tech and AI to help improve employees’ mental health and employers may want to consider investing in the tools.

“If an organization had a chatbot or digital assistant that was programmed with mental health resources, it could guide the employee to get the help they need, whether through tactics, tools or referrals to professionals,” says Emily He, senior vice president of Oracle Cloud HCM. “[Technology] has the power to make a meaningful impact on our wellbeing. While there is no silver bullet that can solve the mental health crisis, the right technology can make a difference.”

 

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