By Peter Weddle, CEO TAtech
According to a recent survey by from Lyra Health, Boston University and Future Workplace, HR leaders have shifted their priorities and now cite employee wellbeing and mental health as their primary area of concern. While HR technology companies have a head start in responding to this new customer focus, there is plenty of opportunity for recruiting solution providers as well. In fact, companies in the talent acquisition space actually have twice as much market opportunity as HR vendors.
The mental health crisis in the workplace is, unfortunately, no surprise. It’s the all-too-predictable result of more than a year of dealing with the Covid pandemic and the tensions it created for employees who were working at home while trying to monitor kids doing schoolwork remotely, caring for sick or elderly family members and a whole lot more. Though the 2021 Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition showed a positive trend for women with anxiety down 24 percent, many workers continue to deal with such issues and the unprecedented level of stress they impose.
This stress exists among recruiters and job seekers alike, and employers increasingly understand that their success in talent acquisition and retention depends upon their ability to address and resolve it for both groups. They need solutions to help them deal with the mental health and wellbeing of those who are already working for the company to help them perform at their peak and those who are considering an opportunity with the company to help them recognize the merits of the opening.
The obligations are different, of course, but equally important.
• Employers accept at least some level of responsibility for helping their employees – including their recruiters – cope with on-the-job and even extra-workplace sources of anxiety and depression. Whether it’s delivered as a benefit, an aspect of effective leadership or both, organizations must support their workers mental health just as they do their occupational competencies and physical safety if they expect their business to succeed.
• For job seekers, on the other hand, the role is less direct. Even in today’s labor friendly environment, looking for a new or better job is fraught with the stressors of uncertainty and potential change. Employers that address these tensions in their recruiting process not only provide a better candidate experience, they also model an approach to the employee experience that enhances their value proposition as an employer and thus their recruiting.
This two-group need for mental health support by employers gives talent technology companies a new market opening. While HR tech companies promote and offer solutions for employees, only talent technology providers have the potential capacity to do so for both employees (recruiters) and job seekers. In fact, they are already providing such support, but unlike HR vendors, they seldom position and promote that role as mental health assistance and, as a consequence, seldom get credit for delivering it.
For example, by providing effective implementation support for the introduction of a new talent technology product, talent technology providers are reducing or even eliminating recruiters’ stress both by making it easy to learn how to use a new tool and by adding to their ability to fill their employer’s openings successfully. Similarly, they are making the job seeker’s transition less stressful by providing products that answer their questions and reduce their level of uncertainty during the recruiting process.
And, those examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Current talent technology products can clearly be used in many other ways to help address the mental health of recruiters and/or job seekers. In addition, new products are almost certain to be developed that will do so in important and innovative ways. All that’s missing for those solutions to open a new and potentially significant market for talent technology providers is their positioning and promotion as mental health resources.
Food for Thought,
Peter Weddle is the author or editor of over two dozen books and a former columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He is also the founder and CEO of TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions. You can check out his latest books on Amazon or in the TAtech Bookstore.