Mindful Hiring: Incorporating Mental Health Awareness into Recruitment Practices

Mindful Hiring: Incorporating Mental Health Awareness into Recruitment Practices

Key Takeaways:

  • Since the pandemic, employee mental health has become a critical area of focus for employers due to ongoing work-life challenges, hybrid work adjustments, and an unpredictable job market.
  • Mindful hiring involves considering candidates' mental health needs during recruitment, which helps attract applicants and meet employee needs for mental health support.
  • Mindful hiring benefits organizations by fostering a positive work culture, attracting best-fit candidates, and supporting candidate attraction efforts, especially among younger generations. It prioritizes mental health support for potential employers.

In the years since the pandemic spurred off-the-charts stress and anxiety for millions, employee mental health has remained a critical area of focus for employers. Many employees face work-life challenges, adjustments to hybrid work, and an unpredictable job market, leading organizations to enhance mental health benefits and other services that promote employee well-being. 

The recruitment process offers many opportunities to consider mental health through each stage of the candidate journey. By practicing “mindful hiring,” organizations can attract applicants while meeting employee needs for mental health support.


The Benefits of Mindful Hiring

Mental well-being has near-universal value to employees. According to a 2023 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, 92% of workers said it was very or somewhat important to work for an organization that valued their emotional and psychological well-being. An equal percentage said it was very or somewhat important to work for an organization that provided mental health support. Since all employees were once candidates, these findings underscore the need to be mindful of mental health concerns during recruitment.

Mindful hiring is a form of recruitment that considers prospective employees' diverse mental health needs and goals while also seeking candidates who possess valuable skills such as empathy, adaptability, and resilience. Mindful hiring can benefit any organization because it supports the development of a positive work culture and helps attract best-fit candidates.

Mindful hiring supports organizational recruitment efforts in the following ways:

  • Supports candidate attraction efforts: Prioritizing employee mental health and well-being positions the organization as forward-thinking and in touch with employee needs, which helps attract top talent. This is especially true for younger generations. Eight in ten Millennials and Gen Zers surveyed by Deloitte said mental health support and policies were important factors when assessing potential employers.
  • Ensures better matching of candidates to open roles: When the recruitment process considers candidates' mental health needs and the coping skills they possess to manage stress and uncertainty, recruitment teams can more effectively match candidates to roles that align with their needs and capabilities. And when employees fill the roles that best fit their skills and abilities, they’re more likely to be engaged and productive at work.
  • Promotes a more inclusive culture: Practicing mindful hiring creates a culture where candidates and employees with mental health issues are free from discrimination. There’s no stigma around mental health concerns like depression and burnout; it’s not a topic people avoid discussing, and employees feel comfortable seeking support and taking advantage of company well-being benefits. 

mindful hiring


Ways to Incorporate Mindful Hiring Into Recruitment Practices

Mental health remains a hot topic in most organizations. In fact, a recent Business Group on Health survey found that 77% of large employers reported an increase in employee mental health needs. As a result, employers remain committed to addressing those needs with a variety of workplace programs and wellness initiatives. 

The recruitment process is an excellent place to start when addressing employee mental health, as it lets prospective candidates know how the organization supports its employees. By weaving mental well-being into employer branding, candidate engagement, and onboarding processes, organizations can demonstrate the full extent of their commitment to employee mental health. 

Here are several steps organizations can take to practice more mindful hiring:


1. Highlight Mental Well-being Efforts in Employer Branding Messages

Promoting wellness programs gives employees an authentic view of the company’s commitment to employee mental health and well-being. By including mental health benefits in the employee value proposition (EVP) and employer brand messaging, organizations aren’t just saying they support employee mental health. They’re also showing candidates how it looks in day-to-day employee experiences. Organizations can use their career site, landing pages, job postings, job ads, and social media to promote employee wellness programs and initiatives. Examples include:

  • Producing video and blog content that tells stories of employees utilizing wellness benefits, such as counseling services and mindfulness app subscriptions
  • Highlighting aspects of work culture that support work-life balance
  • Featuring employee testimonials that describe how the company supports their mental health
  • Encouraging employee ambassadors to highlight the mental health support available to employees

Tip: Recruitment marketing teams can leverage well-being initiatives in advertising calls-to-action, for example, by offering application perks such as a 1-month meditation app subscription or free access to a recorded workplace yoga class.

well-being in the workplace


2. Educate Recruitment Teams

An Amwell survey found that over half of employees didn’t know if their company offered mental health benefits. Organizations should ensure recruiters aren’t in that group by educating them about all the mental health and wellness support available to employees. It’s also critical to ensure recruiters understand the many types of mental health issues that could arise in interviews, how to discuss them, and how to make candidates aware of what the organization does to support employees struggling with their mental health.


3. Integrate Well-being Assessments into the Interview Process

During interviews, recruitment professionals have an excellent opportunity to assess whether candidates’ skills, mindset, and experiences align with the organization’s commitment to employee health and well-being. For example, recruiters can ask behavioral questions that cover candidates’ approach to stressful situations, how they achieve work-life balance, and their level of openness to using available company resources for help. These questions also provide an opportunity to educate candidates about company benefits that support employees and their mental health.

Having messaging that demonstrates an understanding of the challenges high performers face and encourages employees to seek assistance while offering tools and resources is crucial. Creating a culture that prioritizes employees' mental health without judgment is essential.

Tip: Regular, transparent communication requires keeping candidates engaged during the interview and assessment process. Organizations can captivate candidate interest by incorporating reminders about employee wellness offerings and other benefits in candidate engagement communications.


4. Gain Leadership Support

Well-being initiatives require the support of senior leaders to be successful in the long term, and mindful hiring is no exception. When everyone acknowledges the importance of employee well-being, they’ll also be more likely to talk about it as an essential component of the employee experience. For example, hiring managers and other interviewers can work with their recruitment partners to educate candidates about the organization’s employee well-being efforts from the first interaction and throughout the hiring process.

Tip: Leadership should “lead by example” and start conversations about the company's well-being support. 

well-being and the employee experience


5. Enhance Onboarding Programs to Include Mental Health Support

Moving through the hiring process, accepting the job offer, and eventually starting as a new employee can be stressful. Organizations can help new hires manage their stress by ensuring they understand where to go for well-being support and all the benefits available beginning on day one. Examples include:

  • Mental health insurance coverage 
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) access
  • On-site and virtual counseling benefits
  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Mindfulness programs and app subscriptions


6. Prioritize Mental Health and Well-being Throughout the Employee Experience

Employees share their work experiences with their friends, professional contacts, and social media networks. Therefore, organizations must ensure their employer branding messaging and other recruitment communications align with day-to-day employee experiences. The easiest way to accomplish this is by offering a robust employee well-being program and educating employees about available benefits and resources. When employees are aware of the many ways the organization supports their mental health, and those benefits are easily accessible, employees will be more likely to utilize them and share their experiences with others.

Employee well-being programs aren’t just beneficial to recruitment. They also support higher employee productivity and retention. Consider these findings: 

  • In a 2023 One Medical study, 64% of employees said they struggled with mental health issues, and of those, nearly all (91%) said it made them less productive. However, by providing employees with benefits and other mental health resources, organizations can help employees manage their stress, avoid burnout, and remain productive.
  • Employees who feel their employer supports their mental well-being are less likely to leave than employees who don’t feel supported. One study found that 83% of employees who were satisfied with their company’s mental health support also reported no desire to resign.


Improve Overall Recruitment with Mindful Hiring

Since employees continue to need mental health support at work and candidates expect it as part of the employee value proposition, organizations should consider mental health in every aspect of the candidate and employee experience. By offering a comprehensive health and well-being program and promoting it across all recruitment and talent management channels, organizations can demonstrate their continuing care for employee mental health.

The team at Recruitics is here to help you build a recruitment program that incorporates mindful hiring principles. Recruitics’ recruitment marketing and candidate engagement solutions help organizations attract quality applicants and build a reputation as a great place to work. 

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