HR Tech Update: Digital tools to help improve mental health

HR TECHNOLOGY: Software solutions for workplace productivity often revolve around improving workflow or automating manual labour. However, one factor that is often neglected is employee happiness.

A happy team is more energised, more creative, and more likely to get work done. This, in turn, leads to increased work satisfaction and a reduction in turnover rates.


Many medical insurance plans today also include mental health, but companies can also take more proactive measures to prevent burnout and stress before it becomes debilitating.


Technology provides a unique opportunity to support mental health in the workplace in a scalable, cost-effective way. There are no replacements for mental health professionals or a deep dive into the company’s work culture, but there are tools, skills and resources that may help employees better cope with daily challenges.


Even within the array of digital mental health tools, different solutions support different functions. For example, Singaporean mental wellness startup Joye utilises artificial intelligence (AI) for its mental health services. Through a recent partnership with Microsoft Teams, users can add features such as Stress Busters, a two-minute breathing exercise that kicks in when Joye detects stress. There is also the Daily Brew, an AI-powered reflection tool that employees can use to express themselves.


Meanwhile Malaysia’s Naluri, founded by Azran Osman-Rani of Air Asia and iflix fame, offers in-app functions like thought journals and planners. It also connects users to a team of healthcare professionals to provide a holistic health package that covers both physical and mental health.


There are plenty of platforms on the market right now, from simple solutions to robust offerings, from homegrown solutions to internationally renowned brands. Selecting the right tool for a workplace can be daunting, so an important first step is to get a better idea of how the platform will resonate with employees. One way is to ask the provider for references from organisations with similar employee demographics.


Another important factor is engagement. There’s no point in implementing a tool if employees won’t use it. The design of the platform, perceived benefits of the platform, reminders and even the general feel of the platform all contribute to whether employees are more likely to utilise it.


The positioning and beliefs built around the product’s branding will also go a long way in determining whether employees will see its usefulness. Whether the platform offers a personalised experience, and how this in turn is used to support its users should also be looked at.


Finally, pick a partner, not just an app. Decision makers should not only look at the app’s functions, but other factors like its security measures, the credentials of the developers and advisors behind the platform, as well as pricing, service fees, support and metrics that measure success.



HR Tech Update, by Chief of Staff Asia's Technology Editor Ellia Pikri, appears every Thursday from 6:00am.


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