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HR Acuity’s Seventh Annual Employee Relations Benchmark Study Reveals Impact of Mental Health Crisis on Organizations

HR Acuity, the leading human resources SaaS solution for employee relations case management and investigations, today released the results of its Seventh Annual Employee Relations Benchmark Study.

The study surveyed employee relations professionals at enterprise organizations in the United States with at least 1,000 employees. 190 organizations participated, representing a combined workforce of 6.3 million employees globally.

Moving beyond the pandemic and the groundswell of political and social justice activism of the past few years, 2022 ushered in fresh challenges for organizations, employees and employee relations professionals. Uncertainty about the economy, coupled with struggles to strike the right balance for hybrid return-to-work environments, have led to a new set of challenges for employee relations.

Key findings from the Study include:

The mental health crisis is having a significant impact in the workplace, with 67% of organizations reporting an increase in mental health issues. Mental health issues were also the most significant driver of employee-related issues and events. Employee relations teams are now triaging mental health issues, conducting threat assessments and evaluating security risks. The striking conclusion is that with deep insight into workplace culture, employee experience and well-being, employee relations plays a critical role in managing these issues. To effectively support employee mental health, organizations must commit to greater investments in training, investigation aftercare and additional employee relations resources.  

Tracking employee relations and investigations data is universal, but many organizations struggle to effectively leverage the data to inform business decisions. Nearly one in five organizations collects but does not use employee relations data and metrics. These organizations are missing the opportunity to both demonstrate to leadership the value of employee relations practices and to unlock additional resources and build greater trust.

Many employers still engage in employee relations practices that can undermine transparency and trust. Although some organizations have made efforts to improve employee experience and culture, this year’s study shows only 17% of organizations share investigation outcomes with employees, a rate of ten points below that in 2019. Fortune 100 respondents are leading the industry as 27% shared aggregated, anonymous investigation and employee relations data with employees in 2022.

“The results of our Seventh Annual Employee Relations Benchmark Study are a clear signal that Employee Relations has not only arrived as a full-fledged function, but it also faces a critical moment to grow in its leadership,” said Deb Muller, CEO of HR Acuity. “This year’s data provides a striking reminder that living through times of great change requires courageous leadership. While we have emerged on the other side of the pandemic, the impact on employees’ mental health is far-reaching. Simultaneously, as younger generations transform the demographics of our workforce, we are leading at a time when expectations for transparency and accountability are at the highest levels ever seen.”

Introduced in 2016, the Employee Relations Benchmark Study is the preeminent source for information from employee relations leaders at organizations with more than 1,000 employees from a wide range of industry sectors. The study has become the go-to resource for employee relations professionals to guide strategy, resource, and process decisions to improve the employee experience and drive better business outcomes.