“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one most adaptable to change”. That Darwin quote appeared in a presentation at Workforce Wellbeing LIVE, and it beautifully articulates the importance of the day. It chimed with the overarching message, that employers who build a strong employee mental health proposition will thrive amidst The Great Re-evaluation. And the reverse will also be true.
In my keynote I suggested we’ll see the rarest of birds, a race to the top. As mental health stigma recedes, and transparency increases on how effective employers are at supporting mental health, there’s a flourishing business case for supporting employees holistically. A staggering 65% of the young people who left a job in 2021 attributed their decision to mental health – that’s a lot of talent looking for a different kind of employer and an indication of what this generation are seeing as fundamental to their working lives. For professional services firms, where the assets all have legs, this is now a long-term survival issue.
How did the event message land?
The event was a collaboration between Betterspace and LSX, the leading event organiser for the life sciences. We wanted to share our belief that work should give more to mental health than it takes. Over half the adult population is in employment. If that simple concept were to become the norm, it points to how we can tackle the mental health crisis. And that challenge lies at the heart of the future for all of us.
Laying bare one’s thinking to an audience of 200 of the leading minds in employee wellbeing was always going to be worthwhile. At worst it would be rejected, and we’d learn from it. At best, people would collect with it and a movement would be born. On the day, it felt like the latter. We were inspired by the groundswell of agreement, reflected in the stream of social media posts from the event. Our slide saying that chicken farmers spend more on their bird’s wellbeing topped the retweets. A sobering thought perhaps?
What were the take-aways?
1. There’s a real thirst for collaboration. Throughout the day the attendees were saying how exciting it was to be sharing what is – and isn’t – working. Whether it’s because we’d all been in lock down for too long or because the experience level of the delegates was high, people wanted to talk. A group of law firm representatives decided to meet up monthly to share knowledge, which testifies to the desire to collaborate even within highly competitive sectors.
2. Personalisation is key. “One size doesn’t fit all” were the most repeated words throughout the day, recognising that everyone has different needs and preferences when it comes to wellbeing. Linklaters and Accenture made this point emphatically when they talked about the benefits of providing employees with choice through Betterspace, and the 70% engagement they’ve achieved. We need to provide a full menu of tailored choices to each employee if we’re to genuinely help each person build mentally healthy behaviours.
3. Culture is critical. We heard so many illustrations of the importance of building a wellbeing culture. That means creating psychological safety, where employees can share their mental health challenges and feel that they’ll be supported instead of penalised. Empowering employees with permission to look after their mental health, including during working hours. However, not putting all the responsibility onto overworked managers, and making it everyone’s responsibility, was a recurring theme.
Where do we go from here?
Workforce Wellbeing LIVE was the beginning. We’ll all be back for a bigger event in 2023, but the question is how we can work together as a community in the interim. Based on what we heard at the event and what our clients are telling us, we see three streams to collectively develop:
1. Facilitate knowledge sharing within sectors. Whilst individual employers are competing for talent, the same is also true of sectors. The average employee happiness scores for the top 4 telecom companies is 47/100, compared to 61 for the Big 4 accountancy firms. There’s an incentive for companies to keep talent in their sectors.
2. Help to reach into the c-suite. HR and wellbeing teams are far more in tune with the need to make mental health a core part of the employee proposition than CEOs and other members of the C-suite. One attendee said they’d love us to organise a CEO dinner so their CEO could hear from their peers on why they are adapting to the new paradigm. We’ll explore that.
3. Help with business cases. Whilst some felt that their business will pursue this agenda because is it obviously the right thing to do, most are working on building robust business cases. Especially when it comes to giving personal budgets. With the ROIs coming from many areas – such as hiring, retention, productivity, sickness and insurance costs – we need to get sophisticated in how we present. We want to work with you to develop robust frameworks.
Whilst we turn our thinking to the event in 2023, we’d love to hear from you if you want to be involved. Please email Abbie on firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, We’d love to talk – just drop us a line here and we’ll be in touch.
Our thanks goes to LSX, our partner, who produced such a high quality event – we loved working with you and look forward to more. And the many sponsors who helped make it viable, and contributed so much insight. Most of all, our thanks goes to the 200 people who shared, listened and collaborated. This is just the beginning.
BetterSpace is the employee wellbeing platform putting control where it belongs: in the hands of the individual employee. Our groundbreaking solution has been developed with medical and domain expertise and is aligned to our Six Pillars of Wellbeing. BetterSpace empowers your workforce to understand and fulfill their mental health needs.
This approach has achieved engagement rates of 94%, compared to the average usage rate of 2-18% for Employee Assistance Programmes and 10-40% for points solutions.
Want to know more? Schedule a product demonstration with us today.
Workplace wellbeing insights
Do you have a good grasp of how poor psychological safety at work can impact your employees? Would you know the best…
If there is one thing I learnt during the first lockdown and that stayed with me to this day, is that I…
You’d be hard pressed to find two topics more prevalent in the working world today than flexibility and wellbeing. So much so,…