We are on the road to ensuring mental wellbeing is discussed continuously in the board room, and investment in mental wellbeing programmes will naturally increase seismically when the C suite automatically prioritises employee wellbeing, due to its potential to the bottom line, as it does robust financial governance as part of standard business strategy.
Smart companies, especially those in the tech sectors are already investing big, and whilst I’ve heard some stories over the last six months about leaders burying their heads in the sand at the very mention of the word ‘wellbeing’, more are recognising it is a P1 business imperative. I would however suggest the opportunities are still not being communicated and presented to the exec in a language that resonates, or is on a par with other critical activities that incidentally do get board attention and investment, year on year!
So I’m going to change tack a little and talk about mental wellbeing as a commercial opportunity for businesses, instead of my normal laser guided focus on the individual. If we market and sell the commercial opportunity of investing in mental wellbeing more strategically, mental wellbeing will get more attention, budget and priority, which will be good for employees and employees’ families, as well as the organisation.
There are three brands in business; investor, corporate and employer. So to speak commercially, let’s take a look at how an investment in mental wellbeing can generate tri-brand value.
Investors, especially those of quoted businesses expect to see companies investing in local and global community causes as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility. So great news, by investing some of their CSR dollars in mental employee and employee family wellbeing, businesses will not only achieve a CSR objective, they will support and develop their employees and maximise their productivity by impacting positively on absence and presenteeism. Outcome = investment!
Modern consumers of products and services want great value but more often these days they want to buy from organisations with a cause and purpose that resonates with them. There can genuinely be no better example of a cause and purpose than a human seeing a business invest in the wellbeing of other humans. In this case workers and the loved ones of those workers. Demonstrating this commitment authentically in corporate branding and marketing will drive sales and profits up. Outcome = investment!
Finally, attracting the very best people is proving more and more challenging as the world continues to globalise and keep up with technological and industry innovation. So once again, showing one cares about employees and their families completes the set and will be the difference in the attraction process when LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Twitter and Facebook serve up great and authentic stories about “how my company cares for me and my family”. What a way to close the deal in a candidate’s mind by describing how the company is ‘open’ and enables everyone to bring their whole selves to work. Outcome = investment
So I’ve mentioned family many times. When I held the ‘big job’ at g4s I had many conversations about appealing to the partner, as well as the talent, to attract the talent. It might not work for all but when you are asking someone to relocate themselves, and more importantly their lives, and commit fully to a role and organisation, demonstrating a commitment to the wellbeing and happiness of employees and their loved ones is going to go that extra mile!
Mental wellbeing is not just a trendy subject. It’s not just one of those HR things. It’s not a tick box exercise. It’s actually what makes humans tick and a huge business differentiator. A major investment in mental and physical wellbeing makes sense and drives demonstrable value, so make it a P1, or lose out to those that do!