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2 min read

One in three firms 'wellbeing-washing'

One in three firms 'wellbeing-washing'

The wellbeing gap

Overall, we found that 71% of organisations take part in mental health awareness initiatives, despite just over a third (36%) offering ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ mental health benefits to employees, according to their staff. 

More than one million Twitter posts were shared this year using the #WorldMentalHealthDay hashtag on October 10. Meanwhile 21% of workers saying their employer showed support of the awareness day on at least one social media platform.

At the very least, businesses accused of ‘wellbeing-washing’ could prompt an eye-roll.  At worst they could be labelled as hypocritical or of ‘virtue signalling’ as well as running the risk of damaging relationships with staff.  

Stress at work

We know mental health issues occur in - and affect - our work. More than two in three (67%) employees are experiencing moderate to high levels of stress at work, according to the CIPD’s latest Health and Wellbeing at Work survey. And over a quarter (28%) have seen their productivity negatively impacted because of stress within the last two years. 

Money worries are the top causes of stress, according to our Financial Wellbeing report, with employees twice as likely to be anxious about their finances compared to their health.

And as the cost-of-living crisis continues, these numbers will only get worse. Specific financial wellbeing support can be offered to employees to help them increase their financial confidence. Claro research shows one in two junior-level workers worry about their personal finances, but only 22% of people said their employer provided some sort of financial coaching.

Everyone would agree raising awareness of mental health challenges is important and helps create an environment where everyone feels comfortable speaking about their own. But along with tweets, raffles and coffee mornings, organisations need to also provide accessible and diverse support to their staff to make any improvement on their wellbeing. 

Top tips for avoiding 'wellbeing-washing'

  • Don’t just talk about wellbeing - make meaningful changes to support your staff.
  • Wellbeing is not one-size-fits-all. Speak to your staff or do an audit to understand their needs. It may be that you need to introduce a range of tailored options that could include digital services, apps and one-on-one coaching. Our research shows the most popular type of wellbeing support provided to employees was access to a helpline, the opportunity to see a counsellor and trained mental health first-aiders. This isn’t about spending the most money - but creating a diverse range of meaningful benefits to reflect your workforce. 
  • Identify KPIs that you can track, measure and report on. These could include absence and productivity rates as well as staff morale. When the numbers change, ask yourself if anything else internal or external could have impacted them.
  • Work on creating a culture of wellbeing. This involves coming up with an authentic, long-term strategy that can be explained to staff and implemented across the board, from new graduates to the CEO.
  • Be clear with your employees on what you want to achieve with supporting their wellbeing and be honest that it may take time.