Brian Donnelly, VP, Health & Benefits Practice Leader and Ian Shea, CEO, I M Human.
Supporting mental and emotional well-being is one of the largest growing trends of our time. The market for mental and emotional well-being support, referred to as “Transformational Technology,” has estimates for consumer demand in the hundreds of billions.1
Google’s Head of Personal Growth and Founder of the “Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute” Chade-Meng Tang recently stated, “Within companies there is a growing awareness of the importance of employees “emotional itness”, mirroring the same journey of acceptance that physical fitness exercise took in the last century.”2
Yet mass adoption and understanding are not at the levels that reflect these trends. This is understandable when looking at the adoption curve of physical fitness after WWII and the adoption curve of nutritional fitness throughout the 80s and 90s. Personal growth and self-care practices take time to grab hold as initially people are fearful and skeptical of the benefits.
While employers recognize that well-being in the workplace is now more important than ever, considering well-being initiatives for your company can be overwhelming. There is ample research highlighting that while developing talent skills is important, developing well-being is increasingly being intertwined into the employee development offering. Research exists highlighting the growing recognition of the interrelationships between talent development and individual well-being in both the employer experience and overall workplace planning.3
The following framework around initiatives and engagement can be useful to small or large organizations interested in pursuing a well-being strategy.
- Guidance, Framing & Education. Consider working with an expert who has the ability to communicate a deep understanding of well-being: customizing it for your company; explaining why it is important and how best to deliver the message with relevant supporting content, research, expert input and societal trends in a manner that is real and relatable.
- Pacing. Adoption will take time. Initial focus should be on listening, educating and building awareness. Take time to understand what is right for your company’s culture; understand the needs and obstacles that exist and set a roll-out plan best suited for your environment.
- Creativity, Curation & Excitement. Bring in experts and thought leaders to help ground topics, curate group events, exercises and lectures based on specific needs and interest, package resources and information in a relevant way; and understand what stimulates excitement and triggers boredom.
- Needs Assessment, Data & Success Metrics. Perform needs assessment through surveys, one-on-one and group discussions highlighting where, how and in what ways mental and emotional well-being support is most useful. Set your goals and objectives and gather data (no matter how basic) as it will help build confidence and trust in the process.
- Champions & Early Adopters. Leadership and stakeholder buy-in will play a crucial role in de-stigmatizing initiatives and spur adoption. Who within your company has an established practice, a voice that people gravitate towards or a leadership position of influence? Empower them to lead, share their stories and be a part of the creative process.
- Keep Employees Engaged and Informed. Summarize data and findings and share them often. Continue to find creative ways to keep employees educated and informed and focus on creating a culture that values personal growth as more and more employees require that of their employers.
Building awareness and implementing well-being initiatives in your company is a process that takes time, but you’re not alone. Major sports teams, Fortune 500 companies, leading institutions and non-profits are all dedicating significant resources in the form of time and capital towards understanding and implementing these initiatives as the returns are significant. Price Waterhouse Coopers estimates that for every $1.00 spent on creating a mentally and emotionally healthy workplace, companies can recoup $2.30 in productivity.4
When you make well-being a priority, you can achieve a benefit and change in company culture that is readily available, improving the bottom line and more importantly the lives of your employees and their families throughout your organization. ●
This is the second article in a two part series on WellBeing in the workplace. Part one can be seen here.
I M Human works with organizations thinking through how to support the mental, emotional and spiritual well-being needs of their employees and gain a deeper understanding of this space and why it is important. Please contact Ian@i-m-human.com for more information.
1 Techcrunch – Science and technology will make mental and emotional wellbeing scalable, accessible, and cheap – Nichol Bradford – October 17, 2016
2The Guardian – Google’s head of mindfulness: ‘goodness is good for business’ – Jo Confino – May 14, 2014
3Deloitte University Press – Unlocking human potential – February 2017
4 Price Waterhouse Cooper – Creating a Mentally Healthy Workplace – May 2014