Mental health strategy was discussed yesterday at HR Grapevine’s Employee Rewards, Benefits and Wellbeing (ERBW) 2023 workshop. The workshop involved experts Dr Nick Taylor of Unmind, Kate Thomas of Wales & West Housing and Carrie Kebble of Thales Group.
The workshop was on measuring and multiplying the impact of mental health strategies. Across the 45 minutes, the panel discussed the significance of measuring mental health and wellbeing strategies across their organisations.
Mental well-being has recently been more of a concern for organisations, as they now see a relationship between well-being and productivity. Coping with mental illness can be difficult and significantly affect the performance of an employee. Organisations must have in place a mental health and well-being plan.
The Workshop on Mental Health Strategy
In the context of the “Workshop on Mental Health Strategy,” experts shared valuable insights on the critical role of measurement in promoting well-being and mental health in the workplace. Titled “Wellbeing by the numbers: Measuring and multiplying the impact of your mental health strategy,” this section highlights the key takeaways from the panel discussion.
Dr Nick Taylor, Unmind, emphasised that measurements are potent tools for breaking the stigma associated with mental health. When we can quantify the impact, it becomes easier to address and resolve. He also emphasised the direct connection between mental health and business success.
He urged for a data-driven approach to create precise mental health strategies and advocated for integrating mental health data into the core of business operations. His vision is for this data-driven approach to become standard practice, with a stronger focus on prevention.
Kate Thomas, Wales & West Housing, stressed the importance of a personalised approach to mental health measurement. Instead of relying on arbitrary metrics, she suggested asking, “What matters to you.” Data, in her view, acts as a guiding compass to identify areas that need attention.
She emphasised the significance of recognising the nuances of each employee’s experience and expressed a strong commitment to getting mental health initiatives right. At her company, data is not only collected but also shared with senior management to help them identify relevant themes. She hopes to see mental health appreciated as a proactive endeavour, with a greater emphasis on prevention and early warning signs.
Carrie Kebble, Thales Group, highlighted how data can help us understand employee behaviour and pinpoint the root causes of mental health challenges. She emphasised that data is the foundation for informed mental health strategies.
She also underscored the strong connection between psychological safety and team performance, indicating that addressing mental health can lead to tangible improvements in workplace dynamics. Her vision includes piecing together the various elements of mental health initiatives and giving business leaders ownership of these strategies.
At the end of the session, the audience raised the questions below.
- Question 1: How do you approach well-being when executives don’t recognise the issue?
Dr. Taylor: Find an executive champion who understands and advocates for well-being. Educate executives about its impact on business and KPIs.
- Question 2: How do you address diverse needs across different teams (e.g., legal vs. engineering)?
Kate Thomas: Use a personalised approach through managers. Encourage them to ask questions, be empathetic, and step out of their comfort zone. This reveals team-specific issues.
- Question 3: How do you deal with remote or differently working teams?
Carrie Kebble: Promote team connectivity. Teams should define their interaction goals, plan how to achieve them, and maintain effective communication, even in remote or diverse work settings.
Mental Health UK: Measuring and Developing Strategy
Measuring mental health strategies serves two practical functions. Firstly, it allows us to acknowledge achievements and mark milestones. Secondly, it acts as a tool for identifying areas in need of improvement and facilitating necessary adjustments. When crafting an effective mental health strategy for your organisation, a crucial step is evaluating its impact.
- Transparency and Accountability
Transparency and accountability are the fundamental principles that build the commitment to improving mental health at work. These principles call for a comprehensive approach, encompassing both internal and external reporting mechanisms. However, the main aspect of this commitment lies in measuring the strategy’s influence on employees’ mental well-being, an essential component of the overall strategy.
- Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index
An effective method for assessing your mental health strategy’s impact is engaging with Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index. Participating organisations embark on a process of self-discovery, gaining deep insights into their practices through staff surveys. Additionally, they receive practical recommendations for improvement.