Strategic thinking about mental health and wellbeing

Richard Martin




Mental health and wellbeing is on the Board agenda. It may have taken something as dramatic as a global pandemic and its destructive impact on our collective mental health to put it there, but it is there nonetheless. The question organisations need to be asking is what do we do with this opportunity, and how do we keep it there. 

Boards generally want some strategic thinking and, if they are being asked for budget in that new financial year peering round the corner of Easter, they generally want some analysis of its likely impact. Thankfully some of that work has already been done. The 2020 Deloitte mental health and employers report (here) found that, on average, employers get a return of £5 for every £1 invested on mental health initiatives, with the higher returns tending to be when interventions offer a large scale culture change, or organisation-wide initiatives that support large numbers of employees (£6 return for every £1 invested). It also found the most effective interventions tend to focus on prevention or are designed to build employee resilience.

So where to start? There are any number of ideas and initiatives out there to spend some cash on, but before you reach for the latest solution, perhaps a useful exercise would be to find out where your organisation is in terms of mental health and wellbeing, what is going well and what are the needs. How are your people? And if there are issues, what might be causing them? Armed with some sense of where you are, you can think about where you want to get to and then work out a route from one to the other, that also aligns with your values and which has the support of the board. This should mean that precious budget is spent on meaningful activity whose impact can be reliably assessed.

Are you taking a more strategic approach to mental health and wellbeing?
We would love it if you could take one minute to fill in this really short anonymous survey to tell us about where your organisation is at – we promise to share the results once there are in.

Take the survey here

And if you are interested in talking about this, please do get in touch. We’ve been a trusted advisor to many organisations on wellbeing and resilience since 2014. We can help you cut through the noise and identify what will make a meaningful and lasting difference in your organisation. You can learn more about the benefits of having a wellbeing strategy and how we can help you achieve one here.

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