There is always a danger of employers who want to be seen doing the right thing merely paying lip-service to current trends.
We’ve for long suffered ‘green-washing’, and for the last couple of years we’ve also been experiencing plenty of “wellness-washing” or “wellbeing-washing”, extensive public displays of concern about wellbeing which simply don’t tally with the support actually offered.
This has become a particular problem within the area of mental health. According to research results published last October by financial wellbeing platform Claro Wellbeing, 35% of businesses are wellbeing-washing by sharing social media posts and holding events to raise awareness of mental health conditions without actually offering employees much with which they can improve their wellbeing.
Overall, it found that 71% of organisations take part in mental health awareness initiatives, despite only 36% offering mental health benefits considered by their employees to be ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.
With Mental Health Awareness Week, starting on May 15th, just around the corner, this should be a mistake employers resolve not to make.
Indeed, avoiding wellness-washing in all areas should be a high priority because it is one of the biggest false-economies any company can make.
If employees discover their employer is all talk and no action it can have a highly detrimental effect on morale, which in turn can hinder productivity. These are some of the very areas in which the introduction of a wellbeing programme was supposed to help!
Wellness-washing is often unintentional. An employer can easily get carried away with trying to convey the right image to boost recruitment and retention without checking that it has been putting its money where its mouth is. So, it’s important to ascertain that different departments are communicating with each other effectively.
The surest way of avoiding wellness-washing, however, is to ensure that you actually have a robust wellbeing strategy, encompassing mental, physical and financial wellbeing. This way you will never be guilty of over-promising.
Chase de Vere can certainly help you here, and also with effectively communicating the strategy to the workforce, which is another very important consideration.
Even with the smallest of firms, employees should at least be receiving reminders of what’s in their benefits package and of relevant charitable events.
Additionally, remember that wellbeing is a very fast-moving world, with new products and services becoming available all the time. So, the strategy needs to be reviewed regularly – at least once a year and possibly even more often.
We are up to date with all developments in the market and can ensure that your wellbeing strategy is constantly the most appropriate for your particular organisation.
There is no one-size-fits-all model, as much depends on an employer’s line of business, objectives and budget, and on the location, age and demographic make-up of the workforce. We will pay due attention to all these criteria and more, whether it be evaluating an existing strategy or coming up with a new one from scratch.
We can consider switching to product providers like Vitality and YuLife that go the extra mile with wellness, providing significant incentives for employees to look after their health and wellbeing. Although in many cases the plethora of added-value features already available within existing employee benefits packages may well be sufficient.
Medical insurance and group risk schemes now commonly include benefits such as virtual GP services, online physiotherapy, mental health support and employee assistance programmes (EAPs).
But, once again, communication is key, because some employees simply aren’t aware they have access to them. We can help ensure they know what’s available, and also highlight relevant free services such as the StepChange Debt Charity and government financial advice services.
Where similar added-value benefits are available on different schemes, which frequently happens nowadays, we can advise on which is most appropriate. This can be particularly useful in the case of EAPs, where the ranges and quality of services available can differ markedly.
If you would like to learn more about how Chase de Vere can assist you with devising a robust wellness strategy or with any other aspect of health and wellbeing, then please don’t hesitate to contact us.
The contents of this article are for information purposes only and do not constitute individual advice.