Creating a Mental Health + Wellbeing Strategy

Episode 13 – Walk The Talk Shorts (1/3)

In the first of our Walk The Talk Shorts series co-founder Sarah Mayo shares insight and ideas to help you get started with your wellbeing strategy and planning for 2023.

The 3 points she talks through include:

  • Why have a mental health + wellbeing strategy in the first place
  • What constitutes a mental health + wellbeing strategy
  • And how to go on and create a mental health + wellbeing strategy, with impact.

Watch here or read the full transcript below.

Why have a mental health + wellbeing strategy?

Simply speaking, mental health and wellbeing underpins how we think, feel and behave as individuals and is therefore central to how we perform as individuals, as a team and as a business.

It’s thought by the experts that psychological safety is the foundational ingredient of a high performance workplace culture.

And we believe a culture of psychological safety around mental health and wellbeing… enables people to feel comfortable being themselves and are better able to then thrive – thinking, feeling and behaving in a way that fulfils their potential. 

So, think about what problems you’re facing as a business – attracting new talent, retaining talent, employee burnout, employees struggling to find balance and create boundaries, employees overworked, employee engagement, motivation, morale, presenteeism, absenteeism, business transformation projects, change management, performance. Whatever is going on for you as a business… mental health and wellbeing – is central to these issues.

So, not only is it a duty of care to your people to have a mental health and wellbeing strategy, it makes business sense. A thriving workforce equates to a thriving organisation.

OK… so perhaps, as an organisation, you have now justified the benefits of having a mental health wellbeing strategy, and you’re thinking about next steps.

So let me move on to the 2nd point I want to cover off in this session…

What is a mental health and wellbeing strategy?

Now there is not one single definition for a mental health and wellbeing strategy… just as wellbeing looks different, person to person, this is going to be different, organisation to organisation. This needs to be aligned to your business objectives, values and vision as an organisation.

When a wellbeing strategy ladders up to the business strategy – it’s more likely to become a part of the culture – something that is believed and practised from the top down and bottom up.

One definition for a mental health and wellbeing strategy might be: a commitment and culture of support that puts the mental, emotional and physical health of your people at the heart of your business strategy and focuses on empowering your people to reach their full potential at work.

A great starting point when it comes to thinking about your strategy is to define what mental health and wellbeing means to your organisation and then to communicate it to your people. 

This leads nicely on to the third and final point that I’d like to address today.

How to deliver a mental health and wellbeing strategy with impact…

And the impact point is critical – so that your investment – time, energy and budget is justified and your people actually feel the benefit of the investment. 

Our experience and insight shows that culture change around workplace mental health requires both a top down and bottom up approach to succeed. 

It starts with leaders and managers leading by example and modelling the right behaviours, and then it’s up to individuals to take personal responsibility for the good coping strategies that they put in place to cope with the inevitable stresses of life. 

Beyond that, individuals need to know they have the time, permission and resources to help educate them and to help inspire the best behaviours.

When we partner with organisations to help them define their strategy, we follow a 3 step framework. This can be scaled up and down, depending on your organisational requirements and how much of this process has already taken place.

STEP ONE  – is the Listening and Learning phase

The first step is to understand what’s currently in place within your organisation (in terms of interventions, policies, programmes and resources) and what your people want and need from a wellbeing perspective. 

This discovery phase typically involves a wellbeing survey that your employees fill in and some more in depth interviews with a cross section of the organisation. Even the act of asking people how they are feeling and what they think of the current support that they have in place is powerful… provided it is followed up of course and fed back with a plan.

I find this process so fascinating because wellbeing – as I’ve said – means different things to different people. We all have different challenges in our lives – in and out of work and the two are not mutually exclusive. 

Depending on so many factors – not limited to stage of life, gender, race, health, how we identify – there will be different priorities, pressures and considerations that employers and managers need to be aware of and need to have confidence in supporting within their organisation and team.

And we often discover in this process that there are valuable resources that are available to employees that they are simply not aware of. So, it could be that a communications strategy is what actually needs to be implemented.

STEP TWO  – is all about turning gaps and priorities into a policy and programme

In this phase we look at the data, the organisational challenges and themes and gaps that employees have identified and make recommendations for how to turn that into a policy and programme of wellbeing support that meets the needs and addresses the gaps in order of priority. 

We have worked with hundreds of organisations – of all different sizes and from multiple sectors – over the last 4 years, so we have a plethora of insight and ideas of what works and what doesn’t work – to help other organisations get the best impact for their investment, based on the needs and gaps identified in the discovery phase.

And the final step – STEP THREE – is the delivering and measuring phase…

…which informs the ongoing process of implementing a mental health and wellbeing strategy. 

It is a cycle that needs to evolve and adapt as the needs of the organisation and its people evolve and adapt.

The final step is to deliver an ongoing programme of support addressing the needs of the employees and the organisation, knowing that everyone has a role to play, starting with the leaders leading by example and the managers modelling the desired behaviours. 

For maximum impact, this programme is best supported by a consistent drumbeat of communications to help embed the programme. And this takes time, consistency and relevance. Does the programme meet my needs as an employee?

As I say, step three leads back to step one… it’s important to keep listening and learning to see what’s landing and what’s not… and so the 3 step process begins again.

So, that brings me to the end of how we partner with organisations to help them define and deliver on their mental health and wellbeing strategy.

If you think that you could benefit from working with POINT3 on your journey – from insight and ideas that inform your wellbeing strategy, through to the implementation and on-going measurement and communication of a wellbeing plan and programme – then please do reach out to one of the founders. We’d be delighted to support you and to chat through your business challenges and opportunities.