More than a third (35%) of businesses are ‘wellbeing-washing’ according to a new study, sharing social media posts, holding charity fundraising events and sponsored sports activities in recognition of mental health without providing adequate support to improve employee wellbeing.
Seven in 10 (71%) workplaces celebrate mental health awareness days or weeks, despite just a third (36%) of organisations’ mental health support being deemed ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by their employees, highlighting a significant ‘wellbeing gap’.*
More than one million Twitter posts were shared this year using the #WorldMentalHealthDay hashtag, with 21% of employees saying their employer endorsed the awareness day on at least one social media platform.
Beyond social media posts, one in six (15%) businesses helped raise awareness of mental health with a bake sale or coffee morning, and a similar number (13%) held a sports event, such as a walk, run or cycle. A tenth (11%) of businesses welcomed a guest speaker or industry expert to talk to their workforce about their own experiences and how to improve their own wellbeing.
Stacey Lowman, Head of Employee Wellbeing at Claro Wellbeing, commented: “While it’s vital to raise awareness of mental health conditions and create an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their experiences, companies must provide accessible support to their workforce to make any improvement on wellbeing.
“A wellbeing strategy should be implemented by the whole company, which includes human resources working alongside the marketing team and other departments of the business that might want to raise the profile of an awareness day among their workforce. This way, awareness is raised while providing support that is genuinely going to make a difference to employees’ welfare.”
Of the businesses that offer support, the most popular type of wellbeing support provided to employees was access to a helpline, which, encouragingly, almost half (49%) of businesses offered. Some 44% of firms also provided the opportunity to see a counsellor. More than a third (38%) of employees also said their employer now had trained mental health first-aiders.
Stacey continued: “Mental health can be impacted by many factors, so offering different types of support to your workforce means there is something to support everyone. As the cost-of-living crisis continues, a growing number of people also have money worries, and specific financial wellbeing support can be offered to employees to help them increase their financial confidence. Research shows one in two junior-level workers worry about their personal finances, but only 22% of people said their employer provided some sort of financial coaching.”