Introduce a wellbeing framework
Once we have a clear business and moral case, we must develop a framework for implementation, led by senior managers, with the support of key talent at all levels.
1. Train all managers and employees (just as we train employees on codes of business practice and safety) in enhancing workplace wellbeing. This should be obligatory and should:
• help to dispel the myth that depression, and other common conditions are weaknesses, and illustrate scientific evidence that these are illnesses
• aid employees in recognising symptoms in themselves and in others
• provide guidance on how to manage someone in a team who might become ill
• demonstrate how to reintegrate someone into work after illness – often a key component of their recovery; work is good for us and can be integral to the recovery of someone who has been ill.
2. Develop campaigns and language, in partnership with your communications function/ communications agency, that ‘sit well’ with your organisation. How we communicate is key to successful implementation of a wellbeing strategy.
3. Normalise mental illness by encouraging senior and influential people to share stories of their associations with conditions such as depression and anxiety. In my experience, this is the most powerful means of breaking the stigma and generating discussion.
4. Introduce mental hygiene techniques your employees can learn. Just as many employees have a personal coach or trainer in the gym, we should teach and encourage mental hygiene techniques.
5. Develop an intranet to which employees can turn for resources to help identify how they are feeling and where to get help.