Mental health and emotional wellbeing are increasingly being recognised as important issues in the workplace, but are employers really doing enough to support employees? Or is the topic becoming more of a game of buzzword bingo with the danger of being quickly forgotten through tick box cultures?

A workshop, a wellness day or an emailed mental health document to tick the box that your employees are now part of a wellbeing programme to support them is not enough. It’s actually not anything!

Welcome to ‘tick box’ culture… an envi­ron­ment where people tick the box­es of what they think has to hap­pen but nev­er ask the rea­sons why things are being done, or ques­tion whether they are hav­ing an effect.

In today’s society of being seen to be doing things just because it is a ‘step’ in the system, tick box culture means there is too much emphasis on following rules instead of actually helping employees feel engaged and energised.

There continues to be a stubborn and unhelpful notion that a half hour talk on mental health is going to change any attitudes or behaviours in order to create healthier, more inclusive workplaces.

Too often I have seen this happen when companies try to deliver wellbeing programmes, and rather than have any positive impact, these types of tick box exercises create apathy and disengagement.

I have repeatedly been asked to deliver training in a lunch session to ‘help create wellbeing workplaces’. How can anyone be taking this seriously, or even understand the depths of the health challenges faced by employees in the office, if they think any change can happen through a half hour workshop?!

From tick box to our culture rocks!

Change requires lived experience expertise, real investment, time commitment and a strategy that has not been created by only those already at the top.

Employees should be encouraged to share ideas that foster wellbeing, psychological safety, and health for themselves and others. Whilst a top down commitment is essential, a peer-to-peer approach such as a wellbeing committee can be a powerful way to integrate meaningful strategies and be role modeled by all employees.

Simply offering a wellbeing programme does not mean employees will embrace it, though. This is about not letting the system or process become a proxy or substitute for generating actual results. It needs to be explained and shared repeatedly through a robust and accessible communication and engagement strategy. One that will cut out the buzzwords by being authentic, empathetic and honest.

Uncage how you Engage

To be effective we need a different approach moving away from tick box cultures to create companies that support wellbeing and engagement, allowing people to be comfortable bringing their true selves to work.

Healthy R Communications is here to support leaders and HR teams focus on the outcomes, the deliverables, the progress, the movement forward.

Now is the time for us all to work together to make a difference. Find out how we can support you build a Healthy R company, here

Thanks for reading. Be fearless. Be you!

Paul Marks
Paul has 18 years in talent strategy, culture creation and organisational health, working with businesses that invest in wellbeing of their people to build happy, healthy and purpose-led cultures. He is the Founder & CEO of Healthy Returns, working with founders and entrepreneurs to build their mental resilience, and the Co-Founder & Chief Wellbeing Officer of Healthy R Communications, an internal communications agency working with ambitious companies to create workplaces that allow their employees to be comfortable bringing their true selves to work. A TEDx speaker talking about mental and emotional resilience, Paul is active in the mental health community, and is most likely to be found moderating, speaking and sharing his knowledge at conferences, workshops and on podcasts.
Paul Marks, Founder l Healthy Returns