Mad World Preview: Insight and Inspiration for Large and Smaller Employers


As well as case studies from large and established organisations, growing SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) will share at the Mad World Summit 2019 their experiences of the dos and don’ts of implementing effective mental health and wellbeing strategies that can scale.

Case studies from travel company Secret Escapes, national water retailer Wave Utilities and supplier of products to help dementia suffers Shift8*, will feature in the “SMEs Stepping Up” track at the conference on Wednesday 9 October.

Claire Farrow, Conference Director and Head of Content for the Mad World Summit said: “Insights from these case studies are as relevant for large employers as they are for smaller and medium sized organisations. In many cases they are dealing with the same challenges: how to attract and retain talent; how to tackle presenteeism and increase engagement; how to minimise disruption through a period of intense change”.

What unites the three case studies from Secret Escapes, Wave Utilities and Shift8* is their recognition that their staff underpin the organisation’s ability to thrive and grow.

Farrow said: “What really impresses me is how these case studies prioritise mental health and workplace culture. Working with tight budgets, they have had to be very creative in their approaches. But this hasn’t stopped them from devising holistic and personalised strategies that support physical, financial and emotional wellbeing”.

Examples of creative and cost-effective strategies include: Wave’s identification, through a broker, of a group income protection policy which comes with an occupational health service. Amongst a suite of offerings, Secret Escapes provides emotional intelligence training for leaders that organically support wellbeing. Ahead of the curve, Shift8* recognised from the outset that they would need to build support of their contractors, as well as their employees, into their strategy.

Rewards of these strategies are clear, not just on a personal level but also when it comes to looking at the business’ bottom line.

Shift8* believe that by prioritising the mental health and wellbeing of their staff, they have completely eradicated presenteeism. They are looking at an impressive return on investment of 250:1. Meanwhile, during a period of intense change, when two organisations were integrated to form a joint venture, Wave Utilities’ attendance rates have only once dropped below 97%.

Chloe Palmer, HR and Operations Director, Secret Escapes, Jane Austin, HR Director, Wave Utilities and John Ramsay, CEO, Shift8* will also be joined by Aimee Cain. Cain will explain how Thames Water is cementing relationships with suppliers – including SMEs – by helping them to prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of employees.

The Mad World Summit will take place on Wednesday 9 October 2019 at 133 Houndsditch in Central London.

For more information or to register for the show…

About the Author

Claire Farrow is the Global Director of Content and Programming for the Mad World and Make a Difference Summits. She also drives the content for Mad World News. Claire is on a mission to help every employer – large, medium and small – get the insight, inspiration and contacts they need to make real impact on workplace culture, mental health and wellbeing in their organisation. She has been freelance for more than 15 years. During that time, she has had the honour of working with many leading publishers, including the New York Times.

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