MAKE A DIFFERENCE | workplace culture / mental health / wellbeing

Ten Most-Read Make A Difference Pages and Articles of 2021

Over the past year, at www.makeadifference.media we’ve highlighted some of the most progressive leaders and companies supporting employee wellbeing globally today. We’ve also recognised and offered solutions for some of the pressing wellbeing challenges workplaces are facing at this time of unprecedented change.

A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed and helped us with our mission to accelerate the shift from stigma to solutions – bringing more and more employers to the workplace mental health and wellbeing conversation.

Here are ten of www.makeadifference.media’s most-read pages and articles in 2021. It’s interesting to see key themes emerging: Recognition of the need to integrate mental health and wellbeing with DEI initiatives; Helping fatigued employees avoid burnout; Operationalising psychological safety; Training managers to make team member mental health a priority; Blending wellbeing with sustainability and CSR initiatives.

Also noteworthy that employers appear to be ready to find out more about some of the more traditionally taboo topics – such as self-harm. And bombarded from every side, they’re looking for help cutting through the noise and finding the right, simple, sustainable and measurable solutions that will get their CFO’s buy-in and make a real difference to their people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Above everything else though, employers clearly want to learn from the leaders – what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to implementing mental health and wellbeing initiatives. Something we’ve offered insight into through our awards, webinars and in-person events – the annual agenda-setting MAD World Summit and new, free to attend The Watercooler.

Which pages and articles have you found the most inspiring and useful and what topics would you like us to feature in 2022? Send me your ideas please to claire@makeadifference.events.

1. Make A Difference Awards

The most visited page on www.makeadifference.media is our Awards page. We launched the Make A Difference Awards in 2021 so that we could stop, think and thank the individuals and employers who have really made a difference to workplace mental health and wellbeing over the past year. Those who are leading the way, and inspiring others to follow their example.

Thanks to our inaugural co-sponsors (Royal Mail and Optima Health), it was quick, free and easy to make a nomination and the Make A Difference Awards virtual event was also free to attend. With 136 nominations and over 5000 votes, the awards were a resounding success.  We’ll be opening nominations to the Make A Difference Awards 2022 soon, with the winners announced on 15th June 2022 – International Make A Difference Day.

2. Webinars and podcasts

In 2021 we’ve been bowled over by the response to our Make A Difference webinars, which have attracted anywhere from 250 to 660 registrants – also making it number two in our most-visited pages. We’ve had great feedback from speakers and attendees with comments including:

  • This has been so utterly brilliant!
  • Thank you to all of the panel, and to Claire and the Make A Difference team
  • Really appreciate such a knowledgeable and senior experienced panel
  • This has been such a great session – not just repeats on ideas and thoughts but some truly valuable new thoughts emerging. Massive thank you to you all for this!
  • One of the best webinars… so real… thank you

We’ve got plenty planned for 2022 too. You can see what’s coming up and register here. Access recordings of previous webinars free here.

3. Self-harm in the Workplace

As the stigma that has traditionally surrounded talking about mental ill-health starts to ease, it feels like the time is right to tackle some of the more taboo aspects of the topic. Self-harm is one these.

In this article – which is one of our most-read articles month on month, Andrea Woodside explains what self-harm is, dispels myths, offers practical tips for those who find themselves in a situation where they need to help someone who is self-harming and wraps up with pointers towards useful contacts.

4. BITC Launches The Power of Nature for Employee Wellbeing Toolkit

The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week was “nature”. So, it made sense for Business in the Community (BITC) – The Prince of Wales’ Responsible Business Trust – to launch “The Power of Nature for Employee Wellbeing” toolkit. This is for employers who want to understand how to weave nature and work environment into their wellbeing programmes and includes several case studies from leading employers – reflecting a growing synergy between CSR, sustainability and wellbeing.

5. Workplace Wellbeing Made Simple – Top Tips From Professor Sir Cary Cooper

In this practical article, the Father of workplace wellbeing – Prof. Sir Cary Cooper – reflects on the new world of hybrid working, introduces an overarching vision for people and health strategies – and offers his ‘top tips’ for all practitioners with the passion to transform the experience of employees in their workplaces. My favourite quote from the piece is as true now as it was when it we published the article in August 2021:

“Times of rapid change require a heroic spirit, and a willingness to move confidently into unchartered territory, constantly reinventing our tactics as we go”.

6. How Google Is Training Its People Managers to Make Team Member Mental Health a Priority

Perhaps it’s because Google is a universally recognised employer. Or maybe because the training of people managers has become a top pandemic priority. Whatever the reason, this conversation with Google’s  Benefits Programme Manager is still month on month one of our most-read articles.

The piece shares insights into the progressive ways the global employer is approaching mental health training and support for people managers and explains how that’s shifted through the COVID-19 pandemic.

7. How Organisations Can Operationalise Psychological Safety

Three of our top 20 most-read articles in 2021 focused on psychological safety. In this podcast, coach and anthropologist Catherine de la Poer interviews author of the seminal psychological safety book “The Fearless Organization” and Harvard Professor Amy Edmondson. Jonathan Gawthrop, EMCOR Group UK’s Executive Director, Wellbeing, Sustainability & Assurance also joins the conversation.

They share thoughts around the risks and opportunities presented by psychological safety, how to get your CEO on board and steps you’ll need to take to bring psychological safety to life in your organisation. The piece also includes links to other articles related to psychological safety that we’ve published in 2021.

8. Three Ways You Should Be Thinking About Mental Health and DEI In Your Workplace

Across 2021 the worldwide conversation on race, mental health and DEI have become central topics in the discourse around the future of work. In this concise article, Nina Tomaro outlines key insights and practical takeaways from a panel addressing the intersection of mental health, DEI, and considerations for inclusive workplaces. Like the Google article at number six, even though we published the piece in 2020, it remains month on month one of our most-read articles.

9. CFO Briefing: Mental Health on your Balance Sheet – Is it an Asset or a Liability?

We’ve also collaborated on a number of greenpapers in 2021 and this paper – summarising the key insights that emerged from the CFO roundtable attended by the paper’s author, Sanjay Jawa, CFO of Kooth plc – made it into our most-visited pages.
The roundtable of finance leaders – from a range of organisations – was co-hosted in March 2021 by Make A Difference Media and Generation CFO against a backdrop of disturbing statistics from the World Health Organisation that depression, anxiety and loneliness have increased during the pandemic.

10.  Five Ways To Help Fatigued Employees Avoid Burnout

Rounding off our top 10, a topic that many can relate to. Living through uncertainty and constant disruption has taken a toll on employees, with themes of lack of self-care, having to work over capacity and burnout emerging. In this popular article, Louise Abbs outlines five practical ways any employer can prevent already fatigued employees from developing burnout.

Hopefully you’ve all had a chance to step back and recharge over the festive period and are feeling ready for all that 2022 holds in store for us. I wish you all well and would love to hear from you, so please send me your content ideas to claire@makeadifference.events.

About the author

Claire Farrow is the Global Director of Content and Programming for www.makeadifference.media the annual MAD World Summit and The Watercooler. She’s 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.