Selecting Mental Health and Wellbeing Suppliers: The Dos and Don’ts

Recognising the unprecedented pressures of the pandemic,  the vast majority (94%) of employers have introduced measures to support employee wellbeing. This is according to research by recruitment firm Wade Macdonald and law firm Doyle Clayton.

But how many of these organisations are making informed choices about the measures they implement? Have they thought about whether their wellbeing initiatives really meet the needs of employees? Will they be fit for the future?

Digital supplier showcase

Perhaps you’ve been tasked with putting together a programme of wellbeing support from scratch. Or maybe your current strategy isn’t getting the traction you were hoping for. In either case, the MAD World 2020 Digital Showcase is a useful way to explore potential suppliers.

There are 18 companies featured in the showcase for you to compare. These represent a range of different offerings from digital wellbeing platforms, engagement tools and services that link nutrition with wellbeing to leadership training, risk reduction and services that help people get back into work.

Each supplier has a three minute video explaining their proposition to employers. You can view these free of charge on demand here.

Navigating the maze

If you need help working out how to assess suppliers and how to achieve maximum impact with your programme, insights from the session at this year’s MAD World Summit entitled “Futureproof strategies and navigate the supplier landscape” will also be useful.

This was Chaired by Niraj Shah. Niraj is co-founder of Mind:Unlocked and European Co-Chair for Silicon Valley’s Transformative Technology Lab. Niraj was joined by a panel of speakers:

  • Dr Stephanie Fitzgerald, Senior Business Partner – Mental Health, Rolls-Royce
  • Katherine Billingham-Mohamed, People & Transformation Lead, Ofcom (who was formerly People and Culture Lead for Wellbeing with Aviva)
  • Juilitta Sofat Barata, Culture, Engagement and Wellbeing Manager, Nationwide Building Society
  • Eugene Farrell, Mental Health Lead, AXA PPP Healthcare & Chairperson, EAPA UK

You can view the full session on demand at MADFlix – the video content library for all Make A Difference events. Here are my key takeaways from the session.

When you are assessing the current and future mental health and wellbeing needs of your organisation:

  • Get out and listen to what your employees need and be prepared to adjust your programme
  • Be obsessed with data. Pull from as many sources as you can and then start to look at trends and predictive analytics
  • Talk about the whole person; we can’t have mental wellbeing without physical, financial and social wellbeing
  • Think about a strategic approach to everything you are doing, how it links together and aligns with the people strategy
  • Look at the risks you are facing and how you will be able to manage these for the future
  • Take into account local medical and legal issues if you are working internationally
  • Focus on outcomes, with a clear idea of how you will measure these. This enables you to be agile and adapt to changing needs
  • Leverage employee resource groups and your network of wellbeing champions (if you have one)

When selecting an external supplier:

  • Check if your culture and values align
  • Find a supplier that’s open to piloting, testing and learning
  • Find out if the people who have created the solution have a credible background
  • Look at how the solution with show impact and ROI
  • Consider how the solution is continuing to evolve to stay relevant to people and ask what they are doing to take it into the future
  • Ask how the supplier manages risk. Do they have protocols?

When communicating your solution to colleagues:

  • You can’t over-communicate. Use every channel
  • Answer the question “what’s in it for me?” Talk about why the solution is relevant to employees and what it does – don’t just say what it is. Give examples that bring to life how the tools are helping people.
  • Link the solution to your business’ strategy and purpose to bring it to life
  • Don’t forget the impact of a poster on the back of the toilet door (assuming we go back to offices)
  • Your internal communications’ branding of your wellbeing programme can really help to ensure maximum uptake
  • Get a senior leader to talk about the benefits they are experiencing by using the solution
  • Leverage employee resource groups and your network of wellbeing champions (if you have one)

Future challenges you might want to prepare for

  • How solutions will help you take a preventative, proactive approach to supporting employee wellbeing
  • Whether your wellbeing offering can support your organisation during restructuring
  • Which aspects of inclusion to boost wellbeing are included in a solution, such as the ability to tailor and personalise to meet the unique needs of every employee
  • A solution’s capacity to be agile and meet evolving needs and forthcoming agendas
  • How a solution can be linked to improving the end-to-end employee experience through a wellbeing lens

For more insights, tune-in to this session and the rest of the MAD World Summit sessions at MADFlix.

You might also be interested in this quick guide to the MAD World Summit sessions on MADFlix:

Quick Guide to the MAD World Summit Sessions On Demand at MADFlix

This case study from Nationwide explains how they have communicated about the provision of their mental health support to colleagues:

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Get involved

Over the next 12 months we’ll be keeping this crucial conversation going with a series of webinars and virtual roundtable discussions addressing the key challenges that employers are facing – providing a platform for our global audience to discover new ideas, identify new solutions and find answers to business-critical issues. If you are interested in shaping or joining these discussions, please contact me at [email protected].


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