The ROI of employee wellbeing with Dave Algeo | S1 E2

First published: 16 June, 2020

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Series 1
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The ROI of employee wellbeing with Dave Algeo | S1 E2

The future of employee wellbeing is a leadership mindset

In this episode, The Big Picture People’s Craig Smith talks to Dave Algeo, stress speaker and trainer, men’s burnout coach and a success-through-wellbeing coach. Dave talks about his approach to wellbeing, and the potential changes coming that are likely to shape organisational approach. The discussion includes an examination of the ROI of a wellbeing strategy, the part that managers play in ensuring the wellbeing of employees, and why data and statistics could be the key to developing leadership mindsets toward healthier wellbeing strategy.

Wellbeing should never be a box-ticking exercise

While attitudes toward mental health are changing, too many companies have wellbeing practices that are undertaken as a box-ticking exercise for legal and compliance reasons. This approach does little to get past the damaging idea that stress affects ‘other’ people.

As a former police officer, Dave Algeo says the crux of his business started with him asking, “How can I just get the barriers down of the individuals I’m speaking to?

As we move forward, it’s likely that we will see wellbeing practices in the workplace enacted into law. But this doesn’t mean it will happen, nor does it mean it will happen for the right reasons.

While most of us (business owners and leaders and managers included) have a good moral compass, there is a lot of pressure on us to meet priorities and commitments. Dave asserts, “It’s about how can we shift into a logical, rational argument to then say, ‘Ah, that’s why it’s worth doing it. And it’ll help me with my priorities and challenges here’.” Win the mind to win the heart.

Found your wellbeing strategy on data and research

Good intentions can help to shape an organisation’s wellbeing strategy, but they don’t make it stick. We live in a world in which any one of us can struggle with mental health at any time. Things can (and do) go wrong. There is plenty of advice provided based on feeling and intuition.

Much of this advice is good advice, but as Dave says, “Let’s not build our policies, our strategies, our development and training on what I would say is the soft and fluffy stuff that isn’t proven.” Instead, using a data and research-driven approach will ensure that wellbeing strategies are built on a firm foundation.

With a defined ROI, wellbeing must move up the strategic agenda

Many studies show that employers are failing to see the link between employee wellbeing and productivity, despite there being significant evidence demonstrating this. A 2017 report published in Personnel Today shows that mental health is a huge cost to business. Yet from the source, we learn that employees are fearful of discussing their mental health issues with their employer.

Also in 2017, an independent review by Stevenson-Farmer, commissioned by the UK government, used analysis by Deloitte to demonstrate for the first time how investing in supporting mental health at work is good for business and productivity. It showed that those businesses with strategies to support employees through mental health initiatives would show a return of between £1.50 and £9 for every £1 invested.

Such real data really cements the value of embedding a mental health and wellbeing strategy into strategic business plans – it is the logical argument that shapes first the mind and then the heart of an organisation, its leaders, managers and employees toward positive attitudes in mental health strategy.

Managers are key

One of the reassuring things that happened during the COVID-19 pandemic was “to see how mental health and wellbeing, and particularly for people who are isolated and working away from their normal teams, has been immediately something that people have recognised as being something that needs to be dealt with.

However, moving forward, this impetus must not be lost. The ability of middle managers to engage in mental health issues will be key. Organisations should consider how to address the cultural issues surrounding being able to talk openly about mental health. Middle managers should become mental health champions, coached in dealing with mental health issues, catching someone who is struggling, and signposting them to the right support.

In a changing world, it is time to give wellbeing a strategic focus

The world of work is changing, and organisations recognise this. Many are seeing this change as an opportunity to build on what they were wanting to do but didn’t have the incentive to see through.

As Dave says, the same opportunities that now exist to create individualised work exist to give mental health and wellbeing strategic focus and ownership. It’s the right thing to do financially, legally, and morally.

Useful links

Dave’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidalgeo/

Dave’s website: https://www.stressedguru.com

A guide to alcohol addiction treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic

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