Our general awareness of mental health and well-being is definitely on the increase and I find more and more people are happy to share their own struggles to their friends, family and perhaps even work colleagues. A latest whitepaper by Aon, on well-being in the workplace, states that 95% of employers see a correlation between employee health and their performance, however, only 50% have actually implemented any kind of workplace well-being programme!!  And some of these implemented well-being plans are not very proactive and just involve offering private healthcare etc... In essence I believe a lot of it is around employer branding to entice great candidates instead of businesses having a genuine interest in the mental health and well-being of their employees. Some may call it a "tick box" exercise.

So how do we turn the 95% awareness into proactive, meaningful strategies that prevent poor well-being as opposed to tactics that kick in when an employee gets ill? Aon's whitepapre suggests that part of the struggle is getting employees to engage in these programmes and that we should be striving to achieve a employer / employee collaborative partnership. It needs to be a dynamic and innovative partnership that studies key health and well-being data to develop effective strategies. Perhaps it even needs a stronger education campaign from employers on what positive well-being looks like and how it can be achieved. There were 2 statistics in the whitepaper that frightened me. Firstly that 50% of those born after 1960 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer and secondly that not exercising 20 minutes every day is the equivalent to smoking!! Both are related to lifestyle and surely something that a collaborative partnership could do something about?

All in all, creating well-being programmes that prevent illness is surely a positive strategy for everyone.

It is an exciting area that we at Collingwood are passionate about and look forward to helping organisations impact positively on their employees.