Why wellbeing is good for marketing

Why wellbeing is good for marketing

Please note this article was published in 2018. For up-to-date information on the coronavirus outbreak and how it's affecting marketers, check the Exchange homepage for the latest content.

If marketing is to be a force for good within organisations – as well as for customers – then one of its priorities must be to attend to the wellbeing of employees. Not only is this an ethically sound approach, it can help to retain and attract talent. What are leading brands are doing in this field, and how can marketers emulate this success in their own organisations?

Last year, Prince Harry shocked the world by revealing he’d spent 20 years battling mental health issues after the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. The admission couldn’t have been better timed, arriving in what has been dubbed ‘the year of mental health awareness’.

It was a year in which government pledges were made, placing more emphasis on mental health, and Harry joined forces with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to set up Heads Together, a charity that promotes good mental wellbeing.

Now, the concept of workplace wellbeing – where companies address an employee’s physical and mental health – is gaining traction in businesses large and small, with many marketers keen to incorporate this culture into their employer brand. But how are they doing it, and can workplace wellbeing really achieve tangible results?

Wellbeing as an aspect of employee brand 

Making wellbeing a core part of a company’s ‘sell’ to new employees – particularly the ever-more discerning millennial age group – is about much more than offering free fruit and gym memberships. Today’s employees are deeply wedded to caring cultures within companies that enable a person to be more well-rounded in the workplace, and thus successful and productive. But this isn’t just some hippy fad – and marketers from all sectors and all sizes of company need to take heed; long-term investment in employees’ wellbeing really does pay off. Insurer Direct Line Group has discovered this first-hand, after several years of investment in staff welfare.

The insurer’s ambition to incorporate mental and emotional wellbeing into performance management saw its new business rise to 31% growth in 2016 after previously suffering a 16% decline. It also won a gold prize at the IPA Effectiveness Awards in the same year.

According to the business, it has succeeded in building engaged and resilient teams by focusing 50% of a marketer’s performance on achievements and 50% on how these are achieved. Crucial to ensuring success, is making a chief marketing officer’s tenure longer, so they have time to see the bigger picture, rather than focusing on short-term goals, says Direct Line Group’s marketing director, Mark Evans.

Work with HR to promote wellbeing

Selling an employer’s brand to potential new employees can’t be done in isolation. Marketers need to work in tandem with HR departments to ensure a company’s vision, mission and core purpose really do align with its improved workplace wellbeing culture.

There are a number of ways this can be done, according to recruitment expert webrecruit. First, HR must communicate its goals clearly with the marketing department, so the two can work together to achieve them. However, it’s important to remember that a great employer brand can’t be built overnight; it takes a lot of work, consistency and open communication to achieve.

Second, webrecruit recommends working together to build an effective careers page/site to really showcase your employer brand. It houses all of your existing vacancies and acts as a destination where candidates can learn more about your company from an employment point of view.

Third, produce some great employee content to support your HR department’s goals. Last but not least, create a plan for shared social media ownership to promote your employer brand and share your latest vacancies.

How firms are prioritising mental health

Some well-known brands are already leading the ‘wellbeing way’ at work by extending their brand’s core purpose into their own workplaces. Others more traditionally known for their tough corporate culture – such as the banking sector – are making use of partnerships with experts to tackle mental wellbeing. Take Lloyds Banking Group, which has normalised discussions about mental health by partnering with charity Mental Health UK. It also ran its ‘me on a good day’ campaign during Mental Health Awareness Week, encouraging staff to share stories about their mental health and wellbeing. It generated more than 1,700 entries, which were viewed more than 17,000 times.

Meanwhile, healthcare group Bupa introduced a digital wellbeing platform, Bupa Boost, to encourage its teams to prioritise their physical and mental health. Meanwhile, health insurance brand Vitality – which exists to help people lead healthier lives – gives its employees access to a health calculator and created an incentive-led health and wellness programme, Active Rewards. It also gives staff 24-hour access to counselling, information and support services, including debt counsellors.

So, the advice for marketers is to be brave: follow Prince Harry’s example and wake up to the importance of wellbeing inside your company. Not only will this improve the likelihood of attracting top talent, but employees will be more engaged, helping you to maintain that all-important competitive edge. 

CIM members can access a range of support services, from career guidance to personal aid and mentoring. To find out more about becoming a member of CIM, click here.

Carina Bailey

CIM comment

"At CIM we have a number of initiatives to ensure our employees’ welfare is a priority for us as a business, as well as an important part of our culture. Flexibility in working styles and patterns, and promoting a good work-life balance, is a core component of our values.

We encourage employees to access our wellbeing platform, which offers advice ranging from stress management and financial or legal matters, to how to give up smoking, losing weight and exercise programmes. Our employees also have access to our 24-hour helpline and confidential one-on-one counselling service."

Sarah Lee-Boone, associate director of people and organisational development

"Employee welfare is a critical issue that cannot be ignored by individuals or businesses. Welfare initiatives must be driven from the top down and the product of a partnership between HR and marketing, to ensure that these messages are effectively communicated, and staff have a voice back in to management."

James Delves, head of PR and engagement


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