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Why don’t company wellbeing initiatives stick? It’s time for radical change

Source |  Linkedin| By|Leena Nair 


Geoff McDonald was once Global VP of Human Resources with us here at Unilever. But after being diagnosed with anxiety-fuelled depression, he discovered a new purpose: ending the stigma of depression and anxiety in the workplace. He now works as a global advocate, campaigner and consultant.

Things have changed since Geoff was at Unilever. Every year we take more and more positive actions towards building a workplace that supports and nurtures mental health. I’ve talked before about the things we are doing at Unilever to put Mental Health at the forefront (“Why we take mental health seriously at Unilever“), including our Wellbeing app and the Unilever Employee Assistance programme which ensures all our employees are “1 Chat, 1 Call or 1 Click” from the support they need.

But there is always more to be done, which is why I was so thrilled to spend time with Geoff for a Learn With Leena session. I hope you enjoy our conversation!

[The audio-only podcast of our interview is here]

Learn with Leena: GEOFF MCDONALD

Key lessons from Geoff McDonald

Why doesn’t wellbeing stick in an organisation?

Four reasons:

1) Companies need to make the health, the energy, the wellbeing of their people a STRATEGIC PRIORITY. That is the only way it will get the investment and attention it needs.

2) There needs to be a change programme attached. In order to effect that strategic priority means a significant change. When big companies want to drive a new efficiency or implement a new IT system, for example, they would put money behind a big change programme. The same needs to happen with wellbeing.

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