How values are linked to mental health and wellbeing in the workplace

By Claire Farrow, Head of Content and Conference Director, Mad World Summit

This year, World Values Day will be making the crucial link between values and wellbeing – for people and the planet. Mad World is dedicated to making a difference to mental health and wellbeing in the workplace (the graphic above sums up what we are about). As the curator of the content for the annual Mad World Summit and fortnightly Mad World News, I was honoured to be asked to share my thoughts in the World Values Day blog.

I’ll be honest (that’s one of my core values) – even though the link between values and wellbeing sounds obvious, at first, I wasn’t sure where to begin. A quick google didn’t shed much light either.

Input “The link between values and wellbeing” and the best my computer could come up with was:

  • Linking wellbeing and engagement
  • The case for linking employee wellbeing and productivity
  • The link between emotional and financial wellbeing – and why

All relevant but not quite what I was looking for. Or is it?

That’s when I remembered an interesting conversation that I’d had when researching the content for this year’s Mad World Summit. With a guru of the sector, I was discussing approaches to getting business leaders to buy in to the need to support employees’ mental health and wellbeing.

He surprised me by explaining that the key to influencing leaders is not so much about making the business case for supporting employee mental health and wellbeing, or highlighting the costs of failing to do this. What’s essential is helping leaders to focus on linking the care of employees to business outcomes.

To explain this in layman’s terms: a cared for workforce = healthy business outcomes.

On reflection, perhaps my google search had been heading in the right direction after all. The search engine had automatically made the connection between values, wellbeing and business outcomes.

The guru, with whom I was researching, explained that a key business outcome of investing in the wellbeing of employees is improved retention of staff.

He cited the global industrialist and former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welsh, who talks about leading with your values so you don’t lose people you need to attract and retain.

Hard-working and talented employees will leave if they don’t feel their values are being modelled by the company they work for. But, by investing in employee wellbeing, employers are reflecting employees’ values and helping them to connect to the organisation’s values. This not only helps employees but also supports business objectives, such as improved staff retention.

Therefore, the key to staff retention begins before the hiring process. Ensure that you’re leading with your values and the rest will fall into place.

When it’s explained so simply, values and wellbeing seem to go hand in hand. We do hear increasingly that employees are looking for supportive employers that value their wellbeing.

I wonder though – is this the same for every generation?

In the changing landscape of today’s working environment, it’s not uncommon for 4 or even 5 generations to be working alongside one another, often with quite different expectations – and perhaps different values too.

What are different generations looking for from their employers when it comes to workplace culture, mental health and wellbeing and where do values fit within this?

We’ve been gathering opinions about this through a survey. The insights from this will be showcased at this year’s Mad World Summit on 9 October. A summary of findings will also feature on this blog and in Mad World News.

If you would like to share your opinion, there is just enough time to respond. The survey will close at midnight on 2 October. All responses will be confidential and will be used purely for research purposes.

There are just 9 questions and the survey should take no longer than 5 minutes to complete. A core part of the survey centres around values.

Respondents who leave their contact details will be entered into a prize draw to win a fabulous wellbeing retreat for four, on board an exclusive sailing yacht in the Greek islands, courtesy of Santipurna

I would value your opinion…

Click here to fill in our survey!

Claire Farrow is the Conference Director for Mad World. She is responsible for the content of the Mad World Forum and also drives the content for Mad World News. Claire has been freelance for more than 20 years and has had the honour to work for many leading publishers, including the New York Times. She considers herself to be a forerunner of the gig economy and understands both the challenges and rewards of gig and home working. 


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