Written by Gráinne Henderson, Talent Partner
There is more to a job than the salary and benefits you can see…
My role as a Talent Partner at Instant Impact means every day I speak to people looking for new roles, they often ask about the visible and tangible benefits, like salary and holiday, but to me choosing an employer goes above and beyond this, it’s what’s below the surface especially the real wellbeing culture.
Have you ever asked yourself these questions:
Does this organisation have a healthy wellbeing culture?
Does this translate to me and my wellbeing?
What would it really be like to work there?
How would the company (and my colleagues respond if…?
I think these are important questions to ask yourself in both your existing job and when applying for your next opportunity.
Let me tell a story…
I knew this girl once she started her first office job 10 years ago, the girl was a happy and polite girl to all her colleagues that she worked alongside, or so she was perceived to be. However, she was suffering quite badly on the inside with severe OCD and anxiety. People in the workplace used to laugh or look at her funny conducting strange rituals before leaving the office every evening, on some occasions returning to the office to repeat them. This was not only happening in the workplace but sadly also in her personal life, she felt she had nowhere to turn too and no way out.
If you think back 10 years ago mental health and wellbeing in workplaces was never a popular topic to speak about, and so she carried on silently suffering for years. Fast forward to 2016 the girl finally hit rock bottom, just like the saying “To hit rock bottom you can only go up”. She did finally seek expert help, interestingly this was outside of the workplace. Why not go to her EAP? Or speak to her manager or HR? During those times you would never have heard of a workplace mental health first aider and there was fear of using the EAP service in case it would not be confidential. She felt additional pressure to not speak to her workplace or a colleague about how she was feeling or her mental health. Unfortunately, a mental health stigma culture existed “best not say that you will never be promoted”, “you will be perceived of being crazy” and “you will not be trusted”. The morale of this story, you need to create healthy wellbeing boundaries and culture in your organisation. Your people's mental health should be one of your top priorities. Your people are the benefit to your organisation's success, put in the effort to do more as you could save someone just like this girl.
What happened to the girl?
The girl did get the expert help she needed and is now thriving in her career while working for an amazing organisation that aligns with her own personal values around wellbeing and supports her and her mental health. She now reflects back and regrets not speaking up and standing tall.
That girl was me!!
As a society, we must recognize the importance of mental health and wellness. Mental illness affects individuals of all ages, races, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma attached to mental illness that prevents people from seeking the help they need. If more of us talk openly about it then I'm sure it will make a difference.