21st October 2021
Evening Standard
Global Partners
asics Mercer
Mercer Marsh BenefitsUnmindTogetherallFika: Mental FitnessCoachHub

Mind MHFA England One Million Lives by Jacobs

The global pandemic has propelled employee mental health and wellbeing to the top of business agendas. Now let’s keep it there. 

“If you care about the mental health and wellbeing of your people and you care about the future of your business, join us – in-person - for our fourth annual Summit”.

Claire Farrow, Partner & Global Head of Content, Make A Difference Media.

MAD World stands for Make A Difference. Now in its fourth year, the MAD World Summit has become the global go-to solutions-focused conference and exhibition dedicated to turning talk into action; creating cultures of care and embedding mental health and wellbeing as a strategic business priority.


Whether you’re just getting started, or you’re looking for ways to build on and bolster your mental, physical, financial or social wellbeing programmes, it’s a day packed with insight, inspiration and the chance to find the answers to your questions with: 

  • 4 tracks of case studies and panel discussions
  • 25 roundtables and 10 workshops.
  • 3 keynote panels
  • 40 suppliers of work culture, mental health and wellbeing solutions under one roof

Key topics we’ll be addressing include:

  • Why workplace mental health and wellbeing matters more than ever and what employers can do about it
  • Dealing with Long-COVID and post-pandemic PTSD
  • Realistic strategies for meeting the increasing demand for a personalised approach to wellbeing support
  • Proactive, preventative workplace wellbeing programmes
  • Equipping managers with the skills to support wellbeing in the new hybrid world of work
  • Supporting the wellbeing of neurodiverse colleagues
  • Data driven wellbeing – why measurement matters
  • Seamlessly integrating wellbeing with diversity and inclusion
  • TechTalking: finding the right digital mental health and wellbeing solution for your organisation
  • Making the most of peer-to-peer networks
  • Engaging the hard to reach with mental health and wellbeing programmes
  • Best practice in financial wellbeing

Find out more here.

2019 Summit Highlights

The BBC attended Mad World - Hear their interviews here.

We'll Be Sharing


Meet the people developing the most progressive approaches to workplace culture,mental health and wellbeing


Share knowledge in real-time with our cross-sector, cross-function network of like-minded speakers, exhibitors and attendees.


Tell your colleagues and book a group pass. Get practical insights to take back and adapt to your organisation.

Latest Speakers

Elisha London
Founder, United for Global Mental Health

Vice President Health and Wellbeing/Chief Medical Officer

Dr Shaun Davis
Global Director, Compliance & Sustainability

Dr Wolfgang Seidl
Workplace Health Consulting Leader UK and Europe

Marteka Swaby

Geoff McDonald
Global Advocate, Campaigner and Consultant for Mental Health in the Workplace (previously Global VP HR, Unilever)

Julie Page ACII
Chief Executive Officer

Gary Raucher
Executive Vice President

Dr Brendon Stubbs, PhD
Global leader and world highest cited researcher investigating physical activity and mental health

Amanda Mackenzie OBE
Chief Executive

Expert Adviser on Health and Work to NHS Improvement and Public Health England and Chair, Ageing Better

Estelle Hollingsworth
Chief People Officer

Gold Sponsors

Mercer Marsh Benefits
Fika: Mental Fitness

Latest Mad World News

Inclusion for disabled people. Group of young multiracial business people with one handicapped man in wheelchair, discussing ideas in front of glass wall using post it notes and stickers

UK full-time workers feel anxious and hesitant to transition back to a physical workplace, according to research by data consultancy, Vitreous.

More than half (57%) of respondents feel anxious about returning to the workplace, while just over 25% felt pressure from their employer to return. The poll surveyed over 1,600 adult workers in the UK who are currently in a full-time job with regular income. Vitreous worked with programmatic research technology company Lucid to create the research.

The findings show that business leaders need to offer more empathy to their employees during times of uncertainty. According to the research, 69% of employees said they felt their employers could have done more to ease the transition with another 65% feeling that workplaces today are still not welcoming, inclusive or positive spaces for everyone.

Workplaces Unsupportive To Disabled Employees

Respondents with a physical disability or a mental health condition think their workplace is not doing enough to support them. In the UK, disabled people make up 20% of the population aged 16 to 64. This means that a fifth of the UK workforce might not be having their needs met by their employers.

“The findings from this research are a stark reminder to businesses of all sizes across the country that, despite feeling as if we are returning to business as usual, the current working environment is extremely delicate,” says Ben Hogg, managing director for EMEA and Asia at Lucid. “UK businesses must do better to support the differing needs of the workforce, particularly as it relates to individuals across multiple diverse communities—we have really only just begun to scratch the surface in planning for an inclusive and welcoming workplace post-pandemic.”

A third of respondents of the survey experience a form of disability. Of these, 39% of them stated that this has an impact on their ability to commute into the workplace. The pressure that employers are potentially putting on their employees, especially those with disabilities, could be harming their wellbeing. Catering for them is the best way forward.

No ‘One-size-fits-all’ Post-Pandemic Approach

In addition, 31% of respondents stated that they have some form of emotional or mental health condition. Half of these employees believe this would have an impact on their mental health if working on-site.

Bex Grove, associate director at Vitreous World, says: “There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to improving the workplace in today’s post-pandemic business world. What may seem inclusive and welcoming to some will not be considered so by others.

“Yet, if employers listen and react appropriately to all of their staff, they will be able to develop and implement policies and processes that address the needs of all employees, thus ensuring a safe, positive, and equal environment,” she continues. “Simply put—today’s employers have a responsibility to care about their people and ensure everyone is on an equal footing.”

How Can Employers Ease Transition Back To Work?

Respondents to the survey advised how their employers could help ease the transition back to the workplace. About a third (33%) would prefer a flexible, hybrid working approach. When it comes to mask-wearing, 32% stated they wanted clearer communication as well as social distancing policies.

Employers need to be clear with their employees—32% request clear policies on how employers will manage situations like COVID-19. They are particularly keen on clear communication with regards to policies on self-isolation and quarantining.

To create a workplace that is suitable for all, respondents have said that employers should prioritise inclusion. For example, 26% requested flexible start and end times to the working day. Another 26% asked for employees to be recognised and rewarded equally. An additional 19% called for company-wide meetings to be held to improve all-staff communications.

Graham Idehen, director of customer success at Lucid and co-founder of CORe (Colour of Research), says: “This research highlights the reality of employee sentiment in the wake of not just the global pandemic, but also the changing emotions we are seeing towards creating a more inclusive society as a whole.

“While there’s been more conversation on the topic, many businesses in the UK today are still simply paying lip service to initiatives that support diversity, inclusion, and the physical and mental wellbeing support of their employees—it’s time we change that across all businesses in all industry sectors.”

All these factors outlined in this research point towards improving workers’ mental health and wellbeing. Employers need to tackle them to ensure they create an inclusive work culture and a positive environment for all.

UK Workers Hesitant To Go Back To Workplace Full-time

MadWorld is always one of my favourite annual conferences. It’s a gathering of leading thinkers and practitioners in the mental health and wellbeing space and I’m very fortunate to sit on their UK Advisory Board.  

This year felt a little different; as we listened, shared and engaged in conversations about what it means to lead a high-performance organisation, in the post-Covid era. It felt, as if, there was a greater sense of urgency. The mental health and wellbeing of ourselves, our colleagues, friends and family, remains in sharp focus as the full impact of the pandemic emerges and we bear witness to human trauma on a global scale. Many of us, still facing the uncertainty of job loss, long term illness and bereavement.  

Burnout is a very real execution risk for organisations as they look to restructure, re-organise and re-imagine how work – can work for everyone!  

This year, I led a round table discussion – the why and how of building emotional intelligence into hybrid working. A big thank you to my co-chair, Marie Helson, Director of People at Hello Fresh. Organised over two x 45-minute sessions, we were joined by wellbeing practitioners from; the Police, the NHS, law firms, FM, retail and the charity sector. These are just some of the highlights from a very rich discussion. 

In the round

Some parts of the NHS are introducing unmanned, listening booths, in order to encourage staff to speak up and share difficult emotions and experiences, confidentially and without judgement. (They look a bit like photo booths). 

When working from home, our ability to set and maintain boundaries is critical to maintaining good mental health; this is particularly relevant now, as published last week, overtime hours are at an all-time high.  

Many in our workforce are experiencing a deep sense of guilt; a feeling that “other people have had it far worse than me”. This may be stopping people from sharing their personal stories of trauma and loss. We must encourage people to speak up. Negative thoughts and emotions, can hold us back, we feel stuck in the past.  

Resist the temptation to brush difficult emotions under the carpet; grief, anger, nostalgia, guilt; must be acknowledged in order that we can move forward together.  

We laughed out loud, when someone said; “wellbeing hour, otherwise known as lunch time is back!” It’s got to be a good thing that employers are encouraging people to take a full hour at lunchtime, to eat, exercise and if possible, get outside. 

MadWorld is always an inspiring and uplifting event and this year, the buzz of human connection and strong sense of community was palpable.  However, I am left with questions. One that came to mind during our round table discussion; “at what point did we stop trusting our intuition, in relation to our mental health and why are we now “seeking permission” from our employers to lead healthier, happier, more balanced lives?  

The paternalistic organisation is either dead or dying, some would argue the organisation never loved us. We have an opportunity now, to re-contract with our employers. It’s imperative that we start tuning in to our inner voice because we intuitively know, what we need to do, to be healthy – mind, body and spirit. We must reconnect with self, acknowledging that we are not robots, we have finite energy and we must take time away from work, to recharge and replenish that energy.  

My biggest fear; organisations that cannot let go of the past, a past built around hierarchies, bureaucracy and top-down mandates; will experience one or both of the following outcomes – their talent will leave them and or employees will work to rule. 

We have a unique opportunity afforded us by the pandemic, to build fully inclusive, healthy human systems at work. To do this, organisations must acknowledge that every employee is unique, with a passion to learn, create and to participate in work, that is both meaningful to them and that contributes to society and the planet. We know that humans are motivated by purpose, mastery and autonomy – Dan Pink, Drive. Let’s design a future, where every single person has access to opportunity and to contribute their unique talents. 

For me; Aviva’s Debbie Bullock, UK Wellbeing Lead, nailed it when she called for “equality across different ways of working and creating jobs/ roles that are good for humans”. I couldn’t agree more. Whilst, I didn’t have the opportunity to visit every talk, workshop and briefing, below represents a snapshot from my day at MadWorld, enjoy! 

Top 10 take-aways; 

  1. Laughter is the best medicine. Speaking about toxic workplace culture turnaround. Nick Tzitzon, Chief Strategy Officer at ServiceNow summed up a sustainable healthy culture, as follows; 1. keep it real, every employee has a voice, listen and then act 2. let your people dream big 3. LOL – let people laugh, it’s a form of vulnerability, esp. if you can learn to laugh at yourself. 
  1. Prevention’s better than cure. Jilly Calder, VP HR Uk and Europe, is taking a prevention and personalise approach to mental health and wellbeing, at Atkins. A core focus on social wellbeing, means creating a sense of belonging, inclusion, feeling safe and social stability. Did you know that loneliness and social isolation create a significant increased risk of coronary heart disease and stroke? 
  1. Be insight-led. For Andy Holmes, Global Head of Wellbeing at Reckitt, they’re led by the science of human performance. Wellbeing increases our capacity, that’s it. There’s even science behind (best use of) idle time too. Thank you for your wellbeing spaghetti metaphor – far too many organisations are still approaching mental health and wellbeing without much thought or data, they’re literally throwing stuff against a wall and seeing what sticks.  
  1. Make time to connect. Humans simply want to be appreciated and valued this unlocks mental energy. @andy holmes, reckitt 
  1. The why of work. “Write your “to-be” list rather than your “to-do” list”. Humans thrive when our work is meaningful and purposeful. @andy holmes, reckitt 
  1. I’m fine, thank you. Talking about your feelings isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy. Importantly, the people you talk to don’t have to be in your immediate team. 
  1. Meetings re-imagined. Have you heard about flo-state meetings = high skill + high challenge. Meetings can be a huge drain on our time at work and create unnecessary stress. I love the idea of keeping meetings to small groups of highly engaged individuals who are best placed to solve the problem at hand. @andy holmes, reckitt 
  1. Psychological safety. Create safe spaces where employees can share and ask for help, without fear of reprisal or judgement. Psychological safety is the founding stone of creating healthy human systems at work. The primary custodians of psychological safety are managers. Psychological safety must be fostered and measured at the team level first. As such, why not make psychological safety a primary measure of manager capability. 
  1. Lean into emotional intelligence. Managing/ leading hybrid teams means learning a new competency, where human skills are front and centre. @marie helson, Hello Fresh 
  1. We could have done this on Zoom. We all need to become more intentional about spending time together, in person, that means a re-think of office design and creating employee experiences that entice and delight. How about intelligent buildings that know, as soon as you enter, where you’re going to do your best work.  

The future of work is exciting. Let’s make sure human health and wellbeing guides our org design, our real estate choices, our tech stack and our culture. 

What did you learn at this year’s MadWorld Summit? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences about mental health and wellbeing at your place of work. 

About the author

Catherine de la Poer is founder at halcyon, she is a coach and digital anthropologist, she works with clients to build healthy human systems at work. 



Wellbeing Spaghetti and Other Tales From The MadWorld Summit, 2021

The pandemic has propelled employee mental health and wellbeing to the top of business agendas – shining a spotlight on the stark reality that organisations – in fact whole economies – will falter unless the people who keep them going are physically and mentally well.

But as we transition through the next phase of uncertainty and adapt to new workplace realities and expectations, many organisations are struggling to ensure wellbeing initiatives are effective, inclusive, flexible and sustainable.

Responding to this need, Make A Difference Media is proud to announce our free to attend interactive webinar “Workplace wellbeing: what good looks like”. The session is being run in partnership with YuLife and will take place on Thursday 25th November from 10.00am – 11.00am.

Cut through the noise

Featuring perspectives from three leaders at different levels in their organisations, both of whom are setting a benchmark for cultures of care, the webinar will cover:

  • How they have dealt with the challenges of the pandemic and the frameworks each have used to decide where they will focus their investment in workplace mental health and wellbeing.
  • Approaches to assessing the impact and effectiveness of initiatives.
  • Key practical lessons learned, including pitfalls to avoid.
  • How they are continuing to build their programmes to respond to evolving needs, keep mental health and wellbeing top of the agenda and build back a better workforce.

Featuring stellar speakers

  • Josh Krichefski, Global COO & CEO EMEA @MediaCom
  • Amanda Hammond, Wellbeing Programmes Lead, Human Resources @Fujitsu
  • Kate Whitelock, Head of Wellbeing, YuLife

The content is designed for C-Suite, HR Leaders, Benefits & Rewards Leaders, Talent, Engagement and Communication Leaders, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Leaders, Wellbeing Leaders and Champions. In other words, anyone who is responsible for the wellbeing of colleagues and want to ensure they are providing the right support both now and in the future.

Register here to reserve your place on this webinar.


New Webinar – Workplace Wellbeing: What Good Looks Like with YuLife, MediaCom and Fujitsu

Mixed race family sharing time in living room. Caucasian father using notebook computer to work and half-Thai playing and painting under desk while Asian mother with laptop working her job on sofa.

Outdated cultures and practices still remain in many workplaces around the UK, says a poll by Working Families.

Nearly half of working mothers (41%) say being a parent is holding them back from a promotion at work. Those who care for a sick, elderly or disabled family member (50%) also said they were being held back.

Over a third (38%) say that the people who work the longest hours are the most respected by senior leaders. Further to this, 44% of working parents disagreed that the senior leaders in their organisation are positive role models for a good work-life balance.

Jane van Zyl, CEO of Working Families, says: “It’s depressing to see that—in 2021—so many women still find that being a parent stops them from getting promoted at work. Half of the people caring for another family member find their caring responsibilities do the same. So much talent and so many diverse perspectives are being lost because too many businesses can’t move past outdated workplace cultures.”

COVID-19 Has Positive Impact On Work Culture

Released in mid-October, Working Families also found that the pandemic had a positive impact on workplace culture. 41% of working parents say that their company has improved during the pandemic. 50% also say open conversations about wellbeing and mental health are more accepted at work now than they were pre-COVID-19. For those who act as carers, this rose to 61%.

“While increasingly high numbers of managers and leaders recognise the benefits of family-friendly ways of working, there are still pockets of resistance across sectors,” van Zyl continues. “But the experience of the pandemic has speeded up a shift in how many of us want to work, and those resisting positive change will find it comes back to bite them.”

Parents and Carers Worry That Workplace Changes Are Temporary

However, working parents are concerned that these positive changes are temporary. Over a third (36%) and almost half (48%) of carers say they are concerned about taking time off for caring needs. This is because it could be frowned upon at work now lockdown is over.

However, this could also have a negative impact on employers and employee retention. According to van Zyl, 85% of working parents told the charity that they would prioritise work-life balance when looking for their next role.

“Faced with a choice between an employer who puts effort into employee wellbeing and one that celebrates unhealthy working practices, I think we can all guess where the best and brightest talent is going to go,” she advises.

“We take great heart from the fact that the pandemic has led to positive change in many organisations, and conversations about mental health and wellbeing are more accepted than they were. And we know from our work with our employer members that so many organisations are going above and beyond in implementing progressive policies and reaping the rewards of that in productivity, retention and morale.”

Working Parents and Carers Hit By ‘Outdated’ Work Cultures and Practices

Close-up Of A Businesswoman's Hand Covering Balance Between Life And Work On Seesaw

When looking for a job, getting a good balance between work and home life is always important. According to research, the best industry to work in is technology.

For the third year running, the technology industry has been rated as the number one industry for work-life balance, according to a study by Glassdoor. Oil, gas, energy and utilities were replaced in second by Aerospace and defense and Media took third place.

The findings also showed that employees who rated their companies as providing a stronger work-life balance are significantly more likely to mention flexible working and wellbeing in their reviews.

Government, Tech and Finance Companies Best For Work-Life Balance

Companies such as the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Softcat and Arm lead the rankings when it comes to work-life balance, says Glassdoor. Of the employee reviews for ONS, 36% of them praised the company’s flexible working policy. 10% positively mentioned their work-life balance.

At Arm, Glassdoor reports that employees say they have access to a workplace mental health app and are encouraged to use workdays to volunteer. They are also offered four extra “Day of Care” holidays each year.

Nine of the 20 companies featured in the Glassdoor rankings represent the technology industry. Others include government, construction, real estate, telecommunications, finance and energy. For job seekers, this shows that work-life balance can be found in any sector.

Mental Health, Wellbeing and Burnout See Discussion Spike

Since 2018, Glassdoor found that terms such as mental health, wellbeing and burnout in discussions had increased. It does say that each term follows a different pattern.

For mental health, mentions have steadily increased over the three years, it says, from a low 0.26% of all reviews in January 2018 to a high of 1.68% most recently—a 500% increase.

When it came to discussions on wellbeing, there was a rapid increase immediately following the first pandemic lockdown in the UK. This pattern has continued, spiking during periods of lockdown. According to the report, mentions of wellbeing have remained consistently high with a 1.16% rating prior to the pandemic and 1.83% in January 2021.

It wasn’t until summer 2021 that mentions of burnout in Glassdoor reviews saw a sharp rise. Prior to April 2021, its rating was 0.07%; in September 2021, it had risen to 0.16%. This indicates that employees have recently found themselves experiencing burnout that their employers have failed to address.

The company analysed more than 600,000 reviews left by full-time UK-based employees on its website between 1 January 2021 and 28 September 2021. To ascertain pre-pandemic levels, the company also looked at the industries rankings in 2018 and 2019.

Want Good Work-Life Balance? Work In Tech, Says Study

Businessmen blur in the workplace or work space of table in office room with computer or shallow depth of focus of abstract background.

Research has found that toxic work cultures across different sectors are resulting in workers becoming less productive and leaving their jobs.

Two in five employees say that they have experienced problematic behaviour such as bullying, harassment or discrimination at work. 42% admitted they have previously left a job due to bad workplace culture.

In a report conducted by Culture Shift, 1,000 employees were surveyed on the culture in their workplace. They answered questions on their experiences, incidents and the impact it has had on them. There were over 100 respondents from the banking/finance, healthcare, insurance, legal and public sectors each.

Productivity And Employment Engagement Impacted By Toxic Work Culture

The research finds that 41% of respondents say bad workplace culture has impacted their productivity, with over one-third feeling they have been silenced on issues that matter to them. This, in turn, impacts employee trust—36% responded that an incident such as bullying, harassment or discrimination at work has led them to distrust their employer.

In terms of absenteeism, 27% admitted to calling in sick due to problematic behaviour they had witnessed or experienced at work. 29% took time off due to an incident that happened in their place of work. This includes bullying, harassment, discrimination or sexual misconduct.

Specifically, almost three-quarters have called in sick due to not wanting to see somebody they have a negative relationship with at work.

These experiences also negatively impact mental health (64%) with 67% saying they have suffered from anxiety as a direct result of workplace bullying. 71% of respondents also admitted to attending therapy due to an issue they had experienced at work.

Which Sectors Are Worse For Toxic Work Cultures?

Industries such as insurance and banking see the most reports of feeling silenced, according to the data. In banking, 40% reported that they had felt silenced on issues that mattered to them, compared to 38% in insurance. 39% healthcare respondents reported that they had felt silenced.

On topics such as religion and politics, banking and insurance again featured as the industries silencing their employees. In banking, 22% reported having been told not to discuss religion at work by their current or former boss. In the insurance industry, this was at 25%.

When it comes to politics, 32% of insurance employees were told not to discuss politics at work—in banking, this was 21%.

In the law industry, 38% of employees said they were less engaged with their job due to the company having a bad culture. These employees (55%) have also admitted leaving a job due to bad workplace culture.

The report also shows that the law industry has a problem with employee mental health and productivity due to toxicity. 50% of employees said that their bad workplace culture has impacted their productivity with 52% saying that the workplace has impacted their mental health.

However, it is healthcare that sees the most employees admitting experiencing problematic behaviour in the workplace (52%). This includes bullying, harassment or discrimination.

How Can Employers Tackle Toxic Work Environments?

There are things that companies can do to treat the toxicity within their workplace. According to the report, 67% said they would report bullying if it was happening in the business now. However, employers need to be aware that the majority would rather do this anonymously (62%).

The report also advises employers to take a “preventative approach” to protect employees from toxicity: “Negative workplace culture and employer traits are resulting in demotivated workforces, dipping productivity and many employees bearing the brunt of unacceptable behaviour, but what could employers be doing to protect their people?” the report says. “Many of these incidents could absolutely be avoided and there are preventative tactics employers could be adopting to minimise the risk on their people, by protecting them.”

The majority of employees (91%) say that knowing that their employer takes bullying and harassment complaints seriously is an important factor to their overall happiness at work. It’s important that workers know that there won’t be repercussions for reporting bullying, and this is where anonymous platforms come into play.

“Anonymous reporting not only provides your people with a safe space to report any incidents of problematic behaviour they’ve either witnessed or experienced, but it offers you the opportunity to learn more about your culture while providing you with insights to identify any potentially harmful patterns,” explains the report. “This enables you to make informed decisions to activate positive change and to protect your employees, your organisation and your culture.”

UK Employees Experiencing Toxic Workplace Culture

Man hand holding piggy bank on wood table, saving money wealth and financial concept, Business, finance, investment, Financial planning.

Employers could see some rumbles within their workforce as new data suggests that workers are unhappy with their pay.

In a poll conducted by HR software provider, CIPHR, 1,005 British adults were asked about how perceived their pay. 44% of the respondents said they think they’re being paid less than they should be given their job title and experience. Another 44% think they’re being paid less than they should be and one in six (15%) can’t decide one way or the other.

The data also showed that there was a correlation between when an adult received a pay rise and their thoughts about their current pay. Those who have waited over a year for a salary increase, are more likely (67%) to be dissatisfied with their earnings. While the majority (60%) of those who received a pay rise within the last six months think the opposite.

Senior Management Happier With What They’re Paid

The research shows that different factors can shape an employee’s perception of their wage. This includes job title, organisational role and experience. Around £45,000 seems to be the sweet spot for most respondents, which is significantly higher than the national average (according to the Office for National Statistics, the median annual pay for full-time employees in the UK is £31,461).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, people occupying senior management positions such as owners, CEOs, CFOs and C-level executives, are more likely to feel adequately rewarded for their efforts. The majority (64%) agree that they are paid “what they are worth” and two-fifths (40%) report getting a pay rise in the last six months.

However, non-management staff—who make up 64% of survey respondents—are the most likely to think they’re underpaid (48%). They are also the least likely to have had a pay rise within the last six months (33%).

The data also shows that nearly half (48%) of people earning an income of over £45,000 think they are being paid “what they are worth.” On the flip side, 46% of those earning less than £45,000 don’t think they are being paid their worth.

“There’s no denying that people’s perception of their own value in the workplace is closely linked to the financial package they receive,” says Claire Williams, director of people and services at CIPHR. “This has obvious implications for employers. Workers that feel undervalued or underpaid can have a negative impact on productivity, employee engagement, job satisfaction, morale and so much more.

“However, while salary is a key driver for many employees, there is a huge amount of research that suggests salary isn’t one of the top motivators to leave an organisation,” she continues. “Most people leave due to career and development opportunities, management behaviour, and work-life balance. Employers need to ensure that they take a holistic approach when considering how best to retain and reward their top talent. Pay rises and market-value salary are important but they are only part of a wider set of retention methods to ensure employees feel valued and happy.”

Which Industry Employees Are Financially Happy?

Across the board, the research says that the average annual pay rise was 8.8%.

Amongst all respondents who report receiving a pay rise in the past year, the average increase was 8.8% (the median pay rise was 3%). The average pay rise for those that were awarded one over a year ago was at 6.2%—the median pay rise was 2%.

People working in the arts, entertainment, or recreation (77%), manufacturing (71%), HR (70%), finance and insurance (69%), legal services (67%), and retail (67%), were among the most likely to report getting a pay rise in the past year.

When it comes to company size, workers at smaller companies—26 to 50 employees—were the least likely to request a pay rise, with only 50% having done so within the past year. This is compared to 55% at larger organisations—over 251 staff.

Women also seem less likely than men to request a pay rise. Only 54% of women compared to 60% of men had asked their employers for a raise within the past year. On the other hand, when it comes to getting one slightly more women (63%) than men (60%) actually got a pay rise.

Nearly Half Of UK Workers Think They’re Not Being Paid Enough

In March 2020, the world ground to an unprecedented halt when national lockdowns were announced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our generation was met with great uncertainties that we never could have imagined. Covid-19 has created a continuum of personal and social impact, where for some, the lack of normality, loss of routine and inability to meet freely with friends, family and colleagues has been traumatic.

With the easing of lockdown restrictions and the transition to hybrid working comes new challenges for both employees and employers. Employers must now carefully consider implications of having their workforce return to the office whilst employees need to navigate the concerns and anxieties that hybrid working presents.

Is your organisation ready for hybrid working?

A chance to return to the office will undoubtedly be very exciting for some, but the prospect of going back to work and engaging with colleagues may be daunting for others. In fact, a whopping 73% of employees have reported being worried or anxious about returning to the workplace. Is your organisation hybrid-working ready?

It’s important to remember that we all have mental health, and it will fluctuate between good and poor states. Often events that we have no control over impact our mental wellbeing. We all develop different coping strategies in our lifetime and there is no single, one size fits all solution when it comes to maintaining a positive state of mind.

Top 3 tips for a smooth transition to hybrid working

The thought of getting back on public transport, working in proximity with others, and the need to attend social events after work can be stressful and cause feelings of anxiety. We’ve become used to home working and the benefits that brings in terms of work-life balance. The thought of losing that balance, for some, will be disconcerting.

It’s completely normal to feel anxious about changes to routines that we’ve become accustomed to, to be fearful of the unknown, and worried about what new ways of working will look like. Here are our top 5 top tips to help you manage a positive transition back to the workplace. You don’t need to adopt them all in order to gain benefit, just pick the ones that feel right for you.

Tip 1: Identify your concerns

Writing down how you feel and what is making us feel that way is helpful in not only unleashing any negative thoughts and worries but can also help us to understand any triggers. Get a pen and paper and:

  • Write down the factors causing you concern
  • List the triggers for each factor
  • Rank your list of worries in order of concern
  • Discuss your concerns with your line manager
  • Put an action plan in place

Tip 2: Validate your emotions:

It’s natural to build up thoughts, worries and anxieties in our minds, but when we test these thoughts and feelings, we can often find that they are unfounded. It’s important to test our thoughts and evaluate if they are based on reality or whether there is room to dismiss them. You can do this by:

  • Talking about your return to hybrid work concerns with your colleagues, line manager or friends and family
  • Being kind to yourself and others. Hybrid working is new for most
  • Agreeing the days and times you will be in the office – there may be flexibility to avoid rush hour commutes
  • Setting small, manageable goals and avoid putting unnecessary pressure on yourself
  • Creating awareness and make time for check-ins with yourself

Tip 3: Take small steps

Allow yourself to take the time you need to adjust to the “new normal”. Your self- confidence and self-esteem might have dropped during lockdown when it comes to getting on public transport, meeting and socialising with new colleagues or being in a public space. Don’t put undue pressure on yourself – rather make a list of the things that you can control and let go of the things you can’t. Finally, make time for self-care routines, you are your number one fan, you need to look after yourself.

We hope you found those tips helpful. If you would like to build your mental fitness or speak to a Coach or Therapist about a struggle you are currently facing, download the InsideOut app here if reading this blog on a mobile device or search for InsideOut 25 on the Google Play and App Store. 

Next Steps

We ask employers to consider if the support services you provide for your employees are accessible to all? Do they provide both preventative and early intervention care? Are they available globally, if relevant?

Together we can improve the quality of lives, which in turn is proven to raise productivity and profitability and make our businesses happier and healthier places to work at.  There has never been a more opportune time to invest to do so. 

About InsideOut

InsideOut is an award winning, on-demand digital platform that provides personalised early intervention and preventative mental health care to employees. At InsideOut we believe that all employees have the right to accessible and affordable mental health support, regardless of their role, location or grade. All employees deserve to be happy and healthy. InsideOut’s best-in-class proprietary technology allows employees to retain mental fitness or overcome challenges depending on where they are on the mental health scale.

Call to action:

As you and your organisation navigate the next phase of the pandemic and return to a hybrid working model, the InsideOut team is here to help support you every step of the way. Get in touch to explore how we can support you in building a happier, healthier workforce, or to arrange a free demo here.

Laura Stembridge, CEO and Founder, has a MSc in mental health and is a published academic author. She can be contacted by email at laura@lettheinsideout.com



Nurturing A Smooth Transition To Hybrid Working: 3 Top Tips

Employee expectations have shifted over the past 18 months and people are demanding more from their workplace. Patterns of working have changed with the Covid-19 pandemic, but also racial injustice, gender disparity and the effects of climate change have become more prominent within the social consciousness.

People want their employers to be aware of these issues – to know what is affecting them and their co-workers, and ultimately to be more responsible.[1]

Reassessing total reward, which is the holistic package offered by businesses to their employees, is one way employers can address these issues.

A recent Aon report called The Future of Total Rewards said that a higher value of total reward increases employee engagement by 33%.[2] It can also increase the perception of how people are valued by their employer.

So, how can employers reassess their total reward to create a more inclusive workplace?

Be flexible

With more diversity in the way people are working, flexibility for a total reward package is a necessity.

A global HR Pulse survey by Aon found that 86% of companies are creating or are considering an update to their remote working policy post-Covid, while nearly half of businesses expect only three quarters of employees to return to the office once the pandemic is over.[3]

Beyond Covid, a 2020 Pulse survey by Aon found that 76% of companies had adopted flexible working hours for employees with young children.[4] With a rise in the sandwich generation, where employees have caring responsibilities for both older parents and young kids at the same time, it is likely this shift towards flexible working will continue.

Therefore, businesses should consider this in their total reward offering in order to retain talent and maintain a diverse staff team.

This flexibility could be in the breadth of rewards offered, the structure of the programme, or even how they’re delivered to employees. It’s about choosing what works for the employees in a particular organisation and knowing that there will be different needs within the workforce. For example, there could be tiered benefits depending on seniority, life stage or work environment needs.

Flexible benefits packages that can be personalised are already available, but new technology has made this even easier for employers, ensuring total reward can be adaptable.

Be equitable

There has also been an increased focus on diversity, equality and inclusion (DE&I) over recent years. Nearly half of organisations currently have DE&I metrics, while another third are intending to create them. [5]

This is important for organisations because it increases perspectives within the company, but also diversity attracts more diversity. In a recent survey, 80% of women, 80% of black, 75% of Asian and 80% of Latino respondents stated that diversity was important in making employment decisions.[6]

In terms of total reward, this means ensuring different ethnicities, abilities, religions, ages and backgrounds are given equal footing across the benefits offering.

An example is ensuring pre-existing health conditions are not a barrier to a health plan design or having a separate additional fund to support additional health coverage if needed. Another would be to look at financial health and make sure those of under privileged or disadvantaged backgrounds are considered in plans.

However, it’s often not just employees that are searching for evidence of this. Regulators and shareholders are also demanding more data on environmental, social and corporate governance metrics. This means that effective total reward will not only reflect an equitable and inclusive design, but also identify metrics and goals to monitor and work towards to ensure future inclusivity.

Be aligned

The best total rewards strategies will enhance a business’ talent strategy. Aligning the two will help attract and retain the best talent for them, as well as improving employee engagement.

If the talent strategy is to retain the top performers, then total reward can help do this through multiple ways including providing a competitive package or by linking total reward to the organisational performance.

As we have already seen, diversity is a factor considered by many when making employment decisions. So, if the talent strategy is to have a more diverse workforce, then the total reward package must be inclusive. They need to reflect each other in order to attract the right employees for that organisation.

But a total reward package does not need to be everything straight away. It doesn’t even need to be providing the most. The competitive advantage could be in the inclusivity and flexibility of the package, or it could be effective communication which showcases the benefits of the offering.

Whatever unique offering is chosen, employers first need to look at their own workforce and talent strategy to determine their employees’ needs and the key goals of the package. From there, employers can build a tailored, inclusive offering.

Want to find out more about the future of Total Reward? Download Aon’s latest employer guide now.

[1] Aon Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace report, p11

[2] The Future of Total Reward, p2

[3] Aon Global HR Pulse Survey #7 – Preparing For the Future: How COVID-19 is Changing How and Where People Work Forever

[4] Aon COVID-19 Pulse Survey #3, May 2020

[5] Aon Global HR Pulse Survey #7 – Preparing For the Future: How COVID-19 is Changing How and Where People Work Forever

[6] https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/glassdoors-diversity-and-inclusion-workplace-survey/

How Reassessing Total Reward Can Help Make A More Inclusive Workplace