Last year nearly a million people in the UK were affected by work related mental health issues.
As a result, we are now being bombarded with tips for making our workforce “happy”: from healthy eating initiatives and office dance parties to group laughter courses and team building days. But are these "feel good" schemes really the answer? Or are we completely missing the point...
At best, “happy to work” initiatives are only ever going to be a sticky plaster on a much deeper wound. What we really need to do is get to the root cause of the problem and prevent the issues in the first place.
Here is what I think is at the heart of the problem:
According to the office of National Statistics, one in three people are in the wrong job; and research has found that this is a major cause of depression.
So instead of smothering our depressed workforce with superficial “feel good” stickly plasters, why not focus on helping people actually do the work they enjoy?
Data shows that for every £1 invested into mental health at
work there is a £5 return. But for every £1 invested into health prevention strategies there is a £14 return.
Read on for some suggestions for creating a sustainable culture of well-being, belonging and long-term job satisfaction for everyone.
The Holistic Approach
Conventional western medicine tends to treat the symptoms of the problem: just take a drug to dull the pain or put a plaster on it – then please go away. As a result, we have created a culture of quick fix solutions and treating what is immediately in front of us.
But we are now starting to appreciate that a holistic approach to understanding the whole problem, and the root cause of the problem, can be a far more beneficial and sustainable solution.
When it comes to mental health at work, the key is understanding all aspects of a person’s mental make up: – from emotion, personality, and values, through to skills and cognitive ability. When we holistically understand all these things, we can start to appreciate the types of work that will actually satisfy individuals.
Data shows that job satisfaction is a direct maker for mental well-being, and I think that all leaders, managers and employers have social responsibility to ensure all their people, from the boardroom to the basement, enjoy the work they do.
Here’s how we are working towards this:
It is human nature to judge people on surface values, to quickly form narratives and judgements about people based on the most immediately available information. What a person looks like, their background, where they come from. But to truly know what is going on for a person, we need to understand what is going on inside their head.
The good news is that you can create that understanding at scale by using psychological and neuroscientific assessments. This sort of advanced scientific insight is not new, it has been tried and tested for decades. But it has traditionally been a privilege of the elite. Expensive assessments that are only ever used in private education or by people working in executive positions and wealthy organisations. But now that is changing…
At Cognisess we fundamentally believe that everyone deserves to do a job they enjoy, so we are completely disrupting the market by making cutting edge scientific insight affordable and accessible to everyone:
Step 1 robust science: with the help of some top neuroscientists and psychologists we have developed over 60 people assessments that have been tested and validated against the leading tools out there (i.e., those normally used by the elite).
Step 2 easy-to-use: we know that for some being faced with an “assessment” can be daunting. So, unlike the traditional tools, we have gone for a fun approach – using game-based technology to make our assessments enjoyable and unintimidating. Also, unlike traditional assessments, that require expert interpretation, we have made sure our results and insights are understandable by anyone – no training needed.
Step 3 affordable at scale: traditional assessments are priced per person and can cost a fortune, when used at scale. So, to break this costly mould we have developed a pricing strategy that means that once a company signs up to our platform, they have free access to all our assessment tools for as many people as they choose. Making the insight available from boardroom to basement.
These three steps have led to a holistic platform that thousands of our clients are now using to understand all their people and genuinely drive sustainable job satisfaction.
But, whilst this is great for the companies we are working with, we have realised that in our vision to make this insight available to all, we need to do more…
So, we are now taking things one step further and making our tools completely free for any individual. No strings attached.
Whilst thousands of people are now able to access our tools through the companies that have signed up to the Cognisess platform, there are still billions out there that don’t yet work for such enlightened companies or have no idea where to start in finding the work that they enjoy.
Yondur is our new app that anyone can use to discover the work they will enjoy, the roles they might be good at, and ultimately be matched to jobs that are perfectly suited to them. For the first time ever, this valuable insight is not just the privilege of the elite.
New research shows that if you fall into the wrong job in your 20s, you are much more prone to depression and mental health issues in your 40s. We want to prevent this by helping as many people as possible choose the right career path from the get-go. Or help those that have already taken the wrong path, successfully change track.
But what about those that need more? …
Whilst we believe that Yondur is set to help millions of people to become more motivated, satisfied and ultimately happy to work, we acknowledge it will never reach everyone on our planet. There will always be people whose natural talents don’t align with workplace opportunities, don’t get the support they need, or simply require a little more help than others.
So as part of our overall mission to nurture all human talent, we have also set up a charitable arm called YOOF, that promotes, supports, and sells the work of talented urban artists; with all profits going directly to mental health initiatives.
Three brands aligned by a unified a mission to improve job satisfaction, mental well-being, and fulfillment. To break down our biased jobs market and help as many people as possible find a career path they enjoy.
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© Cognisess Limited, 2021