At SoftBank Investment Advisers, our HR team is focused on making sure that all the elements of our people strategy drive us towards the sort of culture of which we can all be proud. For a while now, we’ve provided team members with a Fitness Reimbursement, aimed at helping towards the cost of a gym membership or personal training. Yet, as we reviewed our benefits offering for 2019, it became clear that we were missing an opportunity to create a deeper impact on well-being, in its broadest sense, across our teams.

The arguments in support of employers helping their teams to focus on well-being (particularly on mental health) are compelling. A study by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health shows that organizations with highly effective well-being programs report significantly lower voluntary attrition. One in four adults experiences mental illness each year and an estimated 18 percent of the US adult population have an anxiety disorder. And yet we’re still not nearly comfortable enough talking about mental health at work.

Research has clearly demonstrated that well-being is a key driver of engagement and productivity, and we wanted to back that up with action to show our team members that we were serious about ensuring they thrive in this space. Earlier this month, I was delighted to announce an expanded benefit to turn our Fitness Reimbursement into a new Wellness Benefit, allowing us to support employees with a range of activities much broader than pure gym memberships, all aimed at boosting well-being in the most holistic sense.

What drove us to make that change? Primarily, an acknowledgement that physical health is only one part of overall employee well-being, and a determination to support team members to bring their whole selves to work.

We imagined individuals subscribing to a meditation app to make their London commute a little more mindful; enrolling their family in a National Parks pass to enjoy some of the spectacular natural wonders on our doorstep in California; or boosting their wellness through some holistic therapy of their choice.

It’s clear that talking about well-being and mental health in the workplace is a key way that CEOs and CHROs can create a world-class culture in their organisations; and I’m excited to be part of a firm which is determined to have a meaningful impact in this critical space.

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  • Catherine is a Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisors. Her portfolio includes People and Social Impact topics globally.