Close this search box.

B2B insights

Why B2B marketing leaders should nurture mental wellbeing

Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health Awareness Week happens annually in the UK where according to Mind, 1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem every year. Running from 13-19 May, it gives everyone an opportunity to consider their wellbeing. In a world where the boundaries between work and personal life blur, fostering mental health in the workplace is critical.

 In order to understand how B2B marketing leaders can drive organizational growth while dealing with their own mental health and the mental health of their teams, I’ve interviewed Lawrence Mitchell, CEO, Australia, Asia Pacific & India, Wellbeing at Work World and Founder and CEO, Finding Equilibrium

He is a seasoned expert in wellbeing initiatives with extensive experience in B2B marketing: “effectively B2B marketing has been my career and I’m still doing B2B marketing, but in an area that I’m particularly passionate about –  wellbeing – and I’ve been doing this work now for 10 years actually.”

Lawrence has witnessed a profound transformation in organizational attitudes. Initially, workplace wellbeing predominantly focused on physical health and safety, but around nine years ago, a significant shift occurred: “mental health became more of a focus and it started by some very senior leaders almost coming out and saying: ‘I’ve struggled with depression’, ‘I’ve struggled with anxiety’ and that almost gave permission for others to be open about their own struggles.”

This pivotal moment marked the beginning of a concerted effort to destigmatize mental health challenges in the workplace.

The impact of COVID-19 in mental health awareness

The pandemic catalyzed a profound reevaluation of the way mental health was perceived:

“Whenever you mentioned the word mental health, people still associated it with mental illness. The pandemic made us all aware that we all have mental health. And if you put people under a lot of pressure, if you challenge them in ways that are perceived to be unreasonable, and you put them through very challenging circumstances – as we all went through during the pandemic – then of course people’s mental health will be challenged. So it’s very important to really become aware of that.”

The collective experience of having to deal with unprecedented challenges really brought the inherent vulnerability of human mental wellbeing to the forefront of everyone’s mind, prompting a widespread recognition of its significance.

Embracing holistic wellbeing

As organizations transition into what Lawrences terms the ‘holistic age, there’s a growing acknowledgment of employees as multifaceted individuals. Beyond physical and mental wellbeing, organizations now recognize the importance of addressing emotional and spiritual dimensions: “within an organizational context this is linked to performance. Many organizations want high performance cultures and wellbeing is an opportunity for them to get there.”

Leadership’s role in cultivating wellbeing

B2B marketing leaders wield considerable influence in fostering supportive work environments. Lawrence highlights two pivotal areas of impact: nurturing a culture of wellbeing within their teams and leveraging marketing expertise to drive organizational cultural transformation. 

“Marketing members also have personal lives and those personal lives are going to impact the way they work, which is going to impact their overall performance. But beyond that, I feel that when it comes to really transforming a culture, it’s worth seeing them as customers external to the organization.”

By viewing employees as key customers and embracing a human-centered approach, Lawrence says marketing leaders can foster environments where wellbeing thrives:

“ABM and communication skills are so valuable in positioning wellbeing and spreading the word! Those skills can then be leveraged internally to really transform cultures by highlighting to employees that the company actually cares about them. In my experience, this is so important in terms of supporting wellbeing. If you work for an organization that you feel really cares about you as an individual, this has a huge impact on your motivation, on your mental wellbeing and on your performance.”

For more information about ABM, learn the six-stage 1:1 process tailored for B2B marketers written by Propolis Expert Robert Norum.

Effective strategies and initiatives

Lawrence shares insights into effective strategies employed by forward-thinking organizations. These include creating listening cultures, implementing educational initiatives, and reevaluating job design to mitigate stress inducing factors. 

“The leading companies that really take this seriously, they very much focus on listening. So it’s going to be similar to customer insight and experience, but focused on employee insight experience. They listen to their employees to understand what the issues are, where people are struggling with and where they need support. This way, they create a listening culture, a culture where people feel safe to share their feelings.”

Additionally, he emphasizes the importance of authentic communication and genuine managerial support in cultivating a culture of trust and wellbeing.

“It’s not just about making people aware and creating educational programs. It’s also about looking at job design. Is this person applying their skill set to do the work? And often our stress is created by a sense that we have too much to do. This is what we hear time and time again. Our mental health is challenged because we are being asked to do work that we just can’t do. If you’re being asked to do four people’s jobs that of course is stressful.”

Overcoming challenges in remote work environments

With the rise of remote and hybrid work models, organizations face unique challenges in maintaining employee wellbeing. Lawrence recommends having structured communication channels to combat isolation and loneliness. He reiterates the role of leadership in setting the tone for genuine, human-centered interactions amidst virtual workspaces:

Gallup did some research last year on the role and importance of managers, and what they found is that if you have one authentic conversation with your manager just once a week, that has an enormous impact on mental health and on wellbeing. It can just be a check-in but that conversation isn’t about let’s go through your to-do list and make sure you’re doing everything. Of course that’s part of it, but it’s more about how you’re doing as a person: ‘how was your weekend? What did you do?’, showing a genuine interest in you as a person. This has an enormous impact on culture. The challenge we have is that many managers are not comfortable having that kind of conversation.”

Navigating misconceptions and future trends 

Addressing misconceptions surrounding mental health is paramount, with Lawrence cautioning against superficial approaches akin to ‘wellbeing washing’: 

“This is a term because it’s become a trendy thing and there are organizations who are ticking boxes. I see this all the time, but people see through that and they’ll know whether an organization generally cares about them, or whether they’re just saying the right thing because it’s politically correct.”

Looking ahead, he foresees a future where mental health awareness is seamlessly integrated into organizational DNA, with B2B marketing leaders playing a pivotal role in shaping this shift.

“Line managers are the bridge, because what we often see is that senior leaders have the right intentions, the board has the right intentions, but the bridge between them and the people on the ground are the line managers. If the line managers are struggling themselves, it’s very hard for them to promote and enable wellbeing in their teams. Managers need to be the role model of the behaviors they want to see.” 

As mental wellbeing takes center stage in organizational agendas, B2B marketing leaders stand at the forefront of this transformative journey. By embracing a holistic approach, fostering supportive cultures, and championing genuine human connections, they have the power to drive sustainable performance and create workplaces where every individual thrives.

“We want to create a culture that is really positive and supportive, that leads to retention, low cost recruitment and sustained high performance through the journey of change. That’s what I hear many organizations are trying to do, so that they become an employer of choice which requires what I call ‘radical collaboration’ to really happen.”

If you need help to make wellbeing a strategic priority, check out Wellbeing at Work.

Join Propolis, the global community for B2B marketing leaders

Related Articles

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on your website. Read more about cookies policy.