Well-being washing: Company welfare only in facade

Il woke or colour washing, presa di posizione e sostegno da parte dei brand a una causa aderente ai propri scopi a cui si è soliti associare un colore che la rappresenti, ha una nuova frontiera: il well-being washing, ovvero «quell’insieme di attività volte a dipingere, internamente e spesso esternamente, una realtà come attenta al benessere delle sue persone, sebbene le cose vadano in maniera totalmente diversa».

 


Considerato uno tra i principali driver di scelta di un’organizzazione dai giovani talenti, specialmente se appartenenti alla Generazione Z, il well-being viene ormai considerato elemento imprescindibile quando si fa application per una posizione lavorativa, ma spesso finisce per diventare una mera leva strategica invece che parte integrante della cultura aziendale di un’organizzazione. È qui che subentra un ‘benessere di facciata’ costruito a tavolino in cui le imprese si mostrano intente ad organizzare attività e promuovere servizi che beneficiano al personale soltanto in apparenza.
What are, however, the reasons that push companies to do well-being washing?

1️⃣ Lack of listening to the needs of employees: not listening to staff risks fuelling the discontent of individuals or may lead to the adoption of a standardised approach that does not correspond to the real needs of employees;

2️⃣ Lack of overview: the well-being of the company is theoutput of a process at the basis of which is the understanding of the complexity of the individuals who make up a team. Not having an overview, leads to actions one shot and not a long-term sustainable strategy that will make employees not only happier, but also more productive;

3️⃣ Stigmatizing mental health: if it is true that «There is no health without mental health», as the WHO states, it is equally true that mental health for individuals and companies is still something strongly stigmatized and underestimated despite the phenomenon of burn out has taken more and more foot in recent years.

Exactly as in the case of greenwashing, to position itself as companies attentive to the well-being of employees and not really be so, even if for a short period, involves several risks including:

❌ Loss of credibility and consumer confidence and stakeholder

❌ Damage to the brand reputation;

❌ Damage to the brand image;

❌ Negative word of mouth online and offline;

❌ Reputational crisis

❌ Increase in employee turnover ;


So what can a company do to avoid slipping into these practices? First, the ideal would be to start from your own vision and try to bring the focus in un’altra direzione: da ‘questo è ciò che facciamo oggi per le nostre persone’ a ‘questo è ciò che vogliamo fare per le nostre persone’, provando a comprendere le esigenze reali dei dipendenti, ascoltandoli e capendo come l’azienda può rispondervi e contribuirvi.


Moreover, abbracciare un impegno a lungo termine for corporate well-being, with the right KPIs, the training of leader and the repetition of behaviors throughout the company organization chart, can encourage the transition and positive change to a corporate culture in which well-being is not only marketing but a value to convey to potential interested talents.

Once you understand how to create an organizational environment that really puts the needs of the workforce at the center, you have to implement a employer branding useful to communicate the commitments made and to demonstrate how the company takes care of its employees and its consumers.

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