The football table is in the skip – and not before time.

Back in the dotcom days I ran an internet business – we ticked all the boxes: moved from the west end to Farringdon, we had an over the top marketing campaign, we dressed down every day, and, of course, we had the obligatory table football in the middle of our café style break out area.

And it drove me nuts.

If people used it, I’d be annoyed that they weren’t working and if they didn’t, I worried they were all unhappy and about to leave. After 3 months we got rid of it to the disappointment of absolutely no one.

Watch the vlog here:

And since then there have been any number of pointless gimmicks which supposedly helped employee engagement and belonging virtual golf and a replica formula one car were two of the more outlandish examples I remember. Hopefully they are now also in a skip somewhere.

But to be slightly more charitable, what this rather gimmicky approach was doing was recognising the need to give employees a bit of a time out, to switch off from work for a few minutes and in effect to help them look after their mental health.

Pre-covid, there had already been a very clear trend for employers to do a lot more in this area but it was still one of a number of issues HR and talent teams were dealing with.

No longer.

Wellbeing is the number one people issue right now and by a considerable margin. From a short term perspective, organisations now understand that wellbeing is more profound than football tables and beanbags, and that they need to look at it much more holistically, from leadership styles and inclusive corporate cultures, to embracing flexible working as the norm not the exception.

Longer term, I am very optimistic that an ongoing focus on employee wellbeing could actually help facilitate a move to a kind of more caring capitalism, wouldn’t that be nice.

For Talent Acquisition Leaders, communicating their organisations approach to wellbeing is a crucial element of the recruitment experience and your wider employer brand.

We’ve been speaking to a large number of employers who are urgently and radically re-thinking their Employee Value Proposition, as if they didn’t have enough on their plate already.

Employer Brand has always been one of the most important elements of our TA benchmark programme, of the 11 areas we look it, it is unfailingly in the top 3 , along with candidate experience and D&I.

So understanding how your employer brand performs compared to your competitors and the market more widely is more important than ever, and the link to our benchmark programme is in this post.

In concluding, employee wellbeing isn’t a productivity silver bullet, providing people with a meaningful job is still the most important thing, but for employers who can combine the two effectively, they won’t just come through covid crisis, they’ll have a powerful platform for long term success ……and no need for table football.

By the way, if you have any examples of your own that people have used stick them in the comments and we’ll do a top 10 worst gimmicks in the September edition of our TALiNT International magazine

Benchmark Programme:

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