What we've learnt in the last 12 months

Luke Gaydon   15 February, 2022

In the last 12 months we’ve spoken to hundreds of people about youdo’s mission to realign our connection with each other and with the planet. We’ve interviewed business and HR leads, conducted market research via online surveys (for more detail on this see our blog) and gone through beta testing of the youdo platform with companies in the UK, Europe and the United States. Needless to say we learnt a great deal in the process! After analysing survey responses, questionnaires, interview transcripts, slack and email threads, we identified three key learnings.

A challenge that we will return to in this blog, and in the future, is how to improve employee engagement with wellbeing programmes. We’ve seen an increase in investment in wellbeing and a similar increase in employees saying ‘we want more of this’ however this doesn’t seem to have yet translated into consistently higher engagement levels.

Two of our beta-testers were companies of similar sizes with offices all over the world. Our onboarding process for both companies was the same; an introduction note from the person leading the testing, a follow up from youdo, a Webex session (per timezone) to demo the youdo app and the creation of a Slack channel for ongoing comms. Both companies got off to a great start, lots of activity, great feedback and some difficult questions! However after a week, Company A’s usage decreased (and continued to do so over the remainder of the test period) while Company B’s held steady and increased towards the end of the test period. The key difference that we were able to identify between the two companies was that Company B’s nominated lead took an active participation role in the testing whereas Company A’s did not.

Company B’s lead got involved and where/when necessary, took responsibility for keeping the momentum going. The result - more usage, better engagement and happier testers.

Mindfulness, dog walking, running, yoga, HIIT, painting, weights, cooking. This is a sample of the different groups created during our beta testing and it underlines one of the key challenges when creating wellbeing programmes - wellbeing is very subjective. People find inspiration and motivation from doing different things and it’s difficult / impossible to find one activity that will engage and inspire everyone. As a senior HR lead commented to us “I know that certain activities, e.g. sports are interesting to some of my team but I also know that they are not at all interesting to the rest. So a company step challenge is only ever going to attract a certain percentage. What do I do for the rest of the team?”

We’ve seen the same diversity of views when it comes to choosing where to spend youdo Earth Tokens. The majority of the companies we spoke to had existing relationships with charities and organisations that supported a range of issues including the environment, disease prevention, education and food poverty. We saw companies who are focused on having an impact in their local community and others who had a more global outlook. We have two environmental impact projects in the youdo portfolio; reforestation and ocean conservation and whilst both resonated well with the people we spoke to, it was also clear that they wanted the flexibility to be able to select where their Earth Tokens would be spent.

Whether you’re supporting employee health or company health (or in youdo’s case doing both), people are looking for tools that are inclusive and flexible.

One point we heard consistently was the desire for people to have more of a say in what their company is doing to promote better employee health and better company health. Some of the most positive user feedback we received came from people who felt that youdo empowered them a) to create their own wellbeing journey and b) to determine how and where they contribute to the environment and social impact of the company they work for.

When employees are engaged in the environmental and social activities of a company, employee health and business health are boosted as one.