THURSDAY 16 SEP 2021 1:37 PM


Real-time insights agency, the Pulse Business, and communications recruiting company, Whitney Murray, have released the results of its latest Communication Index Pulse. The study revealed that 87% of comms leaders support wellbeing initiatives, despite one in five being embarrassed to share their own vulnerabilities.

The Communications Index Pulse found that CEO’s are cautious when displaying vulnerability, due to fears of loading more pressure onto other employees that have their own worries. One respondent, a CEO of a global agency says, “I will show my vulnerabilities where it feels appropriate and will be beneficial to my team and my business because it makes them see we are all human. However, I don’t believe unloading my vulnerabilities in an open and unfiltered way is helpful for the confidence and well-being of my team.”

Imogen Osborne, owner of The Pulse Business, says, “This Pulse has highlighted the reticence of senior comms leaders to show their vulnerabilities at work. Sharing your fallibilities and how to deal with these could prove to be very inspiring for younger members of the team.”

Improved mental health and wellbeing initiatives were found to result in a significant reduction in staff attrition. Employee motivation and productivity were also found to improve when internal comms teams openly communicated business activity. “Employees want to know that their company is doing the right thing and helping them or their colleagues through these exceptionally difficult times,” says a senior comms practitioner.

The communications leaders were asked to identify the best ways to support mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. Securing significant funding to enable adequate investment was the most impactful for 28%, followed by encouraging senior leaders to talk openly about their own challenges for 22%, and offering EQ training to line managers for 19%. EQ training refers to emotional intelligence training, which enables managers to communicate more effectively with their direct reports.

Despite traditional hesitancy to show vulnerability within leadership teams, the study found that leaders are evolving to understand the value of an open culture surrounding mental wellbeing. “Investing in mental health and well-being is investing in your people and the culture of the firm. A motivated, supported workforce is a more productive workforce which has a positive impact on the bottom line,” says a managing director in the financial sector.

The study was conducted in late August 2021 through an online survey of 950 communications leaders in both on-house and agency MD roles.