NABS Launches New Ad Industry Wellbeing Model

NABS, the employee support organisation for the advertising and media industry, has launched a new model designed to revolutionise the way wellbeing is approached by the industry. The SHEPARD Model has been developed in line with the latest research into neuroscience and aims to give a complete view of wellbeing, and all its component parts, to allow individuals and organisations to better understand and improve wellbeing levels across the industry.

Mental and physical ill health have been proven to have a hugely negative impact on both the individual and the UK economy. Recent research found £35 billion is lost every year due to poor health – this equates to £10.6bn in sickness absence, £21.2bn in reduced productivity and £3.1bn in replacing staff who leave their jobs because of mental health-related reasons. A separate report commissioned by Prime Minister Theresa May in October found a staggering 300,000 people with a long-term mental health problem lose their job every year.

The problem also appears to be getting worse. Gallup found there has been a 15% drop in people reporting being happy or thriving over the past two years. This is the biggest drop they have ever recorded.

Research has also found that poor wellbeing is negatively impacting adland*. The industry has a higher than average turnover of staff; 30% against a national average of 10%. Last year NABS, which runs a range of support services for people in the industry, recorded a 67% increase in calls to its Advice Line from people looking for emotional support.

But research on what can be done to tackle this epidemichas found that interventions can have a hugely positive impact. It found that interventions which reach 1% of a population can result in a 6% decrease in mental health issues, meaning small changes can make a big difference.

NABS developed the SHEPARD Model to help tackle this issue. A first of its kind for the industry, the new model lets people and organisations see all the elements that make up wellbeing. It has identified seven elements:

The SHEPARD Model for Wellbeing:

  • Satisfaction– people feeling content and assessing their lives as being filled with opportunity, potential, meaning and purpose.
  • Health– people believing themselves to be, and being in a state of, wellness; in mind, body and spirit.
  • Emotions– people being able to regulate their emotions and feelings in a constructive and meaningful way.
  • Perceptions– people having positive perceptions of themselves and their environment.
  • Awareness– people being aware of, and making positive connections between, their thoughts, experiences, responsibilities and impact of their relationships.
  • Rewards– people feeling financially secure and empowered, and having a sense of status and purpose.
  • Diversity – people having varied, positive relationships, creating a sense of learning, belonging, community, social acceptance and trust.

These are designed for people to judge how they feel in regard to each element on a scale from distress, to languishing (basically meaning they’re just ‘okay’) all the way through to thriving. By breaking wellbeing into sections like this, SHEPARD allows people to better identify where they might need support.

For organisations, it allows them to consider wellbeing in a complete way as well as develop interventions and support across each element. This means they will be better able to help employees move towards thriving in all aspects of their lives, as well as understand the different factors that contribute to distress.

Diana Tickell, NABS CEO, commented: “We created SHEPARD because we need to think about wellbeing in a new way. Our services at NABS can help people move up the scale across all the elements in SHEPARD, but we can’t do it alone. We want to work with the industry to improve the wellbeing of everyone in adland. Together, we can help get everyone away from just surviving their day and instead actively thriving.”

NABS President, Karen Blackett OBE, commented: “We must do more to support our employees; this is not only a moral concern but also a business one. The people working in our industry are its lifeblood and we cannot afford to ignore their needs. It’s time for a more holistic view of wellbeing and how it is interconnected.”

The services NABS offers are designed to help people move up the scale across the elements. NABS is also now calling on the industry to work with it to improve the wellbeing of everyone in adland. One practical step workers in the industry should take is to become or identify the NABS Ambassadors within their organisation. But, they should start by considering the SHEPARD Model and how they are doing on a personal level across all the elements, as well as within their organisation. For more information visit the NABS website.


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