Does your company really care or is it care washing?

Does your company really care or is it care washing?
The Media Leader Jobs

Companies offering perks to help related to mental health and wellbeing, but not addressing the root of stress and pressure of their employees, could be guilty of care washing.

It’s not always easy to tell if the company you work for is genuinely supportive of the workforce or trying to enhance its PR profile. From mental health days to virtual counselling, there are so many ways companies “appear” to prioritise the wellbeing of their employees. But digging into the specifics a little more, it’s sometimes a different story entirely. And this can take various forms.

Your company might offer perks like free cooked meals, but only to encourage people to stay in the office and work longer hours. There may be a chill out area that nobody has time to use. It might be a mental health seminar hosted… during a lunch break.

Your boss may encourage you to speak up if you’re struggling with your workload, but pile more onto your plate. And if you bring up overworking, your concerns may be dismissed.

It could be not providing adequate time off for mental health conditions or fostering a culture of presenteeism where employees are worried about taking time off to recover.

Also, it could be employees simply not knowing where wellbeing initiatives can be found, or how to access them.

Announcing to the world that you provide stand-up desks and lunchtime yoga classes, but not lessening the overall stress and pressure on employees in the first place, is classic care washing.

When workers feel gaslit

Is this ringing any bells? If it is, you’re not alone. A recent poll of workers in the UK reported that on average, 38% of employees think their company is guilty of care washing.

But some age groups believe it more than others. For example, 54% of Gen Zs, and 52% of Millennials believed their company was guilty of care washing, while 42% of Gen X, and 29% of Baby Boomers agreed.

Furthermore, experts argue that care washing can be more damaging than doing nothing at all to support workers. Firstly, it does nothing to address issues faced by many, like chronic stress and fatigue. But also, appearing to be supportive publicly — but continuing with practices that directly impact people’s psychological health — undermines trust, and workers are likely to feel gaslit.

While mental health resources at work are a net positive, what employees really require are measures that address the root causes of their need for mental health help in the first place.

A cheaper gym membership won’t help someone who is too tired to work out, but a four-day week, flexible hours or strict ring-fencing of working hours may help people.

Workplace risk assessments for stress, and overall better management would have a more positive impact on employee wellbeing than the provision of free fruit in the office, a mindfulness weekend once a quarter and mental health first aiders.

Also, know when enough is enough. If you’ve voiced your concerns about care washing and feel ignored or don’t see any changes happening, then it may be time to move on. No job is worth your health.

There are plenty of workplaces who are more supportive and walk the walk instead of just talking the talk. And if it’s definitely a change you’re after, discover hundreds of exciting opportunities on the Media Leader Job Board right now.

Havas UK

If you’re looking for a company that nurtures talent and cultivates meaningful experiences for employees, check out the open creative roles at Havas Group UK. This integrated marketing and communications agency employs around 2,000 people in London’s Kings Cross and forms part of a wider global family of 22 agencies.

It is particularly proud of its health and wellbeing programme, Havas Equalise, which has evolved into a progressive, multi-layered, rich programme for staff. Regular exercise sessions, one-to-one personal development coaching and a “Wellness Wednesday” that offers drop-in mindfulness sessions and wellbeing webinars are layered with keynote speakers, workshops, and lunch and learn sessions as well as culture building opportunities like musical guests, social and networking events, and community outreach.

Experiential learning experiences such as Havas Lofts and Havas NextGen enable employees to build new skill sets and gain exposure to other markets. Femmes Forward works to empower the women at Havas and help accelerate the progression of their careers.


If employee wellbeing is paramount to you, explore the variety of current positions available at the BBC. The organisation believes that every employee has a role in building a creative, inclusive culture that’s full of opportunity. In order to help its staff to thrive, produce their best work and feel valued for their output, the broadcasting company invests in a wide range of professional development programmes.

Along with “myConversation” (manager review twice annually), high performance is rewarded through “myRecognition” and holds leaders to account through 360 reviews and the Leadership Index. From new parent and carer leave policies to menopause support, flexible working and a comprehensive wellbeing package (including online health assessments and courses for staff to develop their resilience skills at work), the BBC is committed to offering support and flexibility when needed.

Bauer Media Group

Experience a similar dedication to inclusion and employee engagement at Bauer Media Group which has open roles available across programming, commercial, branded content, editorial, marketing, comms, finance and HR. Bauer Media has a strong reputation for taking mental health and wellbeing seriously.

It supports initiatives across the entire business from internal programmes and courses, to consumer-facing campaigns and initiatives. Not only does Bauer have 70 trained mental health first aiders, the Bauer Academy (its award winning education business) provides training, support, and guidance on wellbeing practice to the entire workforce and a host of global clients.

For more career opportunities and to find a role in a company with a supportive work environment, visit Media Leader Job Board today

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