How Gymshark got proactive about workplace mental health
Prioritise Your Mind: Gymshark's mental wellbeing journey
Amanda Webb, Head of People Projects, and the Gymshark team discuss combatting stress, improving sleep and using mood-boosting food with Unmind.
Gymshark is a brand taking the global fitness apparel industry by storm. After experiencing a whopping 115% average international sales growth over two years, the scale-up was voted the UK’s fastest-growing fashion brand internationally on the Sunday Times Track 200. Amanda Webb, Head of People Projects, knew this performance could only be maintained and accelerated with a workforce firing on all cylinders.
Part of Amanda’s role is supporting Gymshark’s wellbeing agenda. “We want people to be their best selves. To do that, we need to support them physically, socially and financially, but also mentally.”
Gymshark recruited internal wellbeing enthusiasts to form ‘Healthy Minds’, a team to champion health initiatives. The purpose of the group is to support, educate and engage others in activities that holistically improve wellbeing. Under the value 'Prioritise your mind', Gymshark are committed to improving company-wide mental health. "Without them," says Amanda, "wellbeing at Gymshark would not be the success it is."
The fashion industry is subject to fluctuating workloads. Low seasons are a time for preparing and reinforcing, while high seasons – such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the summer Sales – see workloads quadruple. Gymshark wanted to empower its largely millennial workforce to proactively manage their wellbeing ahead of these busy periods, building resilience and increasing understanding.
While peak periods demand peak performance, Amanda wanted a workplace mental health solution that proactively improved Gymshark’s mental wellbeing all year round. Her objectives were threefold:
- To combat stress and promote mental health management.
- Give their entire workforce access to mental health support.
- Measurably improve the mental wellbeing of its workforce.
After examining the market, Amanda made the call. “We started proactively focusing on mental health in April 2019, when we launched Unmind,” she said. “We selected Unmind because of its credible background. It’s important that the information is scientifically backed.”
“In the first nine months, we’ve seen a 60% sign up rate, which is brilliant,” says Amanda. “And month on month we have a consistent engagement rate of around 20%.”
Shannon Woodward, Menswear Design Intern, said: “I find it most useful for combating stress. In the most stressful times – like the start of a season – the series helped me prioritise workloads and get in the right headspace.”
Paul Richardson, Executive Chairman, added: “Unmind as a platform has given everyone a real focus. Somewhere to go, somewhere to refer to. As we’ve grown, stresses have increased. So for us, bringing in Unmind has been really important.”
For Amanda, the wellbeing data and measurement Unmind provides has become key for decision-making. “We now have an organisation mental wellbeing index. We can see which teams have signed up and which haven’t, so that we’re informed as a business how best to support them.”
Ongoing mental health support
Amanda, Head of People Projects, said: “Before and since the launch campaign, the Unmind Client Success team have been really involved with Gymshark, exploring what we’re working on so that they can offer appropriate solutions for our workforce – there’s one-size-fits-all approach.”
Campaigning for health
To promote the launch of a new Series, ‘Food to Boost Mood’, which Amanda knew her team would really benefit from, we worked with Gymshark to run an internal campaign. It involved a free breakfast for all employees in their state of the art ‘Refuel restaurant’, during which recipes were shared for lunches to include food to boost energy and mood. The campaign saw great results, which can be seen below.
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Gymshark is one of many companies, including John Lewis & Partners, ASOS, and Just Eat, using Unmind to measurably improve the mental health of their workforces.