IPA President Josh Krichefski launches People First Promise

The People First Promise will demonstrate the ad industry's commitment to employees’ mental health and wellbeing

IPA President Josh Krichefski is calling on all advertising agency leaders to demonstrate their commitment to their people’s mental health and wellbeing by signing up to the People First Promise. The Promise is accompanied by a new Adland Wellbeing Lab and is underpinned by new IPA-commissioned data into mental health in the workplace.

The People First Promise

The People First Promise involves agencies providing evidence of their various activity that supports their people’s mental health and wellbeing, under the three interconnected and interdependent categories of Empower, Support and Prevent.

  • Empower relates to empowering and educating individuals within the workplace to help them find their resilience and track their own mental health.
  • Support relates to what the business can do to help their people, particularly those struggling with genuine mental health problems.
  • Prevent relates to senior leader accountability and involvement by ensuring reliable processes, checks and action plans are in place and regularly monitored.

After successful assessment of their evidence, the agency will earn a People First Promise badge of honour that demonstrates their duty of care to their current employees’ mental health and wellbeing, and that can also help to attract future talent.

Those agencies already fulfilling the relevant activity in these areas will be able to sign up to the People First Promise from today. For those who need support or inspiration to gain this badge of honour, the IPA has launched an accompanying online portal, Adland’s Wellbeing Lab.

Adland’s Wellbeing Lab

The new IPA Adland Wellbeing Lab is an online hub that curates resources, advice and training to help support the mental health and wellbeing of employees. It is also separated into the three categories of: Empower, Support and Prevent:

Resources within the Empower section include the Mentalhealth-UK template, where individuals can download their own wellbeing plan to help them to identify what good wellbeing looks like for them. An example of a resource in the Support section is the free wellbeing champions training provided by Unmind which includes a step-by-step guide to recruiting and managing your champions and all the materials you need to promote the role. While an example of a resource in the Prevent section is Self Space who can work with organisations to deliver effective mental health strategies.

The Lab is accessible to all and will continually be updated and added to. In addition, the IPA will be hosting a series of workshops this year to showcase best-in-class examples and best practice resources.

New IPA-commissioned data on Mental Health in the Workplace

The launch of the Promise and Lab is underpinned by new IPA-commissioned data, which reveals the mental health support that UK employees are aware of and have access to in the workplace - on a nationally representative level (1,265 UK working adults) and within the advertising, marketing and PR professions (100 UK adults – referred to collectively as ‘adland’ below).

The findings highlight the areas companies can address to support their people’s mental health and wellbeing, including: creating and embedding mental health policies; providing mental health champions and training; ensuring they help manage their people’s workloads and that they make reasonable adjustments where required, for which the Adland Wellbeing Lab provides invaluable resources.

Some key findings:

  • 49% of all employees, and 78% of all adland employees, agree that their workplace should be doing more to support mental health and wellbeing at work
  • Less than a quarter of all employees (22%), and only a third of adland employees (34%), say their employer has a mental health policy
  • 17% of all employees, and 22% of adland employees, say their workplace has mental health first aiders/champions
  • 15% of all employees, and 30% of adland employees, say their company supplies mental health training
  • 56% of all employees, and a considerable 83% of adland employees, are concerned about taking time off if there’s a high workload
  • 21% of all employees, and 34% of adland employees, say their employer has the ability to make reasonable adjustments to support mental health

Says, IPA President Josh Krichefski:

If our people and our businesses are to thrive, it’s time to put their health and wellbeing at the forefront of everything we do, and prove we mean what we say.

IPA President Josh Krichefski

"I am a firm believer that it is much easier to put in place guardrails to help prevent poor mental health and wellbeing than it is to treat it. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. But this takes commitment – demonstrable commitment - and investment from the top down.

"It is one thing to launch a policy or initiative – and that’s a great start, but what’s crucial is to embed it into the culture and everyday workings of your organisation. We must integrate mental health and wellbeing and not view it as an add-on. This is why it is vital that agency leaders commit to and evidence their activity in this area, and in doing so can earn the IPA People First Promise badge of honour."

By supporting and empowering our people, and working to prevent harms, I truly believe our people and our businesses will thrive now and in the future.

IPA President Josh Krichefski


Access Adland’s Wellbeing Lab and find out more about the People First Promise
Last updated 01 May 2024