Neil Fogarty, 17 November 2020
When we launched the business in 2019, we ran a series of meetings with organisations to gauge sentiment towards solutions to poor mental health. It was a struggle to talk to decision makers about employee mental wellbeing with most being either unsympathetic or hiding behind their use of an Employee Assistance Program. A sidenote to this would be how many organisations would describe their EAP as ‘OK’ but never more than that. The common counter to investing in employee mental health was all around mental wellbeing economics.
Organisations felt that they simple ‘haven’t got the budget’ for it.
So, for the rest of 2019 and a large part of 2020, we stuck at the development of our Conversational AI so that we could create a ‘listening space’. This is a space where people can become increasingly comfortable in talking to an AI Psychotherapist. Along the way, our own architecture matured and the offering became increasingly comprehensive.
During the summer of 2020, we recruited our first two employees – both in sales. This was part of our approach to soften the market and prepare the way for full product launch in January 2021.
Within ten weeks, we had spoken to key decision makers in fifteen organisations. This led to fifteen second meetings and then fifteen third (technical) meetings. As someone from a business development background, to have a 100% conversion rate at each point in the process has been pretty amazing. People who know me will tell you that I am a cynical sort – so I don’t talk about 100% conversion lightly!
When we catch up to talk about our day / week, the key message coming through to the sales team is that it is no longer a decision based on the financial ROI of mental wellbeing but more about social value.
However, no matter how logical it is to provide mental wellbeing support to every single employee / stakeholder in the organisation, cash is still in charge.
What prompts this blog is the duality of UK government means that, while we stood on our doorstep to clap front-line workers during the first lockdown, public sector pay may now be frozen.
We are having many values-driven conversations where, universally, organisations say that they need to support their people through these harsh times.
The big shifts for us are that:
- organisations are moving on from talking about the importance of mental wellbeing to one of action
- current solutions are too focused on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which fails to address 98% of an individual’s psychology; people want an effective aid
- lack of resource and increasing demand means that too many people are ‘left hanging’
Now that enterprises are seeing the validity of AI Psychotherapy, we are helping in setting out their Business Cases.
I figured that it will be useful to share the standard graphic that we use at the start of the Business Case:
When we talk about Projected Economic Impact (PEI), the easiest and quickest approach is to see how much we lose per employee each year through non-productivity due to anxiety and mild-moderate depression.
The average UK salary is currently £30,000 which gives us just shy of £2,000 per person per year.
To tailor it to your organisation, calculate 6.66% of the pre-tax wage bill in your business and then divide it by the number of employees.
This can be a painful total in itself but this doesn’t give us the full picture.
The Discovery Workshop that kicks off our Pathfinder project includes building the financial argument.
This includes a how’s of different metrics which include:
- Corporate Revenue Targets
- Individual Revenue Targets
- Resistance to Change
- Project Overrun
- Boardroom Dynamics
- Team Dynamics
- Employee Engagement
- Customer Satisfaction
- Average cost per outsourced (third party) employee
Every corporate activity is dependent upon individual psychology and communications.GYRE+REEF is a psycholinguistic-based toolkit where the only limit to its application is the imagination and ambition of the client.The best way to build the business case and the proof-of-concept is through our Pathfinder Project – be sure to ask me for more details.
Neil Fogarty is an experienced business leader who set up his first SaaS software development company in 1997.
He has been building businesses through collaboration for over 30 years and is a co-founder and the CEO of Litha Group – a Conversational AI enterprise based in the UK.
Working within both SME and PLC environments, he has consulted Central Civil Government. Local Government and an international array of private sector clients as far afield as the Central Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean.
His primary role within Litha is that of strategy, governance, and investment of this omnichannel conversational AI company as it brings groundbreaking technologies to market.