28th Apr 2021
3 Min Read

Tackling taboo topics in the workplace

People & Change

Do you remember when talking about your mental health at work was off-limits and considered a massive overshare?

Unwritten social rules dictated that certain topics were off the table. But the Covid catalyst meant we had a collective shorthand to point to. We were ‘all in the same boat’. It was ok not to be ok. It always should have been – but the stigmas associated with taboo topics made them impossible to explore openly and, as a consequence, society and therefore workplaces became risky spaces to share your experience.

But now, the floodgates are open. Organisations are restructuring their benefits, examining their policies and putting mental health centre stage. For some, the gesture is still more performative than productive. But the conversation has well and truly started.

So, what’s next? From periods to politics, menopause to money, what are the taboo topics lurking in the shadows? And how can we in internal comms and HR, help bring them into the light?

Join head of client experience Russ Norton and our guests Brenda Wong, people associate at Prolific and Debbie Bullock, wellbeing lead at Aviva, for a Q&A session as we explore the tough-to-talk-about topics still to be tackled in our workplaces and how we can surface them sensitively, telling stories that help break stigmas.

Our panel

  • Russ Norton, head of client experience, scarlettabbott
  • Brenda Wong, people associate, Prolific
  • Debbie Bullock, wellbeing lead, Aviva

Watch the session

Want to skip to a specific section? Here are the timestamps:

00:00 Intro to the session

01:40 How have the past 18 months changed our mindsets about taboo topics?

08:47 Russ, what conversations are you having with clients about tough topics?

11:57 Brenda in your experience, coming from a start up that scaled up, is it easier to tackle taboos in a smaller organisation?

15:06 Debbie, have you seen the wellbeing remit change in the past year?

18:25 Looking at the recent Basecamp controversy, what risks do we face when we shut conversations down?

22:15 Common taboos include mental health, sexual harassment, religion, politics and money. Which should we be tackling?

30:52 How can we support, empower and educate line managers to have these conversations with their teams?

38:29 How can internal comms teams build a business case for these conversations and campaigns?

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