Getting To Know You: Richard Glynn, founder, 87%

Richard Glynn is a former CEO of Ladbrokes plc and Sporting Index plc and is passionate about mental wellbeing in the workplace and his latest venture, 87%, is a wellbeing assessment platform that empowers users to understand, measure and improve their mental wellbeing through personalised guidance.

Here Glynn tells us that by aggregating anonymised user data and presenting it in a user-friendly dashboard, 87% also allows businesses to diagnose, monitor and invest in the mental health of their workforce.

What do you do at your company?

87% is a clinically-led, digital platform that empowers users to take charge of their wellbeing, stay healthy and benefit from improved happiness. It’s our mission to drive a change in people’s mindsets from a misguided belief that mental health is only for the unfortunate few who suffer from mental ill health. We want to help all people and businesses to build positive mental health and to embed positive wellbeing habits across business.

For users, after a detailed, personal and private assessment with guaranteed confidentiality, data is fed into our intelligent diagnostic tools. Via our easy-to-use app, each individual gets a personalised experience, with tailored content according to their goals or needs. This could be advice, exercises, fitness enhancing programmes, life coaching or coping strategies, all from a team of clinical psychologists, to help them build healthy, enduring habits. We also seamlessly connect them with a full range of third party professional support.

For businesses, this data is aggregated and anonymously delivered to managers through interactive dashboards, providing deep insights into the wellbeing of their staff and the health of the organisation. Managers can see how their staff are faring, focus on the areas of greatest need and develop better long-term mental wellbeing, reducing stress and absenteeism and increasing productivity. Managers correlate the data with other important HR metrics and thereby use data and insight to drive and monitor strategies, not instinct.

Right now, the team is focused on securing funding in the new year so that we can invest more into sales and marketing, data insight, user experience, customer service, all to better engage with our end users, to deliver better insight to our clients and to accelerate our movement.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

I came up with the original idea when I had the privilege to act as a Trustee at Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. I witnessed first hand how their investment into the mental wellbeing of the end users (the children) and all those around them, quantifiably improved clinical and productivity outputs.

I gestated on what I had witnessed and what felt to me like the Holy Grail of business. That is Investing in the health of your key assets, your staff, thus helping them, their families and society and as a direct consequence, enhance productivity and deliver tangible returns.

I then realised that through the combination of digital delivery platforms, psychology and gamification, this aspiration could become a reality. What was needed to bring this to life was a platform that made mental wellbeing tangible and measurable for the individual and the organisation. Only with measurement can we improve.

Who do you admire?

I am inspired by the likes of John Cadbury, The Seiffs, Solomon Guggenheim and Titus Salt because they pioneered this idea in the early 19th Century – in a way, 87%’s mission is 200 years in the making.

These titans of industry grew vast business empires whilst creating long-lasting social purpose legacies for society. They invested in their employees, spawning a generation of harder working and healthier staff. Take the Cadburys, who built an entire village (Bourneville) to alleviate cramped living conditions for their workers. Consumers also engaged more with these brands due to their authenticity and purpose.

Unfortunately, the overriding. profit-making ethos seems to have come to dominate and perhaps exclude other aspects of the relationship between business and society. The irony is that it is now far easier for businesses to engage with their staff and customers, through a myriad of digital platforms.

That is what 87% has set out to achieve. Call it ‘Philanthrocapitalism 20.20 ‘– we want organisations to recognise the benefits of bringing mental wellbeing to life, using data to really understand the needs of their staff and benefit in return

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

There are many situations especially in business where errors have consequences and I have been lucky to have some remarkable mentors and to have been able, with support, to face up to mistakes. Learning from these experiences and, in turn, learning to be empathetic and supportive, has shaped my career.

The issue  for many is not whether other people feel you have made mistakes but how you feel about your own performance. If anyone says that the impact of a personal failure doesn’t hurt emotionally, they have either not been there or are nor being honest with themselves.

The recovery cycle is well documented and can be tough; from accepting and grieving for what may have been, to learning how not to repeat it, acknowledging and then ultimately rebounding stronger. It is  a pivotal evolutionary process available to all who are open enough to embrace it.

What defines your way of doing business?

I embarked on a career of trying to work with teams to transform business many years ago, developing an approach known as Values Based Transformation (VBT). This is a non-judgemental alignment of the stated and accepted values of a business with its internal goals processes and rythms. We create a narrative that employes can align with and focus on, especially in tough times, whilst acknowleging the obstacles both internal and external posed by those values.

This attracts people to the business who compliment that culture. For example, a hedge fund’s values may be pure profit; some can get on board with this, some may find it unpalateable. The values of a charity will be different, perhaps deterring those with greater financial motivations. As long as the business is aware of the perceptions, it can align processes and motivations with this in mind.

With VBT as a framework, leaders can overlay ther own personal values and aim for high performance at all levels. My ideal would be a high performance learning culture based on delivering the aligned aspirations of the employees and the business, imbued with a shared sense of clear purpose, including a personal and corporate duty to give back to the society that fosters such ambition in the first place. The team at 87% aspire to this in everything they do.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

Try to enjoy every little bit of it and suck the marrow out of every experience good or bad. Life nowadays is hard enough especially for those starting out. Focus on what makes you excel and with effort you may just do so.

If there are two routes available to you, try to take the one – if at all possible – that means you can help and be supportive of others, whilst striving to fulfi lyour own ambitions.