Innovate UK invests £500,000 in workplace wellbeing AI

A Bournemouth-based workplace wellbeing start-up has secured a £500,000 Innovate UK Continuity Loan to scale its analytics platform.

Founded in 2018, People Matter is working closely with the likes of Experian and Microsoft while building on gathering momentum.

“We think there needs to be a more data led, systematic approach to tackling unhappiness in the workplace,” says Nigel Winship, Managing Director, People Matter.

“And while businesses may have a sense of how their staff are holding up, there’s a lack of tangibility when measuring something like burnout. For staff, wellbeing policies can often feel more like a broad-brush stroke than personalised support.”

According to research from Perkbox, the number of Brits experiencing stress in work has increased by 20% since 2018. Today, 79% feel stressed by or at their jobs.

Okina, the People Matter app, works like a Fitbit for mental health, monitoring and improving employee wellbeing. Rather than just running surveys, it engages users through activities such as journaling while also measuring their wider digital footprint.

“Online advertisers are continuously analysing our digital exhausts, monitoring behaviours and searching for clues on what we might buy. Our aim is to harness that power for the user’s own benefit, finding ways to improve their mental health.”

The People Matter wellbeing analytics platform looks at how environmental factors such as digital workplace communication impacts on mental health. This insight is then used to suggest interventions at both an individual and organisational level, aimed at creating happier, more resilient businesses.

Okina will combine these data points to create a mental health score and display progress over time. It can even highlight issues that individuals may not have acknowledged yet, and surface useful content based on what’s going on in their life.

Businesses benefit by overseeing anonymised wellbeing data; comparing different locations, departments or age ranges, but never at a granular level where individuals could be identified or assessed.

“By bringing a data lens to wellbeing, businesses – particularly those growing, merging or adapting – can monitor how the evolving culture is impacting the team.”