New beginnings

Rachael Forsberg

22

September

2021

My little girl started primary school recently. How did I feel? Nervous, excited, curious as to how she will adapt to being in a school environment. Hoping that she will thrive and enjoy her time in the classroom. It got me thinking about this time of year, children starting school, students going off to university and leaving home for the first time and new graduates starting their first jobs. That mixture of emotions, the unknown, the possibilities. So, what is important during this time? Looking back with an older and wiser view of life I would say ‘looking after our physical and emotional wellbeing’, so we can feel good and be at our best during these exciting but often challenging times.

If we think of our lives and careers as marathons, not sprints, if we want to be sustainable and high performing throughout our lives, then yes, our mental wellbeing is absolutely a priority. The habits we form at the early stages of our lives will shape how we feel and perform throughout our lifetimes.

In my work I deliver many sessions to interns and new recruits as part of induction programmes on topics such as building resilience, getting good sleep and mental wellbeing. I am so pleased that these topics are now being seen, by many organisations, as just as important in an induction programme as other topics such as company rules, safety, diversity and inclusion.

And yes, those skills-based classes are so important, but we also need to think on a broader basis. I was reading an article in ‘People Management’ sharing recent research that indicated that one off “wellbeing classes do not improve workers’ mental health”. They state that it needs to be the role of “management to comprehensively consider and address the structures of work which cause harm through stress, trauma and uncertainty” to create a culture where mental wellbeing is talked about and addressed by the organisation as a whole. You can read the full article here. At byrne·dean we see first-hand the powerful and positive impact that our company wide wellbeing training programmes can have. Our programmes include sessions designed to empower leaders to think about where workplace stresses come from and what they can do to address them and also equip them with the confidence and competence to engage in mental health conversations more readily within their teams. You can read an excerpt about the impact of one of our recent wellbeing programmes below;

"Employee assistance programme (EAP) usage increased by approximately 50% as a direct result of the training, reflecting a huge uplift in the number of people who were seeking to support themselves and others at this challenging time."

"Overall feedback was positive, and participants felt reassured and supported as a result of the training, with a strong level of engagement throughout. Over 300 staff were trained across three key areas within the business including retail, field sales and head office."