Why should we bring wellbeing into the workplace?
Wellbeing is in the workplace whether we like it or not, and the healthier your workforce the better your business will perform. Businesses in the FTSE 100 who have a robust wellbeing strategy are outperforming all of the others and evidence suggests that for every £1 invested in employee wellbeing your business will generate another £3. It’s hard to understand in 2019 how some boardrooms are still seeing employee wellbeing and mental health as a ‘fluffy subject’ and not seeing the direct links between employee energy and their business results.
How do you open a conversation about mental health in the workplace?
The stigma of mental health is the huge ‘wall of silence’ that exists around this subject. We choose not to speak about this subject because we fear saying something wrong and making someone feel embarrassed or awkward so we choose to say nothing. We don’t know how to open up the wellbeing conversation which makes us even less likely to start what could be a lifesaving conversation. The answer is in training your people on the right language to use in such circumstances. We should never say to somebody ‘I am very worried about your mental health’. They would go into a ‘shut down’ mode and find it far too invasive. If you say you have noticed a change in their energy levels (as part of a much wider conversation) they are far more likely to tell you what is going on in their life and the impact it is having on their wellbeing. As a counsellor I am trained to ‘notice, not interpret’ as it is far less judgemental and I share this with my clients.
What can we do to encourage employees to proactively enhance their own wellbeing?
Employees take on average six to eight years after the initial symptoms of poor mental health to seek professional advice. This is largely because they are not aware of the early indicators combined with the powerful stigma that prevents them from being honest and open about their mental wellbeing. To encourage employees to be proactive we need to invest time and resource into the workplace to help them understand their mental wellbeing better. We need to provide them with simple tools to measure their energy levels and create cultures where people want to flourish and live a healthier way of life.
What are the business risks if we fail to address these issues?
Teams that operate with high energy are successful, but teams that are not healthy and energised will never get anywhere near optimising performance. It feels like I am stating the obvious but the risks are high levels of absenteeism, poor employee engagement, high staff churn, inefficiency and reduced productivity. If your culture is not focussed on employee wellbeing, you will lose more staff to long term work related stress. It is evidence based that employees who have suffered stress related illness are very difficult to get back to work and businesses are exceptionally poor at dealing with these type of wellbeing issues.
How do we create the right culture of trust to create a stigma free workplace?
The tone has to be set from the very top of your organisation. My clients who realise the importance of senior executives sharing how mental health has touched their own lives are seeing a tangible cultural shift. When top executives talk openly about mental health it makes it much easier for all employees to feel safe to do so. All people managers should be trained on how to create a kinder culture that drives employee energy. It is evidence based that managers will not speak to employees about wellbeing because they do not feel qualified. The great news is they don’t need to be qualified but educated on the importance of becoming more personable and how to direct employees to get appropriate professional help.
David Beeney is a mental health advocate and a business advisor. David brings his personal experience of struggling with mental health problems, commercial background and business knowledge to help organisations implement mental health & wellbeing strategies within the workplace. David is committed to reducing the stigma of mental health in the workplace.
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** DEFAULT postresults.teaserlabel - en-GB **Financial Services
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‘The only constant is change’ has never rang more true and there is no facet of business that has not been changed dramatically by this year’s global events. It is not about adjusting to any ‘new normal’, it’s about making sure you can adapt adequately to this new, more rapid pace of change'. During May 2020, we produced a survey for our contacts to understand how their business was reacting to the pandemic and to gauge overall market sentiment. We received over 130 responses to key questions relating to their thoughts, reactions and predictions regarding the unprecedented level of change we are experiencing. Although market conditions are changing daily, the ease of lock down has brought a wave of positivity as we look to rebuild on the disruption of the past few months. With this in mind, the below report outlines some of the findings from our research, and our predictions for the future. Covid-19 survey
** DEFAULT postresults.teaserlabel - en-GB **General
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Most established organisations will have experienced difficult periods in the past. Businesses often go through peaks and troughs of activity, with profit and margin fluctuating and external conditions and pressures impacting the success of even the most well-prepared business. In fact, nearly 70% of business leaders say they’ve experienced at least one corporate crisis in the five years leading to 2019, according to PwC’s 2019 Global Crisis Survey. Despite this, it’s safe to say that most businesses around the world will never have gone through anything remotely like the current Covid-19 crisis. With 94% of the Fortune 1000 reporting Covid-19 disruptions and one-fifth of UK workers furloughed, it’s clear that Coronavirus is well and truly affecting workplaces and the wider economy. For business leaders, responding to and communicating the impacts of the virus to employees, stakeholders, clients and the wider public can be fraught with challenges, particularly for those who are inexperienced in crisis communications. There are, however, some simple strategies you can follow to help navigate your business through this time. Here is our top crisis management advice for business leaders: Communicate quickly and clearly During a crisis, unclear and inconsistent information can lead to people feeling unsure and demanding transparency and guidance. The influx of news, opinion and rumours around Covid-19 means many of us are experiencing information overload, but still aren’t sure what to believe and who to trust. That presents a clear opportunity for business leaders to practice effective crisis communication. According to McKinsey, good crisis communicators do the following: Provide a variety of information that responds to the needs of listeners, whether that’s business updates, reassurances around job safety or useful tools to support mental wellbeing. Communicate clearly, frequently. Repeat key messages to ensure they are absorbed. Be truthful, show vulnerability and promote transparency to help build loyalty. Sometimes you will have to deliver difficult messages, but doing so openly and with empathy will help your leadership. Encourage resilience, accentuate positive outcomes and messages and promote communal bonds. Help people to understand. A clear (and clearly communicated) vision or mantra on what the business is doing and what the outcomes will be can help people to see beyond the chaos and focus on the task at hand. Reach out for support Crisis management and communication is usually not the responsibility of just one person. While there is typically someone who leads the business through these times – usually the CEO – PwC research shows us that ownership of crises tends to be shared across functions including legal, risk and IT, with roles such as preparedness, response, communications and recovery spread across many business units. What’s more, this responsibility is often shared with external parties, with 74% of business leaders seeking help during or after their most serious crisis, according to PwC. Consider establishing a Coronavirus crisis team within your own workforce, made up of team members from across the business to contribute to everything from making key business decisions to communicating messages, encouraging workforce socialisation and sharing helpful resources. For more tips and insights into how to handle crisis management, take a look at resources from the Institute of Internal Communication on 'Coronvirus advice for internal communicators', and PwC's 'four essential crisis management lessons'. Plan for the future As “real life” feels indefinitely suspended and the world’s attention seems to permanently be on Covid-19, it can be easy to develop tunnel vision and focus only on the here and now. And while business leaders should certainly be in the moment to navigate the seemingly endless questions and challenges posed by Coronavirus, it’s critical to also be looking ahead to ensure that the decisions you make now don’t have a negative impact in the future. We don’t know what a post-Covid-19 business landscape might look like, but savvy business leaders will be factoring in enhanced technological solutions to allow for more remote working as well as looking at options for local suppliers and solutions. With billions of people living in closed-border countries - and the vast majority of workers residing in countries that have strict barriers to entry - we may see changes to everything from workforce mobilisation to supply chains. Businesses that utilise cloud systems, video interviewing software, digital conference calling programmes and other new technologies may find themselves with an advantage as we ease back into some sense of normality. Staffing during and after the Covid-19 crisis should be a major part of any business leaders’ strategy. Many businesses are now being faced with cost-cutting exercises that are leading to furlough and redundancies, which can help struggling businesses stay afloat to continue operations post-Covid-19. Any long-term crisis management strategy should include detail on building your workforce back up, whether that’s through bringing employees back off furlough, taking on contract workers or hiring new employees to add value as you build your business back up. Whichever your strategy, a specialist recruitment agency like Marks Sattin can help you to achieve this objective. At Marks Sattin, we’re working hard to ensure professionals and organisations in our key markets stay connected and have access to the best opportunities. Stay up to date with our latest news and industry insights in our blog section, or contact us to find out more about working together.
** DEFAULT postresults.teaserlabel - en-GB **Financial Services
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The professional accountancy bodies of UK and Ireland now boast more than half a million global members, with the accountancy profession contributing £59 billion to GDP in 2017 alone. It’s a crucial function of any modern society, particularly in the uncertain economic climate that has plagued the UK for the last few years. Activities and fees are high for accountants currently, and with accountancy and professional services firms consistently the biggest recruiters of graduates, it’s clear the demand for accountants remains high. While there are many considerations to make when it comes to entering or progressing your career in this field, one of the most important is whether you want to work in practice or industry. Both options – whether working in a firm of accountants or in-house - can lead to interesting and challenging work with opportunities for career development, but which is the right choice for you? Let’s explore both of these options. Practice Many accountants choose to start their careers working in practice, and the commercial appeal of the Big Four accountancy firms are continuing to make this option attractive to new accountants. We’ve seen some practice markets lose talent to industry in recent years, although the high standard of training accountants receive in practice will continue to appeal to both candidates and clients. This makes practice ideal for newly-qualified and qualified accountants who want to work with a range of clients across industries, developing technical skills and exposure to practices across service lines such as audit, tax and advisory. The variety in practice makes it extremely appealing, as does the client management element of most practice roles. The client-focused nature of practice means accounting professionals can hone their people skills while meeting the expectations and demands of their clients, building relationships and problem solving. There’s also a lot of learning to be done in practice, with a fast pace and mix of work, ensuring accountants are kept busy and engaged. Career development is an important consideration to make when you’re entering or progressing in this industry. Many accounting firms, aware of the risk of losing their top talent to practice, provide incentives like career progression and defined career paths, making it possible for professionals to develop more readily in this setting. Those who make it to partner level are generously financially rewarded, which can make this pathway more appealing to some, along with the potential exposure to senior stakeholders. Industry Industry, meanwhile, can see progression limited by both the size of the finance team and the overall ambitions of the company. However, some professionals experience a better work-life balance and less pressure working in industry compared to practice. Industry is often thought of as the final - and most appealing - destination for accountants, many of whom start in practice with the ultimate goal of moving to an in-house role in the wider business industry. Financially, industry tends to be more lucrative than practice. One 2018 survey revealed the average industry salary is 24% higher than practice, with our own market research showing that accountants with hands-on industry experience are more likely to secure commercially-focused roles, while technical positions are most suited to ACA professionals coming out of practice. While the salaries can be higher, however, the training and qualifications within industry tend not to be as comprehensive as within practice, where study packages such as the ATT and CTA are more commonplace. In terms of the style of work, industry accountants generally specialise in business economic matters such as cash flow, budgeting and cost control. Industry accounting professionals may specialise in management and cost accounting or financial accounting, with a more streamlined, focused workload than the variety seen in practice. Where practice professionals work with many different clients, industry allows you to hone in completely on the one organisation you work for, providing continuity and focus, as well as a more regulated workload. The specialised nature of industry accounting means professionals looking to move in-house need strong technical skills and a desire to focus on one core area of the finance function, adding value and commercial insight. Career pathways here can lead to Financial Director or Group Financial Director, with the ability to contribute wholeheartedly to the growth of the overall company. Find your next role with Marks Sattin Whether it’s the pace, variety and career path of practice you’re looking for or the focus, salary and stability of industry, we can help you make your next move. At Marks Sattin we specialise in matching the right candidates with the right organisations, whether you’re qualified, part qualified, newly qualified or interim. View our latest commerce and industry jobs and financial services jobs to find a role that suits your requirements or register as a candidate and start your search.