This interesting article “Moving from surviving to thriving” is a great example of how long-term vision can change a company’s culture and future.
I think this is a great example of a company that is actually demonstrating a real commitment to care for their staff and manage mental health. As Emma wittingly mentions “every man and his office dog were banging on about the dangers of poor mental health…”, so there is a recognised need and awareness of it, and yet so often these become empty words. It is interesting to ask companies what they are actually doing to commit to the long-term support of employees, and how they are adapting the company culture so it can become a healthy work environment?
Saggitarius’ ability to see and be open to how change and growth were impacting their staff was key to all that follows and actually shows a real ethos of people-led commitment rather than empty ideals and policies.
Opening initial discussions to help people work with stigmas is a great way to start. Even at the last Suicide Prevention Conference I attended, when a stage full teens started getting the audience (mainly healthcare and suicide support groups) to shout all the mental health words out into the room it was interesting to acknowledge how uncomfortable it felt at times and the impact it stirs in people. So as Emma mentions, the “conversation in-house” can bring this to light and it will, over time, feel more familiar and comfortable. It can be helpful for companies to recognise though, that even if they show an openness to mental health, it is still common for people to be slower at coming round to the idea. It is not uncommon for staff to fear being known to be struggling mentally and emotionally. Employing an experienced outside trainer who goes through an in-depth mental health assessment (which of course is purely confidential) often creates an arena for this to be voiced but also demonstrates just how common it is for staff to keep their issues hidden. As with Saggitarius here, with a continued, long-term vision it creates trust and eventually staff get the message “It’s ok, not to be ok!”
Demonstrating openness, talking and an ability to hear, is a great start point as shown here and created the solid foundations on which they were able to build.
Creating understanding and learning from the top down is also so valuable. As Emma points out they started training with “senior leadership and management”. From my experience, this is the most likely way to implement an authentic cultural change. Leaders and decision makers that truly understand the impact of the mind, body, company culture and the approaches and attitudes that dominate their environment are much better placed to turn difficulties into opportunities for growth and success. I also applaud the on-going mentoring programme as it keeps channels open. Thoughts, emotions and business challenges are ever- changing. When we are properly trained in mindfulness, for example, we become more self-reliant and able to handle these changes more effectively, yet it is incredibly helpful in a faced-paced world to keep building and developing our skills. It isn’t yet a cultural norm outside the work environment so making it available in work-time is a real asset to people. For the company it makes financial sense too as there will be less absenteeism and presenteeism, and happy, ‘well’ staff are reported to be more productive, creative, have better morale, group cohesion and sense of purpose.
Mindfulness-based training and yoga sessions can be key in developing long-term well-being strategies in companies. Examples like Saggitarius are important to be publicised as unfortunately so often training options can still be a very scratch the surface, tick the box approach. It is important for companies to consider the long-term culture they hope to create, and to employ professionals who are experienced and trained to deliver programmes in this area. Teaching by demonstration is key otherwise these tools and techniques are simply a text book subject which hold little content to inspire you to want to go any further. As mentioned by Einstein “ The only source of knowledge is experience.” Please get in touch www.mudandlotus.co.uk. firstname.lastname@example.org