Wellbeing and the Boardroom in Covid-19 Times

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How Are You Doing? A banal greeting between people. Right? Not according to our three brilliant speakers, who put these four words at the heart of wellbeing: a matter of great interest and concern to all of us. As one of the 33 participants put it, the event provided “important insights and rich food for thought”.

IWF member Ida Levine, our skilled moderator, reminded us to listen actively, adopting the perspective of a NED or trustee in any organisation today, living through the crisis and facing a changing reality.

Nancy Hey, Executive Director of the What Works Centre for Wellbeing defined a fundamental framework for wellbeing. Nancy highlighted four dimensions of wellbeing in the context of work. Physical and mental health and relationships at work are the top priority. Safety and security in the financial sense are closely related. The environment, where the work takes place as well as the culture and values of the team and the organisation, is critical. As is purpose, how meaningful the work is and how much freedom to change is experienced.

The impact of these wellbeing drivers is highly correlated with the relationships that people believe they enjoy with their supervisor and colleagues. We were also reminded that wellbeing is no longer a fluffy issue. Due to the pandemic it has now moved to centre-stage. As was aptly illustrated in how HSBC, a global banking giant with 235,000 employees in many countries, set out to make wellbeing an important part of their business and HR strategy and this has served as a strong foundation during the Covid Pandemic .

Uzma Stamp, Global Head of Benefits, Wellbeing and Global Mobility, described a gargantuan listening project among all staff. By listening with open minds and ears, HSBC focused its active wellbeing programmes on the three most important issues that emerged: mental health, flexible working and financial security. The roll-out, endorsed and visibly supported by senior management, is finely balanced between culturally sensitive local implementation and ensuring strategic consistency.

Dr Emma Loveridge, Founder of Rafan House maintained that wellbeing is highly related to the strength of our internal scaffolding. This develops through childhood experiences of observing and mimicking the adults around us. As Emma put it, wellbeing is not the degree of feeling disabled and “low”. We all “fall” from time to time. Rather, it is the extent to which we can emerge from such states and return to balance. And that depends on the resilience of our internal scaffolding.

As another participant summarised, “This was a brilliantly structured event, exploring wellbeing from three different but complementary points of view. The three experts proved that there is no single way of addressing issues of wellbeing. Similarly, there is no cookie cutter definition of what individual, team or organisational wellbeing looks like.”

Edna Kissmann

To watch a recording of this event click here to be directed to the Members only section of the website and find it within the event write up in Members News (Right hand side menu bar).

L-R: Dr Emma Loveridge, Nancy Hey, Uzma Stamp, Ida Levine
L-R: Dr Emma Loveridge, Nancy Hey, Uzma Stamp, Ida Levine

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