Working with Individuals and Teams to Boost Resilience and Well-being at Work.

The Challenge

It is well documented that employees in the UK are experiencing unprecedented levels of stress and burnout. Gallup puts this figure at 40%. In my experience, it is significantly higher particularly in the public sector, due to the unprecedented workload and the increasing demand for services. This problem has worsened since the COVID pandemic and more so with the austerity crisis and the massive cutbacks in public services. This is evidenced in high absence and sickness rates and the increasing levels of anxiety and depression reported by staff. Another issue which has been documented post COVID is ‘quiet quitting ‘. This is defined as staff doing the bare minimum at work, being disengaged from the job, their teams, and the clients they serve.

An organisation I was working with last year using the Gallup well-being scale produced these results:

82% were really struggling or drowning at work. In this group, 18% were experiencing significant mental health issues some were already medicated for anxiety and depression and some were exhibiting symptoms of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

13% reported feeling OK,  but worried about not being able to sustain this.

5% were thriving and it was notable that in this category, they were either newer staff or, individuals who had undergone therapy, and had developed strategies to manage the pressing demands at work better.

This picture is fairly typical of the organisations I am working with currently. Most staff, including leaders, are either in, or one step away from a massive overwhelm but often feel unable to share this at work for fear of being judged as not being capable to do the job and fearing the consequences of this. In my opinion, this is the biggest well-kept secret in workplaces at the moment and magnifies the fatigue and burn out which is already prevalent.

Most organisations already have a resilience and well-being policy and have a range of activities taking place, but these can fall short because they stand alone as isolated initiatives or are put in place in response to a specific problem. This is what I call a ‘collapse and repair’ model.

So, there’s never been a more important time for organisations to invest in their biggest asset – their staff.

What’s Possible?

The good news is that with less support than you might think, your staff can find their way back to being buoyant again in their own resilience and well-being. With the right kind of tailored support, even the most burn out staff member can bounce back. This can make a dramatic difference to individuals and their ability to thrive at work.  Consequently, when faced with a challenge, resilient staff not only find their way through it, they manage themselves more effectively, and seek support and collaborate as appropriate. Resilient staff have a ‘can do’ approach and a mind-set of optimism, based in reality. They can also better manage organisational and structural change.

Resilient staff are the life blood of teams and organisations that are effective, efficient and high performing across the board.

My Approach

Human beings are tremendously capable, but the truth is we get in our own way and so often, we do not even realise this is happening. Resilience is a skill that needs to be learnt and practiced like any other skill and arguably, it’s the most important skill anyone can have at any level in an organisation. Without it, we operate significantly below our capabilities and our potential.

My initial focus is to educate staff about the brain, the mind, and the nervous system. Once individuals understand what is happening in their physiology, they can learn tools and techniques to help them take back control on an ongoing basis. This is what I call ‘scaffolding’; enabling individuals to rediscover the strengths they already have, to get back on their feet, to understand and manage better their triggers and build an effective repertoire of strategies and tools to maintain their own resilience and well-being. My approach is holistic, it is trauma informed, and is based on my extensive experience of what works for staff in health. social care and criminal justice.

I offer one-to-one coaching, workshops and Consultancy to Senior Leaders looking to weave resilience and well-being into the workplace culture. The content of my approach varies depending on the needs of individuals and the organisation. 

During COVID I supported staff in the organisations I work for and you can get a flavour of how I work here

In summary

My approach to resilience and well-being at work fosters autonomy and accountability, enables staff and leaders to co create a team and an organisational culture based on strengths and values which rebuilds psychological safety at work. This in turn leads to more stability in the workforce and a collaborative approach to high performance at work. Employee resilience and well-being priorities must be integrated throughout an organisation, woven into in its culture, leadership and people management. So instead of a ‘collapse and repair’ model, I support organisations to build and foster a ‘prevent and invest’ model.

Testimonial

‘Staff report overwhelmingly the value of the time they have with Jill….she has supported staff through service and system changes when they have felt overwhelmed and demotivated….Across the teams, absence rates and turnover has been low across the year, productivity has been high ( achieving key performance indicators) and staff morale is good. I believe having a stable, healthy and happy workforce contributed positively to our service being rated as exceptional in a recent annual performance monitoring. We have a flexible arrangement that allows staff, with the agreement of their manager, to ask for additional support through times of stress or difficulty. This has proved invaluable…’ -Senior Leader, Local Borough Council

‘Sessions with Jill have been used to enhance the conversations with my line manager’ -Family Worker.

‘Group session has been good… as it has helped support and bonding in the team’ – Housing Manager West Surrey.

‘Jill has been offered as an extra resource ..where a member of staff has been signed off with stress’ -Senior Housing Manager West Surrey.

‘In a front line housing environment, where the stresses are only ever increasing, I know that many of the team find that she really helps them..the team really appreciates the the Council uses Jill to invest in their well-being’ Housing Manager East Surrey.

If anything in this summary currently rings true for you or, you would like to discuss how I can support you and your organisation to boost performance at work, please get in touch.