Mace’s Judith Grant, inspires Women in Health and Safety Network to make wellbeing second nature
Judith Grant, Associate Director of Health and Wellbeing at Mace, welcomed a packed room to the latest in the Women in Health and Safety programme, to talk about the importance of tangible and strategic wellbeing at work.
Discussing Mace’s philosophy for health and wellbeing to manage health risk and create wellbeing opportunity, Judith made comparisons with Mace’s behavioural safety programme Safety First Second Nature (SFSN). The key components of SFSN divide into five areas: engagement, work environment, behaviour, leadership, and standards, and these could as easily be applied to health as safety. She discussed the company’s huge construction projects from the Olympic park, to the Shard, to the Emirates cable car system, and the renovation of the luxury Café Royal hotel – where the Women in Health and Safety event was held. Judith believes that the key to improving wellbeing at work is understanding the workforce and the culture of the organisation and creating an inclusive approach tailored to the identified risks and opportunities.
To open the conversation on health at work, Judith shared her own story on how her own health shaped her early career. You can read this story here.
Mace – a case study for wellbeing at work
It was in her role at Royal Mail Group that Judith had the opportunity to develop wellbeing interventions at scale, as well as manage the considerable sized occupational health service. In her role as Group Head of Occupational Health and Wellbeing at The Royal Mail she developed the Feeling First Class programme and First Class Mental Health initiatives.
Now, ten months into her role in Mace, Judith is making wellbeing second nature. Selling the concept both up and down the line is a large part of this role, she explained: “My job often feels like a sales job. Selling the importance of health and wellbeing to the organisation is so important.” Although, at Mace it seems it has not been a tough sales job.
“My role at Mace is a strategic one.” said Judith “we look at health in three areas; occupational hygiene, occupational health, and wellbeing.”
Judith continued: “My aim is to be preventative – eliminating issues at source, where possible, with occupational hygienists or health psychologists, rather than waiting for occupational health issues to develop.
“You can have as many wellbeing programmes as you like – but if you’re killing people with exposure to dust or stress, then they are not worth the paper they are written on.
“First we must aim to do no harm; promote good health, yes – but don’t expose your workers to ill health.”
“The Hippocratic Oath, taken by all new doctors says ‘First do no harm’ – I fundamentally believe that organisations should adhere to this too.”
In 2017 Mace conducted a detailed survey to understand more about its unique wellbeing needs. Judith wanted to take a strategic look at worker wellbeing and look at what the barriers and facilitators to good wellbeing were at Mace so that the correct support could be put in place.
Among many questions, workers were asked if they felt able to talk about mental health, if they are experiencing poor psychological or physical health pain at work and a series of questions looked at engagement, resilience, job satisfaction, productivity and commitment to work.
This has enabled Mace to look at the tools it needs to provide teams with encouragement and support. One of the first outputs from the survey will be training for the Health Safety and Wellbeing teams so they feel confident advising on health and wellbeing as they do at safety. Awareness training is also being developed across the global business to support mental health in the organisation.
During Mace’s wellbeing week in November, over 70 wellbeing champions were recruited to lead a range of activities across the global business with the theme of Five Ways to Wellbeing. These included art classes at Mace’s Battersea Power Station project, Spanish Lessons at Mace’s London headquarters, tea-and-talk sessions, exercise classes and meditation.
“Work is good for our health, so long as it is good work. Workplaces have the power to significantly influence wellbeing.”
The global wellbeing week was communicated to staff using countdown emails, messages on the staff intranet, and posters around its different office locations
Sharing Mace’s journey to a better wellbeing culture initiated great conversation at the event, with contributions from ITV, BBC, The Healthy Work Company, The British Standards Institute, as well as the construction and legal sectors.
Ruth Denyer, ITV, spoke about the importance of not making wellbeing a tick box exercise: “It’s all very well having an Employee Assistance Programme – but it needs to be tangible, it needs to live and breathe”.
Speaking to SHP Judith said: “Mace was keen to support the WiHS event to continue the conversation around health and wellbeing at work.
“This morning we had a wide range of professional from a range of organisations and had a really positive discussion around raising the profile of health at work”.
For more information about the Women in Health and Safety network, including upcoming events, see here.