Where to start with wellbeing in the workplace?
Kendelle Tekstar is the Product Manager of Acre Frameworks & Acre Bench at Acre, a London-based specialist health and safety recruitment firm. She was a finalist in SHP’s Rising Star UK 2018 award.
Kendelle’s role transcends recruitment with her focus on the firm’s bespoke psychometric service offering for the health and safety profession, Acre Frameworks.
Frameworks offers organisations an objective measure of whether they have the right people with the right skills in the right roles to achieve business aims. It enables organisations to upskill their health and safety professionals and build the most effective teams by assessing and developing non-technical skills.
Kendelle will be speaking in the Acre-sponsored Occupational Health & Wellbeing Theatre on the second morning of Safety & Health Expo, at 11:40am on Tuesday 20 June.
SHP caught up with her in the build-up to the show to find out what her talk, entitled ‘Where to start with wellbeing in the workplace?’ will cover.
What is wellbeing?
Kendelle Tekstar (KT): “To me, thriving from a wellbeing perspective means I am able to bring my full self to all areas of my life. It means living with a sense of purpose, learning and growing, and adding value to others’ lives. I am not categorically ‘well’ or ‘unwell’ at any given time – my wellbeing is on a continuum, including my physical, mental, and emotional state.
“Maintaining my wellbeing requires motivation and commitment to embrace and navigate the ups and downs in life, in and outside of work. My environment and the people I engage with can have a big impact on my wellbeing, so self-awareness and interpersonal skills are essential for me to thrive. I believe that happiness is a choice or a personal commitment to myself, but I have had to build up the knowledge, tools, and resources to work toward a sense of holistic wellness.
“At Acre, we have carried out an internal survey to find out what wellbeing means to our team and I have also complied a series of feedback from within the industry on this topic, so I will be touching on that in my presentation”.
How have you incorporated wellbeing into your role at Acre?
KT: “It really all started in my annual appraisal last year. In these sessions we are asked what we want to achieve over the next year, so coming from a clinical psychology background looking at wellbeing internally was something I wanted to explore. The conversation started with our MD and CEO around the wellbeing policy we had in place at the time and how we could improve on that, especially showing our commitment to wellbeing in action in the workplace. I have worked closely with both of them to create a new concept we are calling our ‘Pillars of Wellbeing’, which encourages collaborative ownership for a workplace environment and company culture that allows our team to thrive.
“Key trends in the feedback we received from the qualitative wellbeing survey I administered recently centred around desired improvement in the areas of physical heath and work-life balance as well as our team wanting more clarity on what will happen if they express a need for support with their mental and/or emotional health. When putting initiatives in place for 2018 to create improvement, we allowed this feedback to inform our efforts, resulting in three new proactive initiatives to address key needs. All of my learnings from this experience have led to some meaningful knowledge sharing opportunities with my clients who are looking at wellbeing as well
“The big point to note is that the overwhelming majority of changes we are making are operational so it doesn’t require a huge investment in order to start creating continuous improvement. It’s about how you communicate with and learn from your people and how you run a sustainable business”.
Why is the physical workplace environment so important to wellbeing?
KT: “I have used a biopsychosocial model when thinking about wellbeing from the beginning and evaluated risks as I would have in my previous research career. When evaluating the workplace environment, I considered what type of risk factors and protective factors there are for a small, growing sales organisation like ours. So you start by asking yourself: What is likely to be having a negative and positive impact on employee wellbeing, and to what extent? The physical environment can have a big impact –everything from ergonomics to creating accessible areas for social interaction to lighting.
“The work that the International WELL Building Institute is doing is a testament to the fact that companies are taking a closer look at how the built environment impacts us. We spend 90% of time indoors according to research, and if we are going to spend a significant portion of that time at work, the physical aspects of our offices are something we have to consider”.
What is the first thing you would recommend an organisation should change in order to improve workplace wellbeing?
KT: “I don’t think there is one fit-for-all direction in which to go, but I think this process has to start with closely evaluating how you operate as a business and importantly asking the right questions. Getting feedback from your people to create a baseline and uncover unseen problems is essential before making changes. Once that feedback has been gathered and you identify solutions that you feel work for your business, it’s about proving you are taking it seriously and setting yourself up to be flexible to change”.
Acre is sponsoring the Occupational Theatre at the expo, what was the thinking behind that?
KT: “We work in health and safety, sustainability, and CR so all of our clients are very clearly impacted by the resounding call to action to address workplace wellbeing. As this is especially close to home and in alignment with our values as a business, we are proud to support the wellbeing agenda by sponsoring this theatre”.
Who will the topic of your session appeal to?
KT: “If you are part of a small or medium sized business looking to address wellbeing in the workplace, Acre’s case study can bring some interesting ideas to the table on what questions you should be asking to flesh out strategic goals.
“If workplace wellbeing falls under the remit of your current role, or you are simply passionate about the wellbeing agenda, this talk is well-suited for you. I will share commentary from conversations with senior leaders in CR & Sustainability and HSE about the biggest challenges in the here and now, and what is/is not working. I will also share a breadth of service offerings available to support employee wellbeing from the research I conducted over four months to identify what would suit Acre”.
Sleep and Fatigue: Director’s Briefing
Fatigue is common amongst the population, but particularly among those working abnormal hours, and can arise from excessive working time or poorly designed shift patterns. It is also related to workload, in that workers are more easily fatigued if their work is machine-paced, complex or monotonous.
This free director’s briefing contains:
- Key points;
- Recommendations for employers;
- Case law;
- Legal duties.