Defining good wellbeing: Episode 1, with BOM and Steople
What does good wellbeing practice look like in organisations?
Of course I’m going to give you my bold answer, but in each episode I’ll bring along a couple of organisational wellbeing experts to help me.
In this episode I’m talking to:
Paula Goodwin, Group Executive Enterprise Services, Bureau of Meteorology
Stuart Waldon, Director, Steople
Audrey: “Wellbeing has the potential to be the new disruptor, in just the same way that innovation and agility brought many organizations to its knees when they just talked about it, and didn’t really do it, and didn’t do it well.”
Paula: “Wellbeing is such a fundamental part of good corporate culture, and wellbeing is also such an important part of making sure that the Bureau can deliver all day, every day for its customers. We have, effectively, no real downtime. We’ve got to deliver for the community 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year.”
Paula: Our motto is, zero lives lost as a result of severe weather, and $2.5 billion back into the economy from severe weather events. So, that is a very bold, ambitious measure for the organization, and having our people well and truly able to respond to that, is really important.”
Stuart: “Wellbeing has gone from one of the five to top of the five very quickly, and organizations are very quickly realizing that there’s a certain number of things that they can do around physical wellbeing.”
Stuart: “Where we focus is the leader’s role in wellbeing, putting your oxygen mask on first yourself, look after yourself, and then look after your team, and having this strong balance between performance and wellbeing. It’s not an either/or, the key word there is ‘and’. We spend a lot of time with leadership teams, and leaders individually, on what they’re doing to look after themselves so that they can set the right environment, and create the right context for their employees, or other resources to thrive, but also perform at their best. Not one to the exclusion of the other.”
Paula: “We don’t want to see our people burn out, these are good people who have committed a lot of years of their lives to delivering for the Bureau, and so, there’s a personal element. So yes, there’s a risk element, but there’s just a personal element of making sure people are well, and can thrive, rather than just survive.”
Audrey: “One of the challenges when you’re creating some sort of solution to address employee wellbeing, even from a tender procurement onboarding perspective, it’s quite difficult to know exactly what it is you’re going to need until you’ve got the data and the baseline. Anybody who’s trying to put a wellbeing program in place without the data, you’re chucking darts at a dart board as far as I’m concerned.”
Stuart: “I’m personally quite concerned that we went very quickly into COVID, but it’s going to take us a long time to come out, and there’s going to be significant mental and physical health outcomes that we are going to have to focus on as a society, as an organization, and individually, because we have got a long way to let this whole disruption wash through. But if you don’t know what you’re shooting for, you don’t know what you know is best, what works, you’re almost flying blind, which is not a very comfortable place to be.”
Paula: “The pressure of that external environment is significant. And so, as I’ve been saying all along, they’re variables you can’t change, and so, the only variable we can really control is how we build the wellbeing into our people, so that they can manage themselves, and if they’re managing themselves, they can manage what’s being thrown at them.”
Paula: “Investing in your people’s wellbeing is an investment in your organization. [I’m a] huge supporter of anything that’s about keeping our people mentally well and strong, particularly as we’re going through such a complex time, that we have no certainty about when it’s going to end, and how that will occur.”