Michelle Cawley, Group Chief People Officer, lets us in on the inside story on all things wellbeing and happy employees, following her appearance on the leadership panel at Wellbeing at Work conference.
When Michelle returned from the conference, we simply had to quiz her on what we missed. She’s updated us (and you!) in her top five takeaways on the growing world of wellbeing, what Ticketer is getting right and what amazed her the most.
What are your top five takeaways?
1. The importance of wellbeing is growing
I was amazed to see that there were so many new and emerging companies who are solely focussed on employee wellbeing. It’s heart-warming to see that so many companies are taking wellbeing seriously. And more than that, there’s a new and growing industry coming out of wellbeing, where new businesses are being formed just to keep up with the demand. It spans everyone from Doctors who have formed their own businesses, psychiatrists supporting post-natal depression, through to confidential helplines plus the more practical aspects of wellbeing like gym memberships and ‘hello fresh’ subscriptions for healthy eating. I think the most inspiring thing to see is that there are companies out there who have taken this so seriously that they’ve created demand for this to care for their employees.
2. It’s not just a buzzword
I was pleasantly surprised by the number of attendees, which I think speaks to how people are starting to sit up and take the topic of wellbeing seriously. It felt like a wonderful shift that wellbeing is not just being seen as a tick-box exercise for companies or something HR departments do once a year. It’s becoming something that people don’t just talk about – they are taking action. Wellbeing is no longer just a buzzword – there’s an industry behind it which has been set up to help people. A bit like Ticketer does ‘Tech for good’ where people benefit from the solutions we provide, it feels almost like there’s an emerging theme of ‘Wellbeing for good’ – a wholesome industry which is really meaningful and purposeful. It’s going to have good outcomes not only for employees, but for society as a whole.
3. Ticketer is heading in the right direction
One of my favourite talks was from Virgin Atlantic, delving into how they look at the whole employee experience and how they updated their practices and policies to be more inclusive and progressive. As well as being passionate, they backed it up with data on how the employees are so much happier and how they feel more like they can be themselves at work. If you can be your true self at work and you have all these support packages in place alongside a whole environment and culture of being inclusive and progressive, it supports the employees massively. I thought it was such a familiar link to our wellbeing values at Ticketer, as we have something similar in the pipeline. It was great to see that we’re heading in the right direction and see the real-world application and results, where big (massive!) companies are doing these things and getting great results.
4. Focus on wellbeing for women
It was really enlightening to see the focus on women – my panel discussion was all female, there were lots of female CEOs and HR leaders and female founders of wellbeing businesses. So many topics were openly discussed which can often be swept under the carpet in some organisations, specifically regarding wellbeing and women. No topic was off limits! We talked about everything from understanding post-natal depression, through to how women can be disadvantaged when they have children and become the primary caregiver, and are typically the ones who have to take time out of the workforce which impacts their earnings, pension pots and potential for career progression. Thankfully, many of the conversations were about how employers have changed their practices and policies to allow more women to be in the workforce and how we can see a positive shift in how woman are being supported. With so many of the wellbeing businesses being created by female founders, there’s more and more support for women than ever before, which is truly amazing and encouraging.
5. Wellbeing directly impacts business success
When you consider that most businesses have a large percentage of their employees in customer facing roles, you want the people who are talking to your clients to be happy, positive, productive people, right? Why is wellbeing important? If your staff are feeling happy, rested, content in their jobs and doing a good job, it’s really going to benefit your business. It’s so simple! Finally, it’s not about employees being a number, but businesses really caring for them and their welfare. It goes back to my previous article – if you have happy employees, you’ve got productive ones!
And finally, what was it like being back at an in-person event?
Absolutely brilliant! So many people coming together to talk about wellbeing and how it benefits employees was amazing. Covid may still be there in the background, but people are still happy to come to events. Many others agreed and were happy to see people face-to-face and have real, better, conversations in person. It was a wonderful fusion of people, with not only wellbeing on the agenda but also a keen focus on green initiatives. Everything you would traditionally expect to be on paper like the event programme and business cards, were now on an app or via a QR code – all digital! Where companies were giving away promotional merchandise, the focus was on everything being recyclable. Companies were making the best of the technology and considering the environment, whilst having people in one place – the perfect combination.