18 September 2019


Resilient Teams - workshop 3 notes (18 September 2019)

Q: What are the factors that test the resilience of teams?

 High workloads
 Higher customer expectations
 Different pressures associated with flexible working
 The advance of new technology potentially threatening jobs
 Economic factors / restructures

Q: What does Larking Gowen do to empower resilient teams?

 The aim of the company is “To make people the best they can be” and to be “Passionate about our people”
 There are clear, measurable targets for the business in terms of increasing turnover
 Staff are invited to create their own values
 No blame or criticism culture because “people make mistakes”
 Leadership is key – the organisation has invested in a programme for its partners to ensure they are resilient and have the necessary mindset to support and empower others
 Support, train and empower the team – new employees are assigned a ‘buddy’ (who only may be relatively recent recruits themselves) and a more senior mentor to support them
 LG has talent reviews and not appraisals
 50% of employees are actively undergoing training at any one time
 Employees encouraged to give back to community by volunteering, with some taking part in Dementia Friend training
 LG creates wellbeing champions to empower others and reinforce the company culture as no single person can be responsible for this alone
 Partners signed commitment to wellbeing
 An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is outsourced, offering help and support for all staff, including partners
 Creating fun at work is important – LG encourages events such as ‘bring a dog to work day’ and other social opportunities
 The organisation has drastically reduced the number of polices, with discretion encouraged among managers with their teams

Q: What more is Larking Gowen planning to do?

 The company is investing in mindfulness practice by procuring a corporate licence for the Headspace app
 There will be more focus on men’s health through a link with the Mankind initiative and female employees will receive a ‘mid life MOT’

Q: How do you measure resilience?

 Larking Gowen uses regular surveys within the organisation, listening to what matters and what kore could be done to improve wellbeing
 The level of engagement from staff has increased significantly between 2016 and 2018
 They also look at staff turnover and a reduction in the number of sickness days taken by staff

Q: What makes a team resilient?

 It all starts from the top
 There must be trust so that people believe they are being listened to and that there is a culture of taking wellbeing seriously. It’s important that staff are not in competition with one another
 Communication is key – staff must feel they can be honest when discussing what is going on in their personal lives so employers know that this can have an impact on working lives

Q: How can we make it more acceptable for people to come forward to discuss their wellbeing?

 Leaders need to show by example that they are open to discussing wellbeing and workload
 People can be encouraged to be honest about their workload and when it may be too much at any given time. Leaders must then be prepared to offer support with interventions such as reviews and redistribution of work
 Case studies can be powerful when modelling how people can be supported to improve their wellbeing, and that there are no repercussions or impact on an employee’s standing or progression
 One specific example was employee profiling which can show a fluctuation in wellbeing over time, and therefore provide valuable data informing where an employer can intervene to provide support
 Other businesses have used personal action plans to allow staff and managers to discuss and manage wellbeing

Q: Are there any other techniques or support available to consider?

 Suffolk Mind champions the emotional needs met model, which provides a framework for people to identify and discuss why their wellbeing may not be as good as it could be. This is good for avoiding abstractions such as ‘not coping’ or ‘struggling’
 Not being afraid of leaving time, or pauses in discussion, between a manager and their colleagues can be an effective way of truly listening to any issues of concern
 Promoting different wellbeing topics on a regular basis through company communications (newsletters, intranet etc) can be a good way for companies to show commitment to one or more issues and promote specific support available

Q: Any other thoughts?

 Any new approach to wellbeing is unlikely to work first time around. The advice is to persist by repeating messages and continuing to influence an organisation’s culture, which is often deep-rooted
 Blue collar workers, especially men, can be challenging to engage. One approach is to model behaviour by inviting men to come forward to break down any stigma or taboos about discussing their health (eg company video featuring employees).

You can download a copy of the resilient team presentation from the event here.

Feedback on the workshops so far: