As Leaders, we’re constantly juggling multiple balls. We’ve got targets to hit, an inbox full of requests, hours worth of meetings to attend, people to manage… and that’s just at work! We don’t have the time to start wellbeing initiatives! Why should we add it to our ‘to do list’? It’s somebody else’s job isn’t it???
According to Allison Rothmund, a Senior Leader at NAB, we’ve got it all wrong. We sat down with Allison to find out why….
1. Allison, you’re not a Wellbeing Manager and you don’t work in HR. Why then, have you made the decision to make the wellbeing of the people on your team a priority?
“One of the best parts of my role as leader of a large team is the opportunity I have to make a positive difference in many people’s lives. What a privilege! I see it as my responsibility to support my people to be the absolute best they can be. To me that means they are fulfilled, supported and thriving. There is plenty of research to prove that happy and healthy people are more engaged and more productive, so for me it’s a no brainer!
Unfortunately many leaders and organisations seem to think that it’s up to HR or the Health & Safety Team to create and maintain a healthy workplace culture. Wrong! HR do not define culture. Leaders define culture through their actions. I have the power and the privilege to impact my team’s culture every single day. How lucky am I?”
2. Even though wellbeing isn’t in your job description, what have you been able to achieve to date at NAB?
“The very first thing we did in NAB Assist was to conduct a series of diagnostic workshops and asked our people what wellbeing means to them, what existing support they were aware of and what they’d like to see. We were authentic and transparent in these sessions – we acknowledged that we didn’t have all the answers but were committed to making positive change. Our teams appreciated the opportunity to have their say and the feedback we received was honest and rich.
One of the first initiatives we piloted was ‘Wellbeing Time’. In our NAB Assist contact centre, our advisors work with customers experiencing financial distress and hardship. They do an amazing job in listening to our customers and working with them to design the best possible solution to get them back on track. These calls can be incredibly satisfying, but can also be tough at times. In a contact centre environment, break times and schedules are tightly managed. Wellbeing Time is an extra period of time available for advisors to take as and when they need it, to assist them in managing their energy and mind set.
Some advisors choose to take a few minutes to go for a walk outside to clear their head after a tough call. Others read a book, listen to music or find a quiet spot to meditate with the Headspace or Smiling Mind App. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Advisors have told me that the simple act of going for a 10 minute walk out in the fresh air has a huge impact on their energy level, helps them to feel refreshed and ready to speak to the next customer and prevents them from feeling burnt out at the end of their shift. How great is that?
Another really simple and hugely popular initiative we have launched is the Snack Proud healthy snack boxes. Snack Proud provide a healthy snack alternative to the usual office vending machines. The snacks are carefully selected by Snack Proud founder, Ashleigh Whittaker, and provide a low sugar and nutrient dense snack at a really affordable price. Really simple, yet really effective!”
3. What is your advice to other Leaders who want to make a positive difference in their team and organisation, but don’t know where to start?
1 – Talk to you team about what is important to them and don’t assume you have all the answers. It’s often the really small and simple things that have a big impact.
2 – You don’t need a big budget and a whole team to make positive changes. Everything we have achieved in NAB Assist has been driven by 4 people with other ‘day jobs’!
3 – Just start. You have nothing to lose.