I’m Louise, Changeability’s in-house licensed clinical psychologist (I am also a coffee-obsessed millennial with a penchant for minimalism). My role is to ensure that the work we do is backed solidly in psychological research and best practice. As the team’s latest addition, I bring with me a background in consultation, research, quality assurance, training, and reporting. I also bring with me perspectives from the UK, having recently relocated from London. I have a keen interest in workplace wellbeing and what this looks like in our changing climate.
What I saw happening in the UK (that might be coming here) …
The UK is mixed bag: Bureaucracy and Britain are best friends, and layers of nonsensical paperwork are enough to give any laid-back Kiwi a headache. Fortunately for us, this is more likely a result of its historical love affair with regulations rather than an emerging trend that will come our way. On the flip side, London particularly is a melting pot bursting with progressive and exciting ideas. Social enterprise is big. Workplaces are increasingly applying emerging technologies, for instance the British Army now use Virtual Reality in their recruitment process. Millennials especially are changing workplace culture there; workers expect significant flexibility and incentives, are focused on companies that align interests with a cause (hello Social Enterprise!), and want workplaces that embrace equality and diversity. Workplaces are more likely to be blended (i.e. employees and freelancers) and employers need to work harder to maintain a transient-minded workforce. Workplace wellbeing training is commonplace in the UK, to enhance employee experience, attract talent, and save costs. Businesses are expected to be mentally healthy places that encourage work-home blended working, understand mental health, and support their staff. For instance, compressed hours, paid carers leave, and a wellbeing component to orientated training is typical practice in the NHS. In the training I went to, staff members were taught to massage each other! Overall, the UK is responding to a highly skilled and excited workforce, who also come with expectations that employers will maintain their wellbeing and interest. With generation Z starting to join generation Y, these expectations are only going to grow.
What I noticed coming back to NZ…
From my perspective, it seems here in New Zealand we are starting to respond to the millennial demand for flexibility, to address equality and diversity, improve technology, and to have mentally healthy workplaces (resilience training for example is on the rise). However, these changes are earlier in the mix. We need to be sure we encourage Kiwi innovation, as opposed to ‘she’ll be right’.
What I see as the challenges and opportunities for business…?
I think the biggest challenge will be businesses understanding and valuing these demands for flexibility, other incentives, and wellbeing training. Sometimes we Kiwis can respond with ‘harden up’ but that aspect of our culture isn’t serving us these days. If anything, we are starting to soften up and that’s a good thing. Like a pavlova. These expectations are not a result of a more demanding or lazy workforce but represent a real shift towards technology-based working, healthier work-home blended lives, and a more psychologically informed population. Businesses also need to understand that while there are initial financial costs to meet these needs, these are far outweighed by staff retention, improved health, and staff engagement. Another major challenge is shifting paradigms from pure- for-profit to not-only-for profit (i.e. social enterprise) business models.
Clinical Psychologist – Changeability