Jon Coles Interview, Market Insight
Since the global pandemic begun, it’s been clear that organisations all around the world and their HR teams have been challenged in ways not seen before – an article from Personnel Today* stated that seventy-two percent of HR leaders said others’ understanding of the role of HR within their organisations had increased in the past 11 months, and 59% said that HR now played a more influential role in the company.
Having spoken with a broad range of HR professionals throughout this pandemic, there has been a number of consistent themes coming through whilst employees continue to work from home which are; employee wellbeing, mental health and culture. A global pandemic has highlighted that now more than ever employee wellbeing is critical to business success and it is clear that a consistent and well-defined company culture leads to greater employee retention and a happier workforce.
I had the chance to catch up with Grant King former MD, Global Head of HR for TD Securities about wellness and how this can link into mental health and culture in the workplace. Grant has enjoyed a fantastic career with TD where he spent time working in London, Toronto and Philadelphia across a number of senior global HR positions, he is therefore able to offer some terrific insight into the wellness journey that he went on with TD, as well as his own experiences around building a positive and high-performing workplace culture.
Grant, thanks again for your time, firstly what does wellbeing in the workplace mean to you?
Firstly, employee wellness is critical to business and organisational success. It impacts on a workplace’s culture, on its resources and productivity and, ultimately, its bottom line.
One of the most critical things is ensuring that all colleagues understand the importance of employee wellness and properly engage with it as an issue, and to do that they must first understand what employee wellness means.
In my experience there are four critical interconnected areas: mental/emotional, physical, financial, and social wellbeing. The concept of wellbeing has grown considerably over the years with a focus on helping colleagues influence their own health, quality of life, mental/emotional wellbeing and, consequently, their performance at work.
How our colleagues are feeling, mentally, physically, socially, and financially, is more than an HR issue; it is, in fact, a fundamental foundation for business growth, stability, strength and sustainability.
During your time at TD you were responsible for building a wellness strategy for the Wholesale Bank, what were the key pillars for this strategy?
As I mentioned, we focused our strategy on four key pillars –
- Physical Wellbeing: Meaning understanding and managing our health, taking appropriate preventative measures, improving health status, managing chronic conditions.
- Financial Wellbeing: Meaning understanding and achieving how to be financially secure which meant having the financial literacy/knowledge and resources to manage financial commitments to meet fiscal/budgetary goals, protect against risks and save for contingencies or future needs
- Social Wellbeing: Meaning being connected and includes indicators such as social acceptance, beliefs in the potential of society, personal self-worth, and a sense of community; and
- Mental/Emotional Wellbeing: Meaning being able to flourish mentally/emotionally in which everyone realizes their own potential, can cope with the stresses in life, can work productively and is able to contribute to the community.
One of the first critical things we understood to be a gap was colleagues understanding of what exactly workplace wellbeing was. We designed a three-pronged approach around educating and building capabilities:
- Building Wellbeing Awareness – Empowering individuals with knowledge on workplace wellbeing.
- Boosting Individual Resiliency – Providing individuals with tools/resources to build psychological strength; and
- Building Systemic Resiliency – Indoctrinating and fostering a culture of resiliency
* Personnel Today: Perception of the value of HR improved during the pandemic