Project Description

We were approached by Wythenshawe Community Housing Group (WCHG) – a not for profit organisation, to see if we could help promote a culture of wellbeing within the organisation.

WCHG already has a number of initiatives around wellbeing and stress in place, so they’re well-placed to be really successful with it.  In turn, this means their employees will flourish and help create an environment where everyone can achieve their potential and benefit the organisation.

The approach

It was decided to take a two-part approach. Firstly to try to overcome the fear felt by employees around all aspects of mental health and stop them from thinking they might be discriminated against by mentioning it, and stop managers worrying about ‘putting their foot in it’.

The second part was to help everyone in the organisation think proactively about their own, and others’ health in the workplace. It was about being proactive rather than reactive to stop people reaching a tipping point when ‘good stress’ becomes ‘bad stress’ by recognising how they react to pressure.

What we did

It’s been proven that one of the best ways to tackle stress and mental health issues is through communication.

We provided the leaders and managers of the group with a set of tools and techniques, so they can adopt a ‘Let’s talk’ approach to encourage openness about wellbeing and mental illness by being upfront. This will prevent things getting worse, or even happening in the first place.

Through a series of workshops, we created a number of scenarios around employees’ behaviour and what managers should look for when dealing with wellbeing and stress; and more importantly, to create a culture where people are encouraged to talk openly about these issues.   A workplace where there are no labels or stigma.

Too often the signs of stress are simply missed because managers don’t know what they are, or symptoms are seen more negatively when they’re displayed by someone who’s previously had a mental health issue.  Both can be equally damaging.

Most managers already have the skills needed to promote positive thoughts about mental health at work. They understand how to communicate effectively and use workplace policies and procedures.  It’s just a case of putting it into practice, so we gave them practical advice and learning points around real-life situations so they know how to deal with employees in the future.

They were asked to think about their behaviour and to keep an open mind about their actions.  To follow this up, each manager has their own ‘Let’s talk’ checklist to guide them before, during and after conversations with team members, as well as questions they shouldn’t ask.

To help employees think about their own wellbeing, we also created a number of frameworks and guidelines to complete about their wellbeing and mental health.  In reality, this is a simple list of questions, but the idea behind them is to help the employee recognise their stress triggers and stop them becoming an issue. These are to be discussed at regular intervals with their manager so they can both develop an understanding of the best way to support them.

WCHG managers were also given a stress risk assessment and action plan for everyone on their team. Both parties can work through these together and sign them to show all the actions are being taken seriously.

‘Let’s Talk’ helps managers and employees recognise there’s no ‘one-size fits all’ solution to workplace stress and that it’s a hugely complex issue that can happen for lots of reasons, examples include lack of promotion, divorce, money troubles and debt, bereavement, age, sexuality, and differences in culture.

What they said

“Janet has a real understanding and experience of the subject matter and this made the workshop much more beneficial for the managers.”

“We were provided with a practical toolkit to enable managers to be more proactive in their approach to recognising and having positive conversations about stress, and improving wellbeing in the workplace.”

“It was great to gain practical skills and insight about triggers and differing reactions to pressure.”

The outcome

As well as creating clarity, engagement, and allowing everyone within the group to deal with wellbeing in a positive way, ‘Let’s Talk’ has also contributed to WCHG being awarded Investors in People (IIP) – Platinum status, which is a fantastic achievement.

To gain Platinum status, organisations must demonstrate they have a clear plan to follow.  Assessments to achieve this level are challenging, but with our help the group could clearly show they have a rigorous, well-thought out strategy which everyone in the organisation understands and is behind.

78% of attendees rated this workshop as Excellent and 22% as Good – all provided supporting feedback around how they had benefited from attending.  Follow-up conversations confirmed that there had been an increased confidence in managing wellbeing in the workplace.

Would you like us to help your organisation?

If you’d like to know more about creating a culture of wellbeing, we’d love to talk. Our contact details are below

Author:  Janet Richmond

Director Just Libra Consulting


Mobile 07843 645007

Office:  01928 726969