Wellbeing and Mental Health in the Workplace: Q&A with Ben Rainforth-Gott, HR Director

For many of us, work is one of the most impactful factors in our lives. It’s where we spend most of our time and without it, many of us wouldn’t be able to support ourselves. Having a job which satisfies you can really make a difference to your mental health and wellbeing.

Wellbeing and mental health are two of the most talked-about topics in HR, but are companies doing enough to support their employees and to continually improve the workforce’s wellbeing?

At our first South Yorkshire Senior HR Breakfast with Irwin Mitchell, we will be discussing wellbeing and mental health in the workplace with Ben Rainforth-Gott. Ben has worked in the HR industry for 12 years across a number of sectors including insurance firms, charities and nutrition-based organisations.

We’ve interviewed Ben to give you a preview of what you can expect from the first Senior HR Breakfast tomorrow.

1.      What drew you to the HR industry?

Throughout my career I have therefore been involved in a number of business development projects, specifically looking at human behaviours, training and quality which linked to HR activities such as performance management, development, and upskilling managers and leaders on how and why managing people outputs are important.

I naturally then made the move into HR and have never looked back. I completed my CIPD qualification, grew into bigger roles and diversified my career experience across all functions of the HR spectrum and across diverse and complex organisations both nationally and internationally.

I love the challenges of HR and pride myself on turning HR functions into a trusted, adaptive and empowering strategic partner for the organisations I work in and for.

2. You’ve done a lot of work with developing wellbeing and mental health programmes, is this something you are really interested in? 

Absolutely, when you look at lost time productivity in organisations, health and wellbeing are the major contributors.

Organisations have a very black and white approach to absent management, and I feel this limits their abilities in fundamentally supporting their key assets – their people.

From an HR perspective, there is a lot we can do to enhance and bring opportunities to life and it starts with beginning a journey of trust and transparency, removing blockers we put in place merely to tick a policy box.

We spend time and money on resourcing our business; so we need to take time and invest in understanding and supporting wellbeing, triggers associated with mental health and removing the stigma attached to this.

Stop thinking about the different elements of health and well-being – wellbeing, mental health at work, metrics and insights as solos. By blending these, we can create a ‘people’ orientated approach which understands, supports and manages our people resources. The challenge is changing the perceptions and cultures that are often engrained in an organisation.

My motto is to keep it simple, real and personable – remove the blockers and create the space to focus on conversation, understanding and support.

3. Are there any quick activities/quick wins companies can do to improve the businesses mental health and wellbeing culture?

Start the conversation about how to break down the blockers. Look at how policies and procedures should be designed to support the colleague and the business, re-fresh your EAP services, break the stigma that Occupational Health Assessments are the first step of an exit.

Educate managers and leaders on how to hold a wellbeing and open dialogue conversation, move away from tick-box Return to Work forms which just inform whether a person is paid or triggered in a process.

People are complex, we all are. Things occur in and out of work which generally bleed into each other. Plus, more and more generational types in the workplace, the one size fits all approach isn’t going to work any longer.

Put the HUMAN factor in Human Resources.

The event you need to attend

We have partnered with Irwin Mitchell to launch our first Senior HR Club on 1st October 2019 in Sheffield.

At this event, we will be hearing from Ben who will be sharing more about implementing wellbeing programmes, supporting employee needs and the challenges he’s had developing mental health at work programmes.

This event is aimed to bring together HR Directors and other Senior HR Professionals to discuss current topics, hear from experienced HR professionals and network. These will be regular informative and engaging events facilitated by Irwin Mitchell and Elevation Recruitment Group to discuss strategic HR issues currently facing senior HR professionals.

Contact Sarah Barron, Head of HR Practice at Elevation Recruitment Group by email – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to book your place at this event.


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