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Wellbeing is high up on the agenda for HR.

Posted by: Emma Upton

There’s more for us all to deal with this month than the average February. A national lockdown in the UK is compounding feelings of isolation. For some of us, the conversations we have through work, even if we are limited to virtual interactions, are the only conversations we have. I appreciate this isn’t the case for all of us, like those parents battling with home schooling alongside trying to do their job, but everyone’s COVID experience is unique. We’re all facing individual challenges. Thankfully, there is enough compassion to go around for everyone, from those who are living alone to those in desperate need of quiet time in a busy household.

The link we have with work is one of the last remaining connections to normality and reality in the current climate. For HR professionals, this means it’s more important than ever to create community culture within companies. We’re well versed in this now, as the short-term lockdown which began in March 2020 has now lasted, to varying degrees of severity, for 11 months. Employee wellbeing has been front and centre on the HR agenda for that whole time.

At WRS, we have launched a number of wellbeing initiatives with the aim of involving every employee in the WRS community. This theme of ‘community’ is incredibly important at the moment as the impact of the COVID pandemic has been to unite us under a shared experience. If there has been one plus to this miserable situation, it’s to make us feel more integrated and linked to everyone else around us who is living under the same restrictions as we are. Why do you think there has been so much backlash against celebrities and social media influencers who have jetted off overseas to escape the British winter? It’s disheartening to think of people rejecting the shared values of the community we are part of and breaking the rules while we abide by them.

In order to cope under the current circumstances, many of us have been going for more walks or undertaking more exercise. To support this, we set up a WRS run club which raised more than £200 for Forever Manchester, a local community charity. We’ve also launched “Walk it Wednesday” where we encourage employees to share pictures of their walks with each other. In addition, we recently created a WRS Recipe Book and asked employees to contribute with their signature dishes. Our CEO, Mark Brown, gave us the recipe for his easy chicken curry to kick start this initiative.

Sitting behind all of this is the need for business leaders to understand and care about their employees. What are their individual challenges? What are their unique circumstances? What are they worried about? What can we do to support, reassure and assist them? A colleague of mine told me that a previous manager he worked with made it his mission to know five things about each member of his team. I was thinking about whether I know five things about every individual I work with, for when you’re in HR everyone in the company is in your team. Over the course of the pandemic I have certainly got to know everyone more and I’m getting closer to this goal of knowing five things about my colleagues.

Human beings are emotional creatures and, alongside macro initiatives, the role of HR is to understand employees on an individual, personal level. HR leaders have the opportunity to make the wellbeing of their employees an on-going focus, not just a passing COVID trend. What will remain when life gets back to ‘normal’ remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt that wellbeing makes sense, not just for employees but for the success of WRS and companies like us.


WRS can save you time and money by supporting internal resources, providing you with the best pre-qualified candidates when you need them. We are a workforce solutions company with offices in Europe, the Middle East, APAC and the Americas, supporting the needs of businesses around the world. We employ specialist sector consultants, who can help you to identify the expatriate and local personnel you need to keep your business moving forward.

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