Share this
H@W Conference

Health @ Work remains a key focus for HR and is seen as an important benefit by employees. If you missed this event, you can buy the presentations here

Ann McCracken chaired the Health @ Work Summit 2014 in June. She is a former blogger for Symposium Events and will be at the next Workplace Stress & Wellbeing Summit 2014 in November.

I really enjoyed the Symposium Events  Health @ Work Summit in London last month.  The topics presented were varied and I found the topic of the ageing workforce particularly relevant!

For those of us in that category, the Queen has to be our role model!  At 88 she is still capable of a punishing travel and event schedule….yes she has an extensive support team – but she alone walks with a heavy Crown to open Parliament in front of millions of people!

The implementation of the new Health and Work Service created much discussion  on the role of Occupational Health provision and how the new system will work. Basically, once an employee has reached, or is expected to reach, four weeks of sickness absence they can be referred by their GP or employer for an assessment by an occupational health professional. This will identify all the obstacles preventing a return to work and any measures, steps or interventions that would facilitate a return to work. Recommendations for these will be included within a return to work plan that will be shared with the employee, employer and GP.

I like the fact that (on paper) everyone is involved in employee health and will be interested to follow this initiative over the next year.  I will be seeking feedback from all involved on my visits to organisations when I am training/consulting. If any of my blog readers have verifiable feedback I will  coordinate it and pass it on.

Linda Smith from Unum presented a variety of surveys and the one which stood out for me was that 83% of employees said salary was important to them, 82% indicated feeling empowered at work was important and 81% wanted recognition for achievements and not necessarily in a monetary way. This show very clearly that staff want and need autonomy and a “well done” when appropriate. This show me that emotionally intelligent managers and supervisors are a key component of all organisations…..yet they are a rare breed!

A couple of the speakers touched on the changed demographics in the workplace and terms like Traditionals, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation 9/11 were introduced and discussed. These different groups have, not surprisingly different needs and expectations however Health & Wellbeing is a common thread for all.

Howard Hughes from Simply Health made a stunting statement “We are running out of workers!” He indicated that 13.5 million jobs created between 2010-2020 BUT only 7 million will leave school and college during that time.  However 36% of the workforce will be over 50 in 2020 and they will have to work longer due to pension changes.  If conditions and staff welfare are addressed this could be a win/win for all.

frogThe metaphor of the slowly simmering frog was mentioned by a couple of speakers to exemplify  how organisations and individuals sometimes deal with slowly deteriorating situations.  If you drop a frog into boiling water, it immediately jumps out (or so the story goes). However, if you put a frog in a pot of room-temperature water, and then bring the water to a boil very, very slowly, the frog will stay in the water until it dies. This absence of decision triggers causes organisations and individuals to miss opportunities or to get into trouble that could have been avoided.

We were shown an inspirational video by Helen Knight from British Gas indicating how positive peer  pressure works alongside a positive attitude from the employer to mental  and physical wellbeing, combined with engagement and  encouragement.

The use of smart internet technology was mentioned by a number of speakers with some innovative products and concepts being tried – particularly attractive to Millenials and Gen 9/11.

There was an interesting discussion around the topic of reasonable adjustments – what this means and how it can be implemented in relation to the Equality Act 2010

As Chair, I had the opportunity to hear most of the presentations and will update you on the afternoon’s revelations in my next blog.

Ann McCracken




Ann McCracken is a Director of AMC2 and the vice president of the International Management Association (ISMA UK) – the professional body for stress management Practitioners.

She specialises in developing a positive and resilient working culture in organisations by introducing effective strategies in performance and wellbeing at all levels. The effectiveness of such a positive working culture is measured and assessed using AMC2 Corporate Diagnostic innovative surveys which include measurement of psychosocial factors, stress and wellbeing. Having initially trained as a scientist, she carried out research with DEFRA and consultancy in the NHS.

She spent 10 years in Education before retraining as a stress management practitioner in 1996. She is the author of Stress Gremlins©, regularly writes/broadcasts and is an external lecturer at Westminster University. She is also a Key Note/Motivational speaker/Conference Chair.

View All Posts