Many people are failing to thrive in the workplace. Greater collaboration between employers and educators has the potential to change that. Initial discussions in the legal sector have revealed enthusiasm from both sides to engage more proactively in such collaboration, and specific ways in which it can be achieved have been identified. They are likely to be equally applicable in other sectors.
- Employers being more open and honest about what life in their organisation is like – e.g. through junior representatives of local employers coming more often to universities to share their day-to-day experiences of working life: their likes and dislikes; and highs and the lows; and what they wish they had known before choosing to work in their current environment.
- Shared training on resilience, to reduce the risk of inconsistency in the way this is addressed and raising false expectations.
- Committing to joint, long term, longitudinal studies of the impact on people’s career of early interventions at university – for example providing a resilience training session in the first year and monitoring that cohort’s performance in later studies and in their careers over the following few decades.
- All stakeholders talking more about successful, thriving and healthy people in the workforce, rather than focusing so much on those whose health suffers, or lives come to a premature end, whilst working. Those “bad news” stories are important: for raising awareness, and to understand what went wrong and learning from that. But there is a danger in spending too much time focusing on the negative, grey and rainy skies and not enough on the big, blue sunny alternative which is the reality for many.
If things don’t change, employers in many sectors risk decline: in their reputation, in their ability to attract and retain good people, and in their financial performance. The legal community is taking steps to avoid that. Others are encouraged to follow its lead.
© Nigel Jones, 2020
Co-Founder and Advisory Group Chair, City Mental Health Alliance; Advisory Board Chair, BetterSpace; LawCare Champion; Executive Coach; Trustee & NED; former partner, Linklaters LLP