“Our people do a tough job, so I want to know I’m looking after them.
It’s important for them, me and the business” – Company Director.
N.B: Many of our clients require confidentiality to ensure security or protect brand reputation. We therefore don’t add any identifying features.
A new company of 25 staff and managers who view graphic, multi-sensory, and typically unedited and/or user-generated content. The extreme nature and amount of viewing exposure differed across roles, but all had to have knowledge of, and work with, the content.
The Directors’ Motives
To develop a company-specific Wellbeing Policy to:
- Reduce and protect against the potential negative consequences of exposure.
- Ensure optimal staff wellbeing and performance.
- Recruit and retain the best staff.
- Promote business continuity/Gain commercial advantage with clients who contract companies with strong wellbeing credentials.
What We Did
The entire company (except 1 Director) completed a:
- 1 hour interview using our ‘VT/PTSD Culture, Strategy & Procedure Review’ and ‘Cultural Psychological Wellbeing Assessment’.
- Work-related stress questionnaire as a benchmark for future comparison and tentative cross-industry comparison.
What We Found
A detailed understanding of how the Company’s culture, strategy and everyday practice affected; the experience of exposure and support, staff psychological wellbeing and performance, and business security.
- For many, the company was the best they’d worked for. No-one had experienced signs of VT/PTSD, and all but one, had good health and psychological wellbeing: All predominantly lived a healthy lifestyle.
- Management had strong exposure experience and were personally committed to ensuring their staff’s wellbeing. They actively provided social support, demonstrated and encouraged good personal health behaviour, and embedded practice to ensure appropriate exposure and work respite.
- The company’s rapid growth, had led to current VT/PTSD-support practices not being formalised. This was a concern for management and seen as a threat to successful expansion. Further, key safeguarding practices crucial for ensuring Duty of Care had not been introduced.
Outcomes and Moving Forward
The management requested a detailed report to gain full understanding of their staffs’ experience and its effects on wellbeing and performance: They saw this as key for prioritising the actions needed to best develop the Company.
Recommendations aimed to address concerns and to reinforce and improve upon good practice. Each was given a level of risk and urgency to help the managers prioritise. Others were noted as ‘quick wins.’
- 13 related to providing better exposure protection and support. Approximately, half to introduce, formalise and embed key safe-guarding procedures and support. Others to help staff with role-associated value issues (that are not uncommon for individuals working with extreme exposure) and physical security.
- 74 aimed to promote staffs’ coping resources and psychological wellbeing. Most of these were designed to give direct performance benefit. Others were: to ensure the development of a strong mental-health informed culture; to promote positive, personal wellbeing; and to meet basic health (and health and safety) requirements.
We had several meetings with one of the Directors and the Head of Operations to discuss the findings and how best to embed the recommendations in cultural practice. These were developed into the Company’s Wellbeing Policy and used to guide progress.
What They Said …
Director – “We’ve come so far, so quickly, so it was key to know how we’re doing. It’s been a really useful process. All seems well, but it’s confirmed that we need to get some important protection in place and to do other things better. … It’s also great to know we’re doing a lot right!”
Team member – “They (the management) understand what we do – They know it’s not easy. What we talked about with you is really important. They do what they can to help, but this really shows what we need – particularly knowing that what we do makes an important difference to the world. We have to know that, otherwise this work would be horrible. Getting you in shows that they really do care.”