“We are all in the same storm, just in different boats.” Nadine Schloetmann (Coordinator of Global HR Operations) and Berit Meyer (People Development Manager) recognize that, especially in the consulting business, resilience is a very important skill indeed. They join us to discuss the steps their team has taken to address the topic of resilience and wellbeing during the pandemic.
Nadine, Berit, thank you both for joining us today to talk about wellbeing at Simon-Kucher. First of all, how are you both feeling right now?
Berit: I am doing well, especially now the weather is improving and restrictions are increasingly lifted. But I would be lying if I said there weren’t days in the past 12 months that I wanted to stay in bed all day, or felt lonely working from home. For me, being able to touch base with my colleagues over a cup of coffee in the kitchen is one of the things that elevates my mood throughout the day. What really got me through the past months was a routine that I tried to stick to as much as possible. That meant getting dressed properly for every day as if I were going to the office, and keeping in touch with colleagues, friends, and family as much as possible virtually. And knowing that we are all in this together.
Nadine: I have a good feeling about the current situation. Of course, we are facing many new challenges at the moment – I also experienced the corona blues and was anxious. The best resource I had were my friends and colleagues who listened to me and helped me out of it. Sometimes all it takes is a good conversation and positivity.
Why is wellbeing and resilience such an important topic at Simon-Kucher?
Berit: In general, it is one of Simon-Kucher’s priorities to have healthy and happy employees who are able to perform at their best. Especially in the consulting business, resilience is one of the most important skills. We have always held webinars on resilience-related topics – the pandemic only made these more prominent. To paint a picture: we are all in the same storm, just in different boats, and it is our aim to improve the equipment of every employee’s boat to get through the storm as safely as possible.
What steps has your team taken to address wellbeing during the pandemic?
Berit: Team events have been done virtually, we have had regular coffee-calls in the morning, as well as virtual coffee-chats for new employees. On top of that, our global HR Team launched a Pulse survey, to check how everyone is doing and identify improvement areas. Later in 2020, we started a series of wellbeing workshops with International Wellbeing Insights, who have been our partner for the mental health workshops for a couple of years now. Together we developed a set of five 90-min long virtual workshops on understanding stress, how to retain a positive mindset, how to deal with “What if...”thinking, time and energy management, as well as self-care to prevent burnout. We are currently working on a series called “Managers managing wellbeing”, which, as the title suggests, is directed at colleagues who have a managerial position. COVID-19 has put an even stronger focus on mental health topics and has sparked initiatives that will last long after the pandemic is over.
Nadine: We also offer a free Headspace membership for all colleagues around the world, and have launched a wellbeing newsletter packed with tools to improve personal wellbeing. Just a couple of weeks ago we recorded some videos on fighting Zoom-fatigue and invited external speakers, Mollie & Liz, to our townhall meeting held by our CEOs, Mark and Andreas. Mollie & Liz presented some really helpful strategies on how to deal with the high number of video calls, how to stay healthy in a remote world, and how to run good Zoom meetings. Remote work is definitely a part of our future and that's why we think it's important to teach everyone how to deal with it in a positive and healthy way.
What has the response been from colleagues so far?
Berit: Everything that we have initiated in the past 12 months has been new for Simon-Kucher, so we were a little nervous about whether colleagues would even have the time or energy to make use of the offers. But we are very happy about the genuine and very positive feedback. Our colleagues seem to be thankful for the effort that has been done and we are thankful in return.
Nadine: Wellbeing is and will stay an important topic for Simon-Kucher and we will continuously work on offering the resources the employees need to stay healthy and on top of their game.