CIPD’s latest health and wellbeing at work report revealed that sickness absence is at a ten-year high and that wellbeing support for individuals at different life stages can be patchy. So, how can organisations offer sophisticated and nuanced wellbeing support without truly understanding the individual needs of their people?
Join Nigel Cassidy and this month’s guests: Krystal Wilkinson, Associate Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University; Nick Pahl, CEO at Society of Occupational Medicine; and Rachel Suff, Senior Policy Advisor at CIPD, as we explore how your organisation can better understand and tailor individual support for the different wellbeing needs of your people.
Nigel Cassidy (NC): No one wants stressed, unhealthy and unhappy staff that don't engage or perform well. So, now's the time to ensure no one misses out on the mental and physical health and wellbeing support that they need. I'm Nigel Cassidy and this is the CIPD Podcast.
With all the advances in our understanding of the need for workplace wellbeing, what are we to make of CIPD findings that sickness absence is at a 10-year high and that wellbeing support for individuals through their work life can be patchy? There's clearly more to do to create trustful, supportive environments where people can continue to perform and enjoy their work, and without organisations wasting money on unproven wellbeing activities or patent solutions. Here with ideas on Change for the Better, Nick Pahl, who heads the largest organisation for health and work professionals, his Society of Occupational Medicine not only aids employees with long-term health problems, but works with HR and others to prevent and remove ill health and promote wellness. Hi, Nick.
Nick Pahl (NP): Nice to meet you. That's a great introduction. Nice to be here.
NC: Our next guest worked in human resources when she saw how careers suffer when people go through personal challenges that aren't understood or supported. She's now an Associate Professor in Human Resource Management at Manchester Metropolitan University. It's Dr. Krystal Wilkinson. Hello.
Krystal Wilkinson (KW): Hi, Nigel. Pleased to be here.
NC: And from the Home Team, a welcome return for Rachel Suff, who leads on the CIPD's public policy work for employment relations and health and wellbeing. Hi, Rachel.
Rachel Suff (RS): Hi, Nigel. Really pleased to be part of this discussion.
NC: And I can see from the latest CIPD Health and Wellbeing at Work report, Rachel, that in spite of all that's done in this arena, workers may well suffer health and wellbeing knockbacks at different stages of their work life.
NC: So, I just wonder if you can give us a sense of the, well, the almost unseen areas where things going on in people's lives intrude on what once may have been a perfectly happy work life.
RS: Yeah, well, it's a really important area in terms of organisations understanding how to best support people and their health and their wellbeing at work. If organisations really want to take a strategic, holistic approach, which we're really encouraging, which organisations are trying to do, to supporting people's health and wellbeing at work, then they really need to understand how they can best support the whole person. And at certain points as we journey through life and through work, all of us at some stage will experience certain life events. Now, some are associated with a particular stage of life, such as if you're trying to start or grow a family, if you're experiencing menopause, if you've got issues with your menstrual health, if you're caring for somebody, a child or an elder person, other issues like bereavement can sadly happen at any stage of life. But if organisations understand these external wellbeing pressures and issues that people are going through, doesn't mean they can control them. But what they can do is first of all, make sure that work doesn't make people's experience even worse. And also, they can put specific support in place to help people cope with what they're going through.
NC: I absolutely get all that. But I want to ask Nick Pahl ultimately, why is it that organisations are homing in on wellbeing? I mean, is it honestly, because absenteeism is getting out of hand, long term sickness and all that? Or is it because the law or some duty of care is obliging them to act? Or is it actually because it's the right thing to do?
NP: Well, it's definitely the right thing to do. I think there's a moral imperative. And I think the pandemic saw people, managers in particular, having more of a duty of care. So, there's been a shift there. And the role of the manager is really important. It is also the bottom line. I think there's a return on investment, certainly for occupational health and interventions in this area. And the UK economy is seeing much more people off sick, I think 600,000 people. We're at an outlier now, compared to the OECD. And I think also, there's more legal and government interest to require companies to do this. Certainly, the Health and Safety Executive will come in when there's a safety critical or some serious health issues. But there's currently treasury and government interest and maybe requiring more of those consultations out for occupational health to be provided to SMEs. So, I think those three things, legal, moral, financial, and perhaps a kind of culture shift, a duty of care, where some of the things that Rachel was saying, those life events, the data saying that young men are finding it hard to join for some anxiety and stress, and there's a midlife musculoskeletal mental health, and there's menopause and women's health issues. And then the older worker, you know, they've got those responsibilities for their perhaps aging parents or their own health issues. And so right the way through people's working life, there are issues and employees need to meet that. I mean, work is good for you. We think, certainly, governments and most people will understand that purposeful work is great for you and should be part of a good, happy life. So, all those aspects are really important.
NC: So, Dr. Krystal Wilkinson, I mean, wellbeing has become a kind of an industry to deal with all this, yet we're seeing this increase, as we heard from Nick. So, I mean, just, I don't know, looking back to when you were directly working in HR, do you think you were just missing the impact events or health issues were having on people, which ironically enough, now you're away from that in academia, you're really highlighting these?
KW: Yeah, and I think it's an evolving landscape. You know, there's historically, there's certain things because of legislative provisions that have been on people's radars. They've been in CIPD training programmes and stuff. There are emerging issues, not because they've never been there before, but I think at a societal level, there's been, there's been taboos. I mean, historically, cancer was something that would never be talked out about at work. Mental illness is something that would never be talked about at work. And we've only really seen in recent years, a growing interest in women's health issues. I think the menopause revolution has been helpful on that front. So, the wonderful work of Davina McCall and so on, kind of a cultural level that are starting to make people talk about it and then talk about it in the workplace. You know, there are some shifts in demographics that will be kind of having an impact as well, and things like a rise in accessibility for things like fertility treatment. I mean, it's going to be, you know, potentially more people are affected, and more people have the opportunity to navigate it, but then that becomes something that transfers into the workplace.
NC: So, why then isn't this being picked up?
KW: Well, I think it is, slowly. You know, there is a small, but increasing proportion. If you look at the CIPD's health and wellbeing survey, you know, the last two years, we've had this question around these health issues that affect certain groups of your staff, certain kind of proportions of the workforce. And there is some great movement in the right direction. There's wonderful campaigning from quite high profile groups. We've got fertility matters at work. There's been legislative campaigning as well around some of these issues. So, there might be movement around time off for pregnancy, loss, early kind of miscarriages. There's the government's women's health strategy. That's obviously, we've got a menopause champion now from a government parliament level. So, I think it is moving in the right direction.
NP: I mean, I think there's good reasons why people don't. I mean, a lot of companies, they feel they're too busy. Perhaps they don't understand, you know, what they can do. They don't understand what occupational health is. A colleague of mine went to Jaguar Land Rover recently and talked to three small businesses. And she said, one business just didn't care, you know, about Jaguar Land Rover trying to get a supply chain interest in health and wellbeing, because that gives them more certainty for their supply chain to build their cars. So, one didn't care. One said, oh, you know, we've got occupational health and wellbeing, just don't understand what it does. We've got it, but you know, don't understand it. And the third one was Mr. so like three little pigs, like the good one, and said, yeah, we can design to do job design and we'll have all these things that we also test out occupational health and wellbeing, make sure that their experience is one and engage with the workforce on it. I mean, just like life in general, some people, you know, really go for it, others go middling and others not at all. So, I mean, I think that the CIPD survey said managers are more interested in it, but companies have slightly reverted to form or company directors, leaders, slightly kind of reverted to before COVID kind of, you know, some middling interest. I don't know if that's right, Rachel, but it's, it is a concern. I mean, particularly when you've got 2.6 million people off work due to ill health, you know, we've got a real problem here in the UK now and that's affecting, you know, productivity and growth.
RS: That's right. And I think I'd agree with both Nick and Krystal. I think some employees are acting, others aren't. And I think we are seeing slow progress, quicker in some areas than others. And in our health and wellbeing survey report, that really showed the significant increase in awareness and support and guidance and policies around menopause transition. And I think that's a really good example of how we can see change and progress happen quite quickly, because now we find that nearly half of organisations have got some support. Four years ago, only 10% had any kind of awareness, support, guidance. So, things are definitely moving in the right direction in terms of support for menopause. So, then when we look at menstrual health, that's gosh, around 15%. It's really, really low. So, it's very uneven. There's a really, really strong rationale for organisations taking action and providing support for employees, thinking about the main health risks and wellbeing issues that they could be encountering, because there is so much to gain. You're going to be much less likely to leave an organisation, for example, if you're supported. And we know through all the research that we've done, that people consider or even leave an organisation if they don't get support and understanding.
NC: And Krystal, your own experience, I think, mirrors that, doesn't it? Sort of change that you made in your own life from working in HR to trying to understand and help people whose careers maybe had gone off track because of situations in their own lives which weren't being understood by their employers.
KW: Yeah, I mean, I think I can see both sides of it. So, it's quite easy for academics to kind of do these studies on kind of niche topics and point out, all of the unique challenges that people have and aren't businesses not very good for not accommodating all these things that are going on. And then you've got the business reality of the fact that there are competing pressures. You've got other stakeholders within the organisation that will need convincing of the return on investment. You'll have line managers that you're quite often expecting to enact all of these policies. And suddenly, they are the squeezed middle where they're suddenly expected to be experts on all these hundreds of myriad different kind of non-work personal challenges. And I think a lot of the stuff that I've been trying to do in terms of the messaging with organisations is around there's some kind of general principles that you can put in place around creating a psychologically safe culture where people feel that they can come and raise non-work concerns and have them be considered and be considered legitimate in the workplace, that they're not stigmatised, they're not taboo, that you can raise awareness of a number of different non-work challenges that people might have. You can consult your people.
If you're in a bigger organisation, there might be staff networks, where you can go and kind of get the feeling of what issues and priorities would they like to see, have a calendar of different awareness weeks that you can mark just to raise these issues, get them on the agenda, get them on the website somewhere so that if somebody types in IVF into their intranet, they get a hit and they think this is something we can talk about. And a lot of the principles around good management are the same across all of these different kind of non-work challenges and issues certainly that I've been involved with researching, which is around it's an individual need, an individual experience that will need probably some form of adjustment to your day-to-day work, whether that's flexibility over hours or work location or workload or some thinking ahead in terms of anticipating challenges and what we might do to deal with it. And then managers being generally aware. And I'm not advocating for line manager training on every single non-work challenge that somebody might have.
NC: I was going to say, do you actually need a policy for everything? Because you've already mentioned numerous sort of health or mental health concerns or issues. I mean, it would be very difficult for an organisation to know what to do in every situation.
KW: I'm advocating for reasonable, you know, what's reasonable. So, a little less than me, no, that's not reasonable. A massive multinational organisation, or maybe it is reasonable to have a policy because of the resources that you've got. But, you know, if you have some line manager training that is on wellbeing or on equality, diversity and inclusion, you can make reference to some of these things just to get it on the radar and then yet have principles or guidance around certain topics and signposting so that people know where to go. And that might be occupational health.
NP: I just think this is an important issue. You know, people listening, they're going to think wellbeing, Okay, what can I do about it? And, you know, it'd be nice to have a quick win and say, okay, you know, everyone, I've got to go off and do yoga and have a policy on this and that. And I suppose I'd urge listeners to just think strategically about what they want to achieve. They want to improve wellbeing. They want to improve health. And a good place to start is, you know, surveying their staff, working with them on, you know, what are the issues, you know, what are the key issues, be it menopause or mental health, musculoskeletal, and then doing a sort of intervention, you know, physiotherapist for, you know, musculoskeletal, mental health, putting in place some sort of support and then looking at that change and see, you know, if the change has happened and listening to workers and engaging with them and in particular focusing on managers. I mean, another sort of controversial areas is people think, oh, I can just put in a mental health first aid training for managers or whoever and, you know, job done. And, you know, the evidence for that is poor, you know, as much as there's many people who have gone down that route.
And I'm a judge actually on these CRPD awards for kind of best private sector wellbeing initiative. And, you know, the ones that win are the ones that think strategically. They've put in intervention, which includes occupational health, hopefully, follows the data and there's an ongoing process. I mean, now there's tools, isn't there, where you can hear from your staff, you know, regularly. And I know, I think IBM do something where they kind of, through AI, they see what staff are talking about. And suddenly people are saying, that's ridiculous. I can't take time off to kind of go to my GP appointment. It's really affecting my job. And they sort of change the policy pretty rapidly. So, staff at least feel listened to and supported in a kind of real-time way. But fundamentally, it is about taking, you know, this problem isn't something you just do and then move on to something else. You know, your peoples a great resource and you have to strategically focus it and do interventions that have an evidence-based buy-in with people who are professionals, such as occupational health.
NC: I want to get Rachel to pick this up. But just before we leave you for the moment, Nick, I wanted to ask, I mean, occupational health is best known for dealing with people who have often quite serious health complications at work. I wonder what it takes on the ground to be more proactive? I mean, working alongside HR and other organisations, what would be good for the future?
NP: Yeah, good question. I mean, there needs to be more proactive. I think occupational health often is put into reactive, you know, for complex cases, you know, people with different sort of complicated health issues. And I think it's the nature of that contract that the company has, which allows occupational health to work with HR, work with people and leaders in the organisation, say, okay, what are we going to do to shift this and move to a more preventative, proactive approach? You know, with CIPD, we're just about to launch a new document, actually, which runs through how you, occupational health, human resources work together to improve mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, prepared by Dr. Kevin Teoh from Birkbeck. And look out for that later this month, I think it's going live. And I think it runs people through, I mean, something that we use is just kind of primary, secondary, tertiary interventions, which sounds a bit like everyone's switched off and goes to sleep. But primary is have that strategic approach. Secondary is perhaps doing a sort of individual, kind of more reactive. And tertiary is sort of a bit too late. So, I think the important thing is, as we all know, prevention is better than cure and have a strategic approach. So, you don't turn into this, which often happens, unfortunately, and we don't like. It's a kind of slightly punitive, kind of complex cases, reactive rather than preventative and proactive, as you say.
NC: So, Rachel, we've had some good suggestions already, both from Krystal and from Nick Pahl, about things you can do to begin to assess where you are and to improve how you work with people. But what sort of obstacles do HR people encounter when they try to improve wellbeing? I mean, one that's immediately coming to my mind is that these are very private matters, and a lot of people don't want to talk to HR or occupational health. They sort of see it as a sort of sign of weakness. So, what sort of feedback do you get on ways of improving approaches to wellbeing?
RS: Well, I think this goes back to what Krystal was saying, actually, about whether you need a policy for every single topic, because there are an awful lot of life events and wellbeing issues that are going to affect people. And I think it is much better to take a principles-based approach. And one of those areas is around creating the right kind of culture and tackling those kind of silences and stigma that exist in connection with a lot of these issues, like menstrual health, gambling harm, alcohol, drug abuse, menopause. You know, I can go on and on. And yes, these can seem like very private, intimate matters, and they are to a lot of people. And I think that's what creates the fear on a lot of people, not feeling confident to talk about these issues at work. And some people will still maybe not want to talk about what is going on if they, for example, experiencing challenges trying to conceive or if they have lost a baby or pregnancy. But I think the key, the onus, is on the organisation to create the kind of environment where people can talk about these issues if they want to. Make sure that line managers are not going to be embarrassed and not going to shy away from talking about issues that are sensitive and personal. It doesn't mean that everybody will necessarily want to share, but if you create that environment, you're still making it easier for that person in that organisation because you're sending positive messages and saying, we support you, we recognise this is a wellbeing issue.
NC: I can certainly see you nodding there, Krystal Wilkinson. But there is another question here. I mean, Rachel's been talking a lot about things that go on in people's own lives that impinge on their work, but work makes people ill sometimes. And I can see that organisations, they can't just focus on helping you with your problems. It may be the work that's the problem and having a catch up with somebody every week and patting them on the head and then not changing their workload, nothing's going to be solved, is it?
KW: Yeah, I mean, looking at the literature, the academic literature around kind of like wellbeing and work and stuff, and we can see that there is a kind of a disconnect sometimes between the provisions that are put in place, which are very reactive. And it's about, you know, fix the individual who's not resilient. Let's give you some yoga or let's give you some meditation app to work with, which is very different than a lot of the causes. Back to what Nick was saying, you need a multi-pronged attack. You need something that's looking at the overall environment and the drivers and causes of ill health that might be personal or they might be job related, you know, and having a kind of a look, trying to get kind of strategy around addressing those factors. And then separately at an individual level, having an appropriate pathway for supporting each individual who is struggling, you know, whether that might be looking at their workload and that's where like reasonable adjustments, temporary reasonable adjustments might be, you know, for some of these things, might be short term around their workload, around their hours of work, around their working environment. It might be, you know, they need referrals to counselling or some other thing, but, you know, you need to be looking both at the kind of the proactive side and the reactive side when someone is unwell.
NP: I mean, just to come in there, I think data is important and, you know, some overall workplaces are bad for people's health, but generally not. And it's a case of some bits of an organisation might be, I remember talking to the chief medical officer at BP and they've got a way in which they can understand where teams are struggling and there's sort of absence and sort of health issues and through kind of data analytics and they can go into that team and, you know, often it's something like a manager bullying or being kind of terrible manager, leading to that team underperforming and therefore you have to kind of obviously work to improve that situation. So, you know, I just think using data strategic approach is a good way forward, particularly for larger organisations.
NC: Can you be even a little more specific, data collected from where exactly? Because I mean, this is all evidence-based stuff, which is good.
NP: Yeah, I mean, I suppose employee surveys and sort of data on performance of different teams, if you can see a dip in performance in terms of their productivity or, you know, what their income they're bringing into the organisation. There's different metrics that people use, but increasingly companies are using, you know, with obviously permission and you mustn't sort of use it without permission from employers. Using data to understand where teams are performing, not performing and also you can see from absence management and sort of your data dashboard approach where there's problems and then you can intervene.
NC: And I noticed a mention on one of your documents, Nick, about psychological risk. Can you just tell me about that?
NP: Psychological risk, well, you know, healthcare workers or people working in the military or firefighters, there's some sectors, pretty obviously, where you have that there is risk. But a team is so important, isn't it? I remember we had a street party and just after Grenville and the fire brigade came to kind of everyone play with that fire engine. And I said, is everyone okay following Grenville? And said, yeah, everyone was fine, except for one person who went straight on holiday and didn't have that time, you know, with the team members to sort of talk about obviously a horrible situation. So, the Health and Safety Executive have a brilliant sort of stress risk assessment matrix you can use for, you know, looking at where the risks are in terms of impact on stress and anxiety and then intervene. But I think, you know, we need to be pragmatic.
And I think some people say, oh, you know, anxiety and stress is part of life, unfortunately, and, you know, we have to deal with it. And as one thing to reduce stress, another thing to medicalise, we must be really careful not to, and that's where the sort of perhaps dangers of mental health first stage comes in, where people say, well, it sounds like you're in depression. And if you medicalise, then people kind of box themselves in and it can be a worse situation. So, you have to be pragmatic and engage with people, make sure that, you know, say if they're off sick with stress, to keep in touch daily, every day someone's off sick, more likely, they're not going to come back. So, it's just a commonsense kind of compassion, authentic engagement, which I think actually has changed in COVID. I think managers now do realise this, as Rachel said, to kind of people bring their whole need to feel that they can bring themselves to work with all the things that are going on in their life, you know, back home with bereavement or whatever.
RS: And I think if you talk about psychological risk, I think it's quite important and relevant to think about that in relation to these external personal life issues and health challenges that people are going to experience, because there aren't many of them where you aren't going to experience very likely some kind of emotional or mental wellbeing impact. So, if you think about bereavement, if you're experiencing issues with fertility, if you've lost a baby or pregnancy, alcohol or drug misuse, terminal illness, gambling harm, you know, there was very likely going to be for most people, some kind of mental or emotional wellbeing impact as well. So, I think it is really important to think about what framework you've got in your organisation to support people and promote good mental wellbeing as well in the organisation, because that will help in terms of having that culture and having that approach based on being proactive and prevention as well.
NC: And what do you do, Rachel, if senior managers don't get it?
RS: Well, I think it's really important that senior leaders lead on the issue in a really visible way. We know that any initiative in an organisation, if the board, the senior leadership team aren't on board with it, then that will filter down and it won't be given priority through the other ranks of management and within the organisation. So, I think it does mean, I mean, HR, occupational health, you know, gathering that data and as big a range of data as you can come up with, really pointing out the benefits and the risks of not acting on this. You know, we know people leave work if they're not supported. So, it very much is about your whole talent management approach and your effectiveness as an organisation. It's about employee engagement. And I think senior leaders do understand about the links between employee engagement and having a productive, high performing workforce. And every organisation, every leader wants that. So, I think it does mean developing that business rationale. Because if they're not going to be influenced by the moral argument, I think now's a good time because I think during the pandemic, health and wellbeing and its importance became a critical business continuity issue and it shot up the agenda. It has trickled down a little bit in terms of priority, but I think a lot of senior people will be open to the argument and the difference, especially if they're presented with the evidence.
NC: Yes, because you made me think again about that powerful story Nick told a little while ago about three suppliers to a large organisation with very different responses. I just wondered, Krystal Wilkinson, how you persuade that company that's very cynical about wellbeing initiatives, that these are actually worthwhile. Maybe they're lucky they haven't got a lot of sickness or something.
KW: Rachel mentioned that the business case, you know, and the business case around a lot of these issues is not just about sickness absence, you know, because we know that presenteeism is a big problem, which is where people, because they don't feel psychologically safe, you know, or for whatever reason, they turn up to work when they're ill and they're not performing to the best of their abilities. It's a recruitment issue, it's an engagement issue, it's a performance issue, it's a retention issue, as well as these, you know, there's growing evidence that shows that if you, you know, you look after people, you let them bring them whole selves to work, that they will be more productive and they will stay and they will recommend you as an employer.
NC: Absolutely. Okay, we've ranged over so many things there are to think about. Let's just try and tie this together with some wellbeing priorities and actions maybe people can do from each of you. Let's start with Nick for organisations that know they could do better. What should they start with?
NP: I think agree with your leadership that you're going to take a coherent strategic approach, we're going to do this properly. We're not going to do a quick win. If we're going to take a strategic approach, we're going to get data on what the issues are. And we're going to do an intervention with the advice of HR, occupational health as what that intervention is going to be, we're going to then track whether there's been any sort of change and we're going to continually aim to improve that. And also listen to employees and focus in on the manager's role to ensure the manager supports their team and creates a culture focused on well-being that is really meaningful and the things that really matter for workforce, be the workforce being working at home, office environment, where there might be musculoskeletal mental health issues too, factory or other settings where again, there might be other issues to do with risks and hazards and use the best resources, look at the resources from the CIPD, the report that we're going to launch with them, look at the Health and Safety Executive. And this really matters because that's going to really improve your bottom line. If you see absence reduce, if you see more sort of happier staff able to come to work authentically, then no doubt your product will improve. So, it's definitely going to be worth it, but take it seriously and use professionals to help you with it.
NC: Crystal, would you like to add anything to that?
KW: Yeah, I mean, I just think really work on the culture and this idea of kind of psychological safety and this idea that we know that being well at work is in everybody's interest. And so, that every stakeholder in the organisation really should have a duty to try and enable that to be the case. So, while we can work a little bit on some of the work side drivers of illness, so if there's work intensification, there's short staffing, there's precarious conditions, and so on, you know, can we do anything about that sort of stuff? But also creating an environment where people can air the concerns, the worries, the non-work commitments, demands that they've got going on and see if there's a way to keep working through it, you know, in a way that will benefit both parties by having maybe just some adjustment or just some understanding. So, in our research around fertility journeys, people sometimes wanted to tell the work just to pre-empt the fact that my performance might go a bit wobbly, or I might, you know, didn't even need adjustment some of the time, they just wanted somebody to know, you know, so that they felt more of a buffer there for being able to carry on. So, yeah, awareness raising around a lot of these factors is a very easy, cheap, quick win. Signposting to a lot of the external supports and charities and resources that are out there. We're not expecting HR, certainly not line managers, to be experts in everything, but just that, you know, open door that we, you know, come and tell us what your issue is, and we'll try and help you.
NC: And very pleasing, Rachel Suff, that a lot of what we just heard from Nick and Krystal are very much part of the CIPD's advice to people working on better wellbeing.
RS: Absolutely, I couldn't agree more. Both what Nick and Krystal have said is absolutely spot on. I suppose I would just add to summarise the importance of trying to take an informed approach. So, everything that we've talked about in terms of gathering as much data as possible and information and engaging with employees to develop an approach for health and wellbeing that takes on board these life events and challenges that people might be experiencing, so that you are putting in place something that really does meet people's needs, rather than imposing something. So, that does mean engaging with any employee resource groups and networks, because people there might be really keen to contribute and have lived experience of some of these issues and that is so valuable, because these issues do require sensitivity and careful handling in terms of language, terminology and so on. So, you want to bring that level of sensitivity, compassion, empathy. So, I think definitely engage with people and make the most of some of those excellent external charities that Krystal mentioned, because they really are out there and they are developing resources and advice and so on, based on lived experience as well. So, that is really valuable and just make sure that line managers really understand what their role is and where it starts and where it finishes, because we don't want line managers who have got so much on their shoulders to stray into areas that could affect their health and wellbeing. So, yes, they should absolutely be able to have a conversation about anything from suicide risk to menstrual health to alcohol misuse. They do not have to be experts, they need to know when to refer on to expert sources like occupational health and other qualified professionals and sources of support, but they are absolutely a key linchpin in the whole health and wellbeing chain.
KW: Can I just add one tiny point there as well around kind of senior manager role modelling is really, really helpful in some of the organisations that I've seen where you do have some kind of quite senior staff, either flexible working or sharing a blog or something about a challenge that they've gone through just to kind of open up those conversations.
NC: Loads of ideas, thank you very much indeed. To Dr Krystal Wilkinson, we heard there from Manchester Metropolitan University, to Nick Pahl, Chief Executive of Society of Occupational Medicine, and the CIPD's own Rachel Suff for all coming on the podcast. Thanks too for all your responses and reposts after our 200th CIPD podcast last month, which, if you haven't caught it yet, was a really thoughtful anniversary discussion on the impact of remote working on our business cultures and how, as one respondent on LinkedIn put it, we can make FaceTime more meaningful. So, please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and check out our recent back catalogue, but until next time, from me, Nigel Cassidy, and all of us here at the CIPD, it's goodbye.
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