Workforce Wellbeing - My Journey to Publication

Karen Warren

Karen Warren (PG Cert Organisational Development, 2019) talks about growing her business as a self-employed Personal Development Specialist and publishing a related book on workforce wellbeing.

"Whilst working in the NHS, I was recruited to the role of Organisational Development Manager, which was a change of direction for me career-wise. In the same month I started my postgraduate certificate in organisational development (OD) with the CETAD team at Lancaster so I was finding my way job-wise and learning at the same time. It was a lot to do, but I enjoyed it. The modules which had the greatest impact on my development were personal learning and development (PLD), and negotiation and influence. Both modules helped me to reflect on my work situation, the challenges I was facing and other peoples’ behaviours. The postgraduate course gave me a structure for analysing a range of my own and other peoples’ experiences and I enjoyed learning about myself and other people. 

I left the NHS before completing the postgraduate certificate and so the course was adapted to allow me to achieve a postgraduate certificate in professional development with merit in January 2019. Having set up as a self-employed Personal Development Specialist, I was able to complete the course and my studies and experiences informed business development. As my business grew, I realised my passion for workforce wellbeing, to ensure employers and managers look after the people they employ and manage. 

My book is a guide for any employer or line manager, however experienced they are, who is struggling to engage and motivate their team. It focuses on how to build a culture of wellbeing, how to manage difficult conversations and influence change. Consistency is key; could you make the same allowances for everyone in the team? Then don’t do it. Teams keep a very close watch on the concessions being made to their colleagues and will hold their managers to account if the same treatment is not attributed to them. Inexperienced line managers might try to be too nice about a performance or behaviour issue and that might trip them up in the longer run. Line management can be relentless so a consistent approach will be less draining of your energy and hopefully allow you to get on with some of your own work too!

My ambition for the book is that we use it to hold employers and line managers to account; to define the treatment that employees can expect and to make an appropriate challenge if that’s not happening. In the three years I’ve been talking about a lack of workforce wellbeing, not one person has disagreed with me. Not one person has said “Karen, I don’t know what you’re talking about. We’re treated really well.” Not one person, which makes me feel sad, but also energises me to try to build the momentum of change. Together we can make change happen, to make sure future generations are treated well in the workplace, are more able to achieve great work/life balances and can feel well, happy and healthy as they live their lives. My studies at Lancaster have supported all of that!"

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