Mental Health UK

Changing the culture: how Ability@Page has enabled PageGroup to take a lead in the recruitment sector

Sheri Hughes PageGroup

Creating a positive working culture sounds easy doesn't it? Have some nice furniture, good breakout areas, free tea and coffee, lots of natural light and plenty of colleagues to interact with. Simple. If only it was that simple.....it goes a lot deeper than that. A positive work culture is really about creating an inclusive one. Everyone is different and should be celebrated for that fact. People need to be allowed to be themselves, their true authentic self for them to be/perform at their best. Sometimes the pressure of work can get on top of us a little bit and we feel a bit stressed. But imagine that stress is on top of already hiding your religious beliefs, your sexual orientation, or indeed struggles you may be having with your mental health. It's hardly going to make the stress easier to cope with is it? At PageGroup we feel really strongly about accepting all of our employees as humans, without exception. That means we need to be able to support & embrace whatever differences they bring with them.

It all began on Disability Awareness Day in 2016, we launched Ability@Page by storytelling. Over the course of the month we shared several 'Real People/Real Stories'. That was our employees sharing their personal story and about how living with a disability affects them or a close family member. Some were physical disabilities, others were mental and bit by bit they helped break down any barriers there may have been (actual or perceived) about a disability holding your career back at Page. It doesn't. From there, we continue to gather momentum all the time, we are the first (and still only) recruitment company to sign the Time to Change pledge and we have more Mental Health Champions than we have physical first aiders! Our line managers get support and training on looking after themselves as well as spotting warning signs in others. Our Employee Assistance Programme is confidential and 24/7 and our private healthcare provider offers Cognitive Behaviour Therapy sessions. Mental wellbeing is important for all of us, but being mentally unwell doesn't mean you don't want to work, nor can't work. What is paramount is creating an environment where speaking out about it is ok. Feeling like you belong. Part of an inclusive culture. Part of a positive one.

Sheri Hughes UK Diversity & Inclusion Director

PageGroup

Page Group