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The Recruitment COO | Fitness Matters: The Impact of Strong Health and Wellbeing Initiatives Can Be Seen Business-Wide

James Kenealey morson training

The Recruitment Coo
THE RECRUITMENT COO | EXPLORING THE FRONTIERS OF RECRUITMENT, LEADERSHIP & STRATEGY with Adrian Adair

Adrian Adair is our Chief Operating Officer and has spearheaded significant market expansion, positioning Morson Group as the go-to strategic recruitment partner of choice across all sectors, both in the UK and overseas. Adrian’s leadership style places inclusivity at the heart of how the business acts and thinks. By identifying a future leadership team which is diverse and future facing, Adrian has curated a pipeline of talent which will strengthen the Morson Group's reputation as one of the most forward-thinking and ambitious recruiters. In The Recruitment COO, Adrian writes about leadership, talent and inclusivity as well as mistakes and motivation. From recruiter to the c-suite, Adrian is not a ‘thought leader’ – he’s an action taker, a change maker and an innovator.


I was over with our rail training division, Morson Vital Training, having a quarterly catch-up with head of training Matthew Leavis when he introduced me to a brand-new initiative Operations & Apprenticeship Manager, Andrew Robinson, was launching.

It had been noted that some of the apprentices were struggling with the manual labour elements of their jobs, partly since they hadn’t really undertaken any intense physical activity like that before. Consequently, the drop out rate was increasing, as was the risk of injury associated with lifting.

Fitness Matters is the new 6-week initiative that’s been launched by MVT in partnership with CrossFit QYS in Salford. It aims to enhance the health and wellbeing of our 2019 L2 Engineering Apprentices as well as enhance their work readiness before they enter the operational rail engineering programme.

Andy told me that the third session would be taking place after our meeting, so eager to see how the apprentices were getting on, I decided to head over to the gym with them.

During the 90-minute session, the apprentices learned technical lifts associated with functional fitness. They also undertook strength and conditioning exercises before splitting into pairs to complete a number of challenges which required cooperation.    

It was great to meet with and join in with the exercises of some of the apprentices who will be our on-site ambassadors into the future. It was a tough session!

Like a lot of our initiatives, this one works on several levels. Not only does it improve the apprentices’ general fitness levels (also valuable outside of the workplace), it allows them to work in a more efficient and more importantly safe way. Plus, the teamwork-oriented challenges develop vital teamwork skills and helped identify those who might be future leaders. This is something that the rail industry is really on the lookout for in the talent pool as large, long term projects loom on the horizon. It’s a win-win!

This got me thinking about our wider business and our MorFit programme. We’ve always had a commitment to health and wellbeing from board level, but as our business has grown it’s made more sense to develop this further. Hence, we’ve created a new role within the business – Health, Wellbeing & Engagement Partner. This dedicated role is responsible for pulling all of our initiatives and activities around health and wellbeing into a cohesive strategy, and gives employees across the Morson Group a point of contact to have their say on all aspects of wellbeing; from company culture, work-life balance, and supporting physical health, to providing a forum for employees to tackle any mental health issues. The latter point is something of particular importance to us, to the extent that we’ve also trained up a network of mental health first aiders across the business. These are colleagues specially trained to identify, understand, and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue, and deal with an emergency situation.

Crucially, this holistic approach allows strategies and initiatives to be devised that are reflective of what colleagues across the business are looking for.

I like to get involved in MorFit as much as I can, be that yoga or the more intense physical sessions. The fact that I’m keenly into fitness myself aside, it’s good to be leading from the front and setting an example. It’s also a great opportunity to mingle with employees that I might not usually interact with on a daily basis.

Companies need to bring health and wellbeing to the top of their agendas across their operation, and I’m proud to be part of a company that has not only embraced this for our direct workforce, but also the future generation of contractors that will serve our clients’ needs well into the future.

Read more from Adrian's Recruitment COO blog here