Heather Deering, Morson’s Health, Wellbeing and Engagement Partner discusses the importance of mental wellbeing

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James Kenealey

by James Kenealey on


  • Morson's Health, Wellbeing & Engagement Partner delivers thought-provoking talk at Northern Powerhouse event

  • The panel covered the importance of mental wellbeing in the workplace

Our Health, Wellbeing and Engagement Partner, Heather Deering delivered a thought-provoking talk at the ‘Future Gazing: A 2020 Vision for Recruitment in the Northern Powerhouse’ event last week. We sat down with Heather to find out more about the event…

As 2020 approaches, Recruiter and expert speakers held an event to look at how the government’s strategy for the Northern Powerhouse is progressing in the context of the recruitment industry.

The event was sponsored by NatWest and examined the current economic state of play in the North, the region’s climate for job creation and vacancy filling, and trends being led by innovative recruitment businesses.

Heather’s panel covered the subject of the importance of mental wellbeing and gave an insight into what Morson do around health and wellbeing.

"For me personally, mental health was a priority on my agenda moving into this role. Why? It was identified as a priority by our employees in the consultation period. It's quite rightly very big on society's agenda at the moment and we already had some great foundations in place to build on."

​Morson recognises that any working environment has the potential to exacerbate mental illness and that many areas in which the company operates may have stress-inducing factors, such as rapid working pace, physical demands and delivery deadlines.

“Research shows repeatedly that outcomes are better for people who are employed. Work is good for us. However, any working environment has the potential to negatively impact mental health or exacerbate mental illness and there are many aspects of a lot of our jobs that have the potential to exacerbate stress – examples being long hours, rapid work paces, tight deadlines etc. Some of these things we can’t control – it is just part and parcel of a role. What we do have control over is our organisational culture, our management practices and the support mechanisms we provide.”

Morson launched MorFit three years ago and its wellbeing journey is well and truly underway. Although still early days, staff can enjoy not just the use of the company’s gym in the basement of its Manchester HQ, and fitness classes, but benefit from Morson’s new much broader and all-encompassing programme. To drive its health and wellbeing agenda and to build it into a long-term strategy, Morson appointed its first health, wellbeing and engagement partner, Heather. Talking about how she transitioned into the role, she said:

“I spent a lot of time researching how to devise a successful health and wellbeing strategy – looking at theory, best practice examples and case studies from other organisations. There are six key themes that I identified:

  • Visible buy-in and commitment from out board and senior leadership team
  • We needed it to be employee led
  • We needed to work with external bodies for those areas outside our expertise
  • We needed to find and utilise wellbeing champions within our business
  • We need to work with a message of empowerment, not dictation
  • We need it to be measurable."

Health and wellbeing has many factors to consider and whilst implementing a health and wellbeing programme into your business is something that we believe every company should have, it’s not something that can happen overnight:

“Heath is multi-faceted and there are so many different factors that feed into our health and wellness, and the dimensions don’t exist in isolation. We’ve been promoting the message that these things are all intertwined for a long time and we want to ensure that we’re supporting health and wellbeing in a holistic way.

The thing I keep reminding myself and the people I’m working with is that this is a marathon, not a sprint and it’s not just about quick fixes. Of course, there have been lots of easy things to implement, for example partnering with a local health food restaurant to get subsidised healthy lunches delivered each day along with providing a budget for our branches to buy fruit for the office. But they are only one small part of the picture.”

Heather shared a glimpse into the wellbeing strategy for autumn and winter along with what might lie ahead:

No topic should be taboo. So, I want to take what we’ve done around mental health to remove the stigma and apply it to other traditionally uncomfortable topics, so our autumn and winter campaign is focusing on just that. We put on two really successful events – BreastFest and the Testicle Festival, which were focused around male and female cancers. We partnered with specialist charities to come in and deliver informational talks. We’re also about to launch a big piece around menopause and menstruation, things that maybe make people squirm a bit but have such a big impact on our day to day lives and wellbeing.

The thing I keep reminding myself and the people I’m working with is that this is a marathon, not a sprint and it’s not just about quick fixes. Of course, there have been lots of easy things to implement, for example partnering with a local health food restaurant to get subsidised healthy lunches delivered each day along with providing a budget for our branches to buy fruit for the office. But they are only one small part of the picture.”

Find out more about our health and wellbeing initiative here. Alternatively, if you’re looking for your next opportunity with Morson, click here to search for jobs.

Cx Jobs

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Exciting opportunities to join our expanding Signalling Projects and Technical Teams Applications are invited from suitably qualified & experienced candidates to fill the following positions to join us for an exciting phase of growth within the Signalling, Electrification and Telecommunications (SET) Department. This is an exciting opportunity for engineers looking to progress a career in the railway industry and help shape the future of public transportation across the island of Ireland.The Signalling, Electrification and Telecommunications Department are responsible for providing a safe and reliable infrastructure for the operation of train services in the Republic of Ireland. As such, they are looking for an Assistant Contracts Manager. The successful candidates will become part of the Signalling Project and Technical teams that will help in the delivery of key objectives to include ongoing consistent delivery of maintenance activities across the network, design, specification, and renewals of infrastructure assetsJob Duties and Responsibilities:Responsible for the Commercial aspects of Signalling, Electrification & Telecommunications (SET) projects.Deliver projects to authorised budget, time, quality, and scope targets by contract management from tender stage to project completion and effective utilization of in-house and external resources.Ensure in conjunction with the Programme Manager SET that value for money is delivered and achieved on all Contracts awarded.Prepare budget cost estimates and detailed cost plans and undertake regular reviews and provide updates as required.To account for performance on a periodic basis in terms of planned activity and planned manpower allocation against budget and schedule.Integrate fully within the SET teams to provide an effective commercial & contractual support function.To manage a register of commercial project risksTo manage the preparation of tender documentation/contracts/Bill of materialsTo develop standard set of Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) to monitor project commercial statusTo ensure that projects deliver Value for Money by monitoring project deliveryTo plan, prepare budgets & cash flow and monitor the maintenance and renewals programme of works and the SET capital investment activities.Qualifications & Requirements: Bachelor of Degree (level 8) in Engineering, QS, Accountancy or equivalent.Minimum of 5 years' experience relevant to this role.Demonstrable experience in management of commercial aspects of engineering projects.Experience in preparation of tender documentation/Bill of Materials/contract terms.Detailed knowledge and application of the Public Works suite of contracts.Knowledge and awareness of other standard forms of Contract - RIAI, IEI, FIDIC and target cost contracts (NEC etc.)Experience in the management of change control on projectsExperience in the preparation of budgets for projectsExperience in the management of cash flows.Demonstrable experience in Project delivery from project inception through to placing into service.Excellent communication and interpersonal skillsStrong analytical and numeracy skillsExcellent IT Skills and knowledge of relevant software. As part of our diverse team, applicants will be also given the opportunity to interface with the Capital Investment project teams to help deliver and support the Capital Investment Programme, the largest such programme in our history circa €2.5 billion, which includes DART+ Programme, National Traffic Control Centre (NTCC) and the Train Protection System (TPS).For more information please contact Niamh Hampton.

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