Havas Group UK helps boost resilience with coaching and Whinge Wednesdays

Integrated marketing and communications agency Havas Group UK employs around 2,000 people in London’s Kings Cross and forms part of a wider global family of 22 agencies.

The nature of the business, which works with some of the biggest brands in the world, is demanding, fast paced and ever changing. Unsurprisingly resilience-building is high on the organisation’s agenda.

Louise Mossman, head of talent development for Havas Group UK, says: “Resilience isn’t static, it’s like a muscle. In the same way we would go to the gym to build physical strength and stamina, we need to develop healthy strategies to build resilience.”

In 2016, the organisation introduced a health and wellbeing programme called Havas Equalise.

Fast forward five years and it has evolved into a “progressive, multi-layered, rich programme” for staff. Regular exercise sessions, one-to-one personal development coaching and a ‘Wellness Wednesday’ that offers drop-in mindfulness sessions and wellbeing webinars are layered with keynote speakers, workshops, and lunch and learn sessions on topics such as nutrition, sleep and mental health awareness. There are online resources, too.

“One of our key principals of the programme is to be ‘always on’, which has been especially important through such an unsettled period of Covid-19,” Mossman continues.

In the third UK lockdown, a ‘parents edition’ of Havas Equalise was born to support exhausted mums and dads during the 2021 school closures. Parents were able to access individual coaching, from experts on subjects spanning home schooling and working from home to talking to kids about mental health issues. A timetable of activities for children was also developed.

The employer also recognised that some line managers, often the first port of call for team members, were often relied upon to be a sturdy source of support yet some felt heavily burdened. Cue ‘Wednesday Whinge’, a forum for senior people to come together, let their guard down, and share their concerns with peers without the need to put on a brave face.

Resilience allows us to be at our best,” Mossman adds. “Those who actively build their resilience notice a positive impact on performance, productivity and relationships. A resilient workforce better embraces change, and has a greater awareness that change and adversity often creates opportunities. For our people this means greater job satisfaction and engagement, and ultimately on a business level results in a competitive advantage.”