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Work and life challenges

23 April 2014

Work and life challenges


After an especially busy first 3 months of the year, the arrival of spring has led me to review what’s been achieved and to focus on how to enable those around me to deal well with the inevitable challenges ahead. Like many organisations, Validium is growing and developing, with many enhancements to our services and processes. Our new website is one visible sign of how we are evolving. Balancing lots of change with the need to continue to deliver customer services to our own exacting standards has got me thinking about the priorities for supporting the Validium teams – and, of course, our customers too.

In line with our recent Investors in People (IIP) - Gold re-accreditation …which was quite a stretch as we had to satisfy 165 evidence requirements – although we chose to do 173 just for fun – rather than the 39 needed for the standard IIP level!... we’re providing lots of training, coaching and guidance for our teams. Our recent round of Professional Development Reviews has sharpened the focus on ensuring that everyone has the support and tools they need to assist them to achieve their goals.

Assisting with life challenges that impact work is high on my agenda – as it always is in the EAP services that we provide to our customers. A recent presentation by Chris Minett of the Positive Aging Company on “The Sleeping Tiger” – the impact of demographic change on the workplace such as later retirement and increasing numbers of carers set me thinking too. Many of our staff are part of the “sandwich generation”, supporting both parents and kids. Adapting our working practices and initiatives to accommodate these changes will be crucial to our effectiveness and success going forwards. Recent statistics (Employers for Carers 2013) for example show that 1 in 7 of us now leave work due to caring responsibilities, with carers leaving 8 years earlier than other staff. Chris Minett and his mother have published a book, Action for Ageing, I bought one and found it to be full of useful tips – it’s certainly worth considering if you have an ageing loved one to think about.

As a signatory to the Department of Health’s Domestic Violence Pledge, Validium is also a strong advocate of initiatives to assist staff living with domestic violence. Not only do we have our own robust policy and communications strategy, but we are proactively supporting our customers and our professional network with this issue. Validium’s new corporate value – Respect – (the others are quality, value, service and integrity) and our dignity and work, mediation and bullying/harassment services, also underline our determination to work towards a situation where employees, whatever work they do, are treated professionally, fairly and supportively.

Staff issues will continue to change. Working with these issues is challenging, but ultimately rewarding for businesses.