“You Could Be Forgiven For Reaching The Conclusion High-Performance Athletes Would Be In Great Shape Mentally”

Over the past 12 months, discussions about mental health, which had steadily been on the rise, has been taken to a completely new level with the coronavirus pandemic creating an extremely difficult situation for many people across the world.

In our new member insights blog on iSportConnect, ForrestHR Managing Director Sophie Forrest looks at how approaches to health and wellbeing have been changing for both people playing at the elite level of sport and those within the workplace.

It is a proven fact that physical activity is not only good for your body but also extremely beneficial for improving mental health and wellbeing.

Given this, you could be forgiven for reaching the conclusion that high-performance athletes – essentially the fittest people in the world – would be in great shape mentally. But events over recent years, and the silence over mental health finally being broken, have highlighted that many aren’t.

The reason for this is very complex and multifaceted, with fame, athlete personality types and the rise of social media all contributing towards the issues. But one crucial factor could be a high-performance sport system worth millions of pounds, putting enormous amounts of pressure on athletes with the focus on results rather than the overall wellbeing of the individual.

Realising the importance of Health & Wellbeing

Over recent years there has been an increased pressure on businesses in all sectors to recognise the importance of positive Health and Wellbeing, in particular amongst their workforce.

“One crucial factor could be a high-performance sport system worth millions of pounds, putting enormous amounts of pressure on athletes with the focus on results rather than the overall wellbeing of the individual.”

For a lot of companies, this is a vital step towards improving financial and commercial success with many now adopting health and wellness packages and programmes, which if implemented effectively, can reap huge financial rewards.  

And now it is crucial that sports organisations started to mirror this approach and take an active interest in the mental health and wellbeing of their people.

Addressing the issues in high performance sports

A recent study commissioned by the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) highlighted the following findings from its members:

  • 69% consider high performance sport favours ‘performance above people’
  • 61% consider the sports industry values physical health above mental wellbeing
  • 63% consider a gap exists between acknowledging wellbeing and actioning it

And it would be fair to assume that these feelings are replicated across the industry globally.

After the AIS reviewed the responses in full and listened to the athletes, the action plan that followed to redress these issues were:

  • Engagement – provide opportunities for athletes to engage with their local communities, grass roots sport and national charities.
  • Mental health – provide access to the best practice mental health information and education and individualised psychology services
  • Career and education – provide access to information, advice and face to face or online learning related to education, career mapping, professional development and work experience.
  • Personal development – facilitate face to face or online learning related to wellbeing and personal growth.
  • Conduct and professionalism – provide advice on managing integrity issues, guidance and support to navigate ethical decision making within the high-performance environment, and provision of policies and procedures.

These actions are all about developing the athlete as a whole, rather than focusing purely on sporting performance.

The launch of a new Health & Wellbeing programme within the UK

ForrestHR has long since promoted the benefits of organisations actively supporting their people’s health and wellbeing within the workplace.

But now they have taken this to the next level, launching a new arm to the business focussing solely on health & wellbeing within organisations from all sectors, delivering in depth programmes that reflect the action plan of the AIS, covering many different areas that traditionally sit outside the role of an employer, including mental health, diet, financial planning, education and life skills.

69% consider high performance sport favours ‘performance above people’ (AIS)

MD Sophie Forrest outlined the rationale and objectives of the new offering: “Forrest Health & Wellbeing offers a unique service in that it is a holistic, proactive MOT approach to provide effective, coherent support for people in all the areas of their life that can cause them stress and contribute to poor wellbeing, such as financial literacy and educational gaps, alongside mental health understanding and support”.

Forrest Health & Wellbeing’s unique two step approach

Forrest Health & Wellbeing believe that supporting your people with their health and wellbeing is a crucial part to your organisation’s success, so they have developed two bespoke programmes offering a unique service delivered by industry experts:

Introduction to Health & Wellbeing

This is a 12-week introduction to health and wellbeing, that includes two-way feedback across the entire organisation with senior management interviews and people/player engagement surveys. The outcomes are then analysed, and a programme of educational presentations are recommended to educate and help in the areas identified as requiring more support.

Health & Wellbeing Champion

This is a 12 monthly programme which can be a follow on from the Introduction or a standalone course. This includes an online support and resource portal, a dedicated Health & Wellbeing manager, onsite assessments and medical assessments, therapies and expert workshops all delivered in the workplace over the course of the year.

Once an organisation has taken part in the Champion programme they will be fully endorsed as a Forrest Health & Wellbeing Champion with supporting logo to promote their dedication to this important aspect of business.

Delivered by Experts

To deliver these extensive and informative programmes, Forrest Health & Wellbeing have formed an expert delivery team including qualified financial advisors, estate planners and therapists.

The programmes are also endorsed by West Kent Mind, a local independent charity affiliated to the national organisation Mind, the leading mental health charity in England and Wales, and the best-known champion of mental health challenges.

West Kent Mind’s support comes from their extensive knowledge, making the point that this is an ideal time for the launch of the Forrest Health & Wellbeing as many of the known triggers for mental ill-health – such as increased isolation, employment uncertainty, disruption to routines, poor work-life balance and sleep deprivation – have been exacerbated by the current pandemic.

Bringing Health & Wellbeing to the forefront of your business

If you would like more information about Forrest Health & Wellbeing’s programmes, go to www.ForrestHW.com or call us on 01892 726060.

Maximising HR Management Tools Within The Football Industry

Human Resource Management (HRM) practices have not always been a top priority in football. However, with the increasing pressure on clubs at all levels to bring in more revenue and be run as commercial entities, introducing robust HR systems and policies is now an important stepping stone to success.

HR departments within football face the challenge of looking after the interests of a diverse workforce – a larger club could have many different areas with varying needs of support spread across numerous locations.

Supporting a diverse workforce

Although it is common practice for the players to sit outside the remit of the standard HR function, the highly skilled professionals who are responsible for the health and success of the team are in important part of the club – the performance analysis experts, doctors, physiotherapists, recruiters coaches and cooks all require good HR support tools to do the best job they can.

Another function is the club’s executive leadership team and back office functions that cover finance, marketing and communications. Their requirements may differ from the frontline staff.

Many large teams now have dedicated Youth academies to nurture talent which require numerous members of specialised staff including youth talent scouts and child support workers – and having the correct policies and procedures in place in this sector is crucial.

And when including the Ground staff, which could include contractors on match days, this adds another layer to a complex set up that’s need tight management to get the best results.

Traditionally many clubs have assigned any HR responsibilities to an existing member of staff as a secondary role, but as organisations grow and become more commercialised, this is no longer a viable option.

Using HR to retain the best people

A football club is much bigger than just its current team – a successful club should value all employees at every level.

Implementing an experienced and dedicated HR function into a club is key to recruiting and retaining the best people – it can help a club achieve its goals and objectives.

Simple processes can be set up initially – the development of policies and procedures around contracts, agreed working hours, enhanced sick pay, maternity, adoption and paternity leave pay can help attract and keep the right people.

The introduction of human resource information systems can also contribute towards retention and employee engagement – they can allow staff to book holiday, report absence and track performance reviews. Setting up employee benefit schemes can make a worker at any level feel valued.

Using HRM people analytics to succeed

Most people within Sport are probably familiar with the ‘moneyball’ principle, which derives from a film based on the true story of how Baseball’s Oakland A’s General Manager, Billy Beane, changed the approach to baseball player selection by focusing on statistics and ability measures versus traditional baseball methods that were pretty much gut feel.

This approach turned the Oakland A’s into a title contender whilst spending less than half the salary of competitor clubs – so not only achieved success, but also created cost savings.

And football is moving in the same direction. Clubs are now using HRM systems and processes more to focus on people analytics, using data and analysis to understand a wide range of issues including recruitment and selection, performance management, leadership and attendance.

Although football has been utilising these types of systems for many years on the pitch, this approach is now being used commercially in the office and in other sectors – Google have recently invested heavily in this, creating their own people analytics team.

HR analytics supports everyone’s development from the first team through to the commercial and community aspect of the club’s operations.

HR support within the sports industry

The success, performance and competitiveness of football clubs or any other institution depends largely on the quality of the employees, and having good HRM systems is integral to this.

If your organisation is looking for HR guidance on policies, procedures and people management or just need some practical HR support, contact Sophie Forrest on 01892 726060 or email sophie@forresthr.com


The Value Of Strategic HR For Effective Business Operations Within Sport

The sports industry is set apart from other business sectors by many distinctive characteristics – with the main one being the ability to provoke irrational passions, emotional attachments and loyalty that are completely unrelated to the quality of the product, experience or end result.

But even with its differences, the sector is not immune to the challenges that the majority of industries are now facing – the rise of digital media including esports, highly demanding consumer expectations and diversity issues. All these are creating a fast pace of change such as the rise of short-form video, content-led esports sponsorship and new women’s sports formats.

A growing industry

Over the past decade or so, there has been a huge increase in globalisation – new technology and online media coverage has opened up coverage to the whole world and enabled the development of international club brands such as Manchester United and AC Milan.

This has increased competition – for sponsors, media revenue and fan attention. It is crucial for organisations and clubs to be run like a business and work hard to obtain, retain and grow their fan bases and revenue streams.

In addition to this, government funding is now more readily available to not only encourage grassroots development schemes but to address the growing childhood obesity epidemic. This has grown the industry in many ways, making sporting organisations more competent and has allowed more sports to move to a professional status.

But with these changes, there is now a greater need for commercialisation to bring in revenue and accountability.

People challenges within the industry

Due to the uniqueness of this industry, there are specific challenges for managers and human resource professionals that set sport apart from ‘mainstream’ business and management:

  • there is a distinct age profile of workers
  • with most sports there is a set seasonality
  • there is huge pressure to achieve short-term results
  • at a higher level there is constant media intrusion
  • there is usually a wide difference in pay between elite and community levels

 As the industry grows in size and value, sporting organisations are now appointing paid staff in roles traditionally held by volunteers. And once a salary is introduced, this then formalises the arrangement which must lead to official paperwork, performance reviews and career management.

With the need for organisations to become more commercially aware and create or increase revenues, employees are increasingly selected for their technical or professional expertise in managing a business irrespective of their knowledge of the sport. Many new board members are recruited for their business acumen and not just their sporting prowess.

HR in sports

Having a professional and proactive HR function within an organisation can be the key to its success as attracting, developing and retaining talented people can provide them with the resources it needs to prosper, grow and ultimately, gain a competitive advantage.

In sport, the right coach, manager, CEO or player can transform the fortunes of a club or organisation from the bottom of the pile to a league or world champion.  When taking a high-level, long-term view, HR can make sure an organisation has the ‘best mix’ of people to meet its strategic objectives now and in the future.

Under the human resources umbrella, the right policies, practices and systems can be introduced which can effectively influence the behaviour, attitudes and performance of people who work for the organisation.

HR support within the sports industry

As the focus on the internal customer continues to increase, companies will need professional and experienced HR support to develop and align the people strategy that best fits the business’ overall objectives.

If your organisation is looking for HR guidance on policies, procedures and people management or just need some practical HR support, call Sophie Forrest on 01892 726060 or email sophie@forresthr.com

Conflict Management Within Sport Organisations

In all industries there will always be conflict, it’s human nature.

Within sporting organisations, it usually occurs as each person has their own set of values, needs and motivation. Fast resolution is imperative as it can have a lasting impact and detrimentally influence the organisation’s ability to deliver results.

If handled appropriately, conflict should not be an issue and it could actually open up new possibilities and provide positive opportunities for change. However, if the issues are not tackled swiftly and professionally, they can lead to power struggles, faction fighting and a loss of important human resources.

 Organisational conflict

Disagreements can happen at an organisational level – for example, a club may have a difference of opinion with a parent body at a regional, national or global level. At top level sport, sometimes these conflicts are well documented through the media, which can result in a stalemate and/or a very public loss of face.

Challenges at group level

Conflict may also occur between groups within an organisation. Typically, this can be between the management committee and the players/competitors due to a difference in goals and objectives.

The players or athletes on the ground have the sole aim to compete and win, whereas the management teams face additional pressures of commercialisation, profit for shareholders and accountability leading to management-led decisions being questioned.

Conflicts at an individual level

Conflict between individuals may develop as a result of differences in background, expertise and experiences – and these can become personal. This can be particularly damaging within a sporting organisation as it can affect performance, reputation and ultimately profitability.

Resolving conflict

The key factor in solving conflict is attitude. Parties in conflict can adopt either a conciliatory or an adversarial stance. They can accept that conflict is a normal and necessary part of managing an organisation or they can view conflict with annoyance and distrust.

Issues can only begin to be resolved when all parties involved have the opportunity to meet and properly hear each other’s argument. Then it is necessary for parties to find some common ground and work their way positively out of the conflict situation.

When conflict occurs at ground level between team players, attempting to resolve the issues behind closed doors away from their peers, and at a higher level, the glare of the media, is more productive and will avoid inflaming an already difficult situation.

If the conflict cannot be resolved internally through good communication and management, it is sometimes necessary to obtain the services of an independent person who is skilled in conflict resolution to assist the parties to negotiate and reach an agreement.

HR support within the sports industry

It is important that people involved in managing a sports club have the skills to effectively deal with conflict – whether this is an in-house team or as an outsourced advisory role. They should be able to identify conflict, propose strategies for dealing with it and ensure that there are positive outcomes when it does occur.

If your organisation is looking for assistance on conflict resolution, guidance for effective people management or requires practical HR support, call Sophie Forrest on 01892 548156  or email sophie@forresthr.com

What Are The HR Requirements To Support Business Transformation In A Rapidly Changing M&E Environment?

In recent years, the Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry has been experiencing global changes with trends emerging that will provide both opportunities and challenges for companies within these markets.

The industry is highly competitive with creativity and people at its core meaning companies need to understand the hurdles they now face and anticipate in the future as they seek to attract, develop and retain talent.

A Changing Industry

But the critical change in the new era is that demand is now completely consumer driven. The new age consumer not only demands what they like but also in the format they like.

On the business side, the use of Operational technology such as robotic process automation (RPA) and blockchain has given organisations within this sector the potential to reduce costs and improve productivity, which is a crucial lifeline with the current pressure on monetisation models.

Together, these changes are forcing the M&E sector to re-evaluate their offer bundling, pricing strategies and, more broadly, undertake ongoing business transformation. And to remain competitive in a marketplace where talent is the key to success, many companies will need to redefine not only their business strategy but their people strategy too.

The role of HR in Business Transformation

Business transformation can be complex, costly and usually encounters unforeseen complications. For M&E companies, these transformations are compounded by the creative culture that drives their business – they need to be placing additional focus on the human components of transformation by aligning the company’s people strategy with business objectives.

Traditionally, when it comes to business transformation within most companies, HR organisations only play a support role at the final stages by developing tactical action plans. However, within the M&E industry, it is extremely beneficial to use their HR in a more strategic function.

The key to making this work is developing a close working relationship between the human resources function and business functions. Studies have found that when the HR department plays a strategic partner role within the company, positive results are expected for the company’s bottom line and business transformation initiatives.

Their role should include taking part in forward planning sessions, using data to predict talent gaps in advance and providing the business with insights into how talent relates to business goals.

The importance of Talent Management

Until recently, talent management had always been defined as all processes that relate to the employee life cycle from talent acquisition to performance management and reward ending in separation.

There is now an emerging shift in traditional talent management – the focus is now on improving the overall employee experience. Employee culture and employee engagement are critical and are linked to employee productivity and turnover.

To embrace this change, organisations must consider their employees as internal customers and take the time to better understand their needs – and to ensure success, this employee advocacy should be owned and driven by HR.

The role of HR Technology

Better employee digital experiences and HR technologies cannot only facilitate more efficient work execution but also help the company create and retain a more engaged workforce.

While M&E companies have moved forward significantly in digital experiences for their external consumers, it is now time to shift focus inward to improve the same experiences for their internal customers.

HR technology has advanced greatly over the last few years with new products and technology beginning to change the environment and the way organisations think about how HR can support broader business initiatives.

This, combined with the M&E industry’s unique needs in terms of talent sourcing, recruiting, development and pay, means that organisations within this sector must identify their specific HR technology requirements to keep up with today’s internal customer needs.

HR Support within the M&E Industry

As the focus on the internal customer continues to increase, companies will need professional and experienced HR support to develop and align the people strategy that best fits the business’ overall objectives.

If your business is looking for guidance on drafting an effective People Strategy to align with business objectives or need practical HR support, call Sophie Forrest on 01892 548156 or email sophie@forresthr.com

GDPR – Is YOUR Business Ready? A Message From ForrestHR

OVER the past month you’d be hard pressed not to have noticed emails pouring into your inbox from companies asking for permission to keep sending you deals, information and news about their brand and services.

Now with GDPR day upon us – Friday 25th May! – is your business ready?

The EU General Data Protection Regulation will replace the UK’s Data Protection Act on 25 May 2018 and the UK Government has indicated that GDPR will remain in force after Brexit.

This means that companies need to be transparent with how they hold personal data and to record what they do with it. Not only that, beyond May 25th companies will also need to maintain processes and data protection in a clear and coherent way.

Companies already compliant with the Data Protection Act should not find the transition difficult – but GDPR does set higher standards for transparency and accountability.

Consents previously obtained from individuals to use their personal data may remain in use if the way they were obtained is compliant with the new regulation. If not, consent will have to be refreshed.

What’s also new is that GDPR also grants an individual the right to ask a company for details of personal information they hold and then to request its deletion, alteration or place a restriction on how the information may be used.

Feeling concerned? If you’re in need of some last-minute help, we at ForrestHR can help in 3 simple steps to ensure you’re GDPR headache free!

1.    Assess & Analyse – Gap analysis and assessment carried out by our GDPR expert

This will identify how your business is currently placed to deal with the new data protection regulations. We will also provide detail on how to end any ‘data footprint’. Following the analysis and assessment, a report will be provided to the business detailing areas that require remedial action that we can also implement for you.

2.    Remediate & Implement

Ideally, this follows the “Assess & Analyse” step as the documents and processes will be now in line with those recommended to remedy the gaps that we have identified.  However, should you wish to cut out the Assess & Analyse option and go straight for the purchase of the ‘toolkit’ of appropriate documents, you are able to do so. Either way, our suite of documents will ensure you have everything you need to ensure you are fully compliant. Our documents will include an employee/worker privacy notice, employer’s data protection policy, client/customer privacy notice, data protection impact assessment for future data processing, procedure for dealing with subject access requests (SAR) plus many more!

3.    Monitor & Maintain

You now have everything in place, now what? Compliance with GDPR does not stop here. You need to maintain your revised processes and ensure you continue to strengthen data protection within your business.

You will need to continue with data protection impact assessments, deal, manage and respond to SAR’s and potential breach of personal data enquiries.

Is that headache coming back?! We recommend that you outsource these responsibilities and retain our GDPR expert to become your virtual Data Protection Officer (DPO) and deal with most data protection related queries on your behalf.

Each step can be purchased separately or sign up for all 3 at a discounted rate for a more cost-effective solution and most importantly removing any further GDPR anxiety.

For more information, please contact Sophie Forrest at ForrestHR: (T) 01892 548 156 (E) Sophie@ForrestHR.com, or visit www.ForrestHR.com