Wellbeing programs are more popular than ever, with companies having more of an understanding of the importance they have in a workplace. For many larger corporations they started off as employee perks, however, wellbeing programs within small-sized businesses are on the rise.

We caught up with Suzanna Jones a Mindset & Leadership coach to find out more about the importance of having a wellness programme in every company.

If you’re not familiar with her, Suzanna worked for Change for almost 6 years as an Associate Director and has over 10 years of experience working in Hospitality Recruitment, before leaving to train as a Mindset & Leadership Coach.

Before you became a Mindset & Leadership Coach, you had a long career in Hospitality Recruitment and as an Associate Director at Change. Tell us a bit about your experience and what inspired you to explore a new path?

I have always been interested in personal development from a young age and was forever picking up self-help books and new resources to learn and grow myself (I am now obsessed with podcasts they were what got me through my early morning commutes to work!) I never really defined it before or gave it much thought as to why this was. As I grew older, I came to realise that my friends and family were always coming to me for advice or just to talk and I found that I was genuinely interested in finding a way to help. My path simply found me, as cliché as it may sound. By nature, my role in recruitment trained me to be a good listener and to understand people's needs (clients, candidates and my team members alike). This combined with my passion for growth of mental and emotional wellbeing guided me down this route.

Where did you train to be a Mindset & Leadership coach?

I trained with The Mindful Talent Academy, which is accredited by The Association for Coaching. Alister Gray the Founder came into work (Change) to deliver a coaching workshop and I immediately connected with him. I was super intrigued and was hooked from there. Coaching has opened my eyes to a completely new world of self-awareness. That's all it takes. Self-awareness is the first step! The course gave me tools to better understand myself, allowing me to better understand others.

How can employers implement a Wellness scheme in their workplace?

It first starts from the top. If management see the importance of wellness within the workplace, then this will have a wider effect and the rest of the team will benefit from this. Employers must understand that their team have human needs, not just physical but also emotional. To simply put it, it's not just about monetary incentives, promotions or competitions. It's also about being understood, being listened to and feeling a sense of belonging. Some really effective options that don't require a high budget at all include: appoint someone in your team as a Wellness Officer (to coordinate activities centred around wellbeing, or to come up with new initiatives), encourage lunch breaks, subsidise gym memberships, cycle to work schemes, organise team days (not just going to the pub!), have an open-door policy on set days of the week, the list goes on. Managers need to dedicate time to think about this and it will all trickle down from there.

By not having a Wellness scheme in a workplace, what impact does this have on a company?

It has a huge impact. High turnover, unhappy and de-motivated staff who tend to be there for 'a job' rather than to make a difference to the company. Unless they can feel they are making an impact to the company, it will be difficult for them to go that extra mile and be loyal to the company.

Do you think it’s a necessity to have someone full-time in a workplace implementing Health & Wellbeing?

Of course having a dedicated, full-time person will help big time, but it also depends on the size of the company and budget. I don't think it's necessary and to start, you don't need a huge budget for implementing Health & Wellbeing in the workplace; all it takes is awareness and for employers to really care about what their teams are going through. It starts with management and their mindset. Some companies like Change, who are really supportive of their staff's development bring in coaches to deliver workshops and training. I've been lucky enough to return to my old workplace, and work with some of my old colleagues in a different capacity as a Consultant/Mindset & Leadership Coach. It's helped immensely that I've experienced the ins-and-outs of the role (being in hospitality recruitment for almost 10 years), both emotional, practical and bringing a new perspective to the table. It's best to qualify the coach and the trainer to make sure they're right for your company/industry if you do decide to bring someone in from the outside.

You are also opening a retreat space in Thailand. That's amazing! Tell us more...

Slowing down my thoughts and spending time to become more aware of what I actually wanted brought me clarity. I decided to write down a list of everything I desired in my life, and one of the things on that list was to have my own business. After 3 months of travelling in South & Central America, I completed my coaching course and decided that I wanted to bridge the gap between UK and Asia and be closer to family. My husband and I decided to turn my old family home in Chiang Mai, Thailand into a private villa space for retreats, events and holidays rentals. Saraphi Houseis opening its doors this November 2019 and I can't wait to welcome you all! Our events will be centred around wellness, food and culture. Lots of foodie events to come and I hope to collaborate with some of my old Chef clients and candidates too! It's funny how I'm now on the other side of hospitality, as an operator! It's a super exciting time.

If you would like to find out more about implementing a wellness scheme within your workplace or your daily routine visit, Mindful Talent where you can get some great tips, advice and information on wellness events near you.

If you would like to follow Suzanna’s journey or to find out more about visiting Saraphi House visit her website.