Lauren Adams has experienced the benefits of flexible and inclusive working, in both her experience in HR and as somebody living with a long-term health condition herself. Here, she shares her tips and tricks for the workplace, hopes for the future of Astriid, and most importantly, which Hogwarts house she belongs to…
I’m Lauren Adams, and in my day job I’m an HR Director at the CBI, responsible for all things ‘people’. This includes everything from recruitment, to payroll and benefits, employee relations, performance & development, training, diversity and inclusion, wellbeing… when it comes to people, the list is endless!
My job is essentially making sure we attract, retain and develop great people, and that our organisation supports people to thrive at work. My previous roles have all been very similar but more targeted towards learning and organisational development, making sure people have the skills and opportunities they need to grow their careers.
Outside of work I’m recently married, and spend my weekends with friends and family and exploring all of the UK’s National Trusts!
In the UK, one in three people of working age have a long-term health condition and as many as one in four people might suffer from mental ill-health. As an HR Director, I know that such a huge proportion of your talent pool being at risk means there is definite potential for loss of talent.
As a business, you are uniquely placed to have a positive impact on your staff’s wellbeing, and as employers, there are lots of things we can all do – small or large – that can make a difference to how our employees feel at work, or if they even want to come to work for you at all! Astriid is very well placed to be able to support organisations with accessing this hidden talent pool, and form those connections where currently they are missing.
For me as an individual, I suffer from mental ill-health; and I know first-hand how challenging it can be to remain in work and manage your wellbeing. I am lucky to work for an organisation that supports my wellbeing and offers great benefits such as flexible working, private medical care, access to mental health first aiders, training, and more, all of which really contribute to helping me recover or stay well.
Astriid has a huge opportunity to link individuals in with organisations who are equally well placed to offer such roles – and I can’t wait to help them get started! They also help break the stigma around ill health and working – showing that ill health doesn’t necessarily have to be a barrier to a great and fulfilling career.
Mental health is an ever-changing spectrum and very individual, so your wellbeing plan may well look different to mine, but I encourage everyone to spend some time thinking about what works for them. A period of being unwell and off work this summer reminded me how very hard being unwell (physically or mentally) at work really is. After this, I had a few reflections I shared with our business and so will again now. They aren’t the normal ‘HR’ advice, but they’re what have worked for me:
For me, this is such an exciting time as I can see the huge potential Astriid has. It is such a unique charity and I can’t wait to get stuck in and help make a difference, to assist people in accessing roles and organisations they would love and be an asset to.
For me, the goal has to be the placements and turning all the names who have signed up either as potential employees or as businesses into connections. So, my overall goal for the year is to help support those fantastic organisations that have signed up to start making job offers and placements.
I am indeed; even my guinea pigs are named after Harry Potter characters. I’m a bookworm at heart and love to learn so I’m probably a Ravenclaw. Although, I’m pretty sure my husband and family would attest I certainly have the odd bit of Slytherin from time to time!