Finding purpose; my journey from Olympic athlete to workplace wellbeing advocate.

The moment that I saw GBR next to a big number two on the scoreboard after my team crossed the line at the Seaforest Waterway in Tokyo, I was finally satisfied. Years of hard graft, lung busting sessions and absolute dedication had led me to the most intense euphoria. It was truly like I couldn’t have a care in the world. We’d had our eyes set on an Olympic medal, and we had done it.

As the euphoria wore away, I started to realise that my career as an international rower was probably over. Against all odds, I had achieved everything that I had ever dreamed of and it was time for something new. But what? How was I going to replace the challenge of my Olympic pursuit that I had followed since childhood?

For me, there were two things that really mattered to me as I started out looking for jobs. Firstly, I wanted to  work for a company that was doing something that would improve people’s lives. The second and most important thing – and this one was non-negotiable – is that I wanted to be cared for and encouraged to work in a way that worked for me. 

A couple of months (and of course many celebrations) later,  I decided to start looking for jobs. I wasn’t that sure what to expect, as for the last 10 years there was only one ‘company’ that I could work for. I had a British passport, therefore I had to race for the British team. However, as I checked out the ‘jobs’ section on Linkedin, there were literally thousands of opportunities. I wasted no time in writing a CV and applying to a selection of jobs across a few industries.

I was pleasantly surprised at the response I got. Of course I had my fair share of immediate rejections, but I had a very good selection of invites to interviews. I got a smart haircut and a nice new suit and went to some interviews! I really didn’t know what to expect, and I really enjoyed the process. I spent quite a long time in the interviews asking how the companies will invest in my development, how they will invest in my wellbeing, and what the culture is really like. I felt more as though it was my opportunity to interview them than for them to interview me. 

Just before Christmas I was fortunate to be in a situation where I had three job offers in a week, and had to choose which one to take. A nice problem to have right? Well judging by how my job search was, and just how many opportunities there were, I’m convinced that this is a situation faced by many candidates at the moment.

Faced with three job offers, how did I choose? Well they were all offering near enough the same amount of money which was an amount I was happy with, so that wasn’t going to be the differentiator. All three jobs were working in fields where I would be selling products that would be helping people either with their physical and/or mental health, and I thought all three were great in that respect. 

I chose from the conversations that I had in my interviews, and the answers that I had to the questions I asked. I had picked up on a couple of things that were ‘red flags’ for me throughout the processes. The biggest red flag for me was in my final interview for one company where I told them I was flying on holiday the next day to which the hiring manager’s response was “enjoy your holiday, it’s the last one you’ll have for a while”.

As I drove home from the interview, I mulled this over in my head. What did they mean by that, and what does it tell me about the culture at this company?  One sentence in this whole process had completely put me off the company. There was no way I was taking a job where I had any concern about how my wellbeing would be looked after, especially as I had options. 

I decided to take a job at BetterSpace because their values and culture shone through in every stage of the interview process. I felt like I would be joining a family rather than a business. I had absolute confidence that I was going to be valued as an individual, and guided to become the best that I can be in my role. On top of this I would also have access to the BetterSpace app, with a budget of £50 a month to spend on my own wellbeing. This is the most attractive benefit of all of the benefits that I saw in any of the (thousands of) job descriptions that I read.

I am not the only person turning down jobs in favour of a company that will take care of my wellbeing needs. We have all heard of the phrases ‘Great Resignation’ and ‘War for Talent’ now, and they are really happening. My story is similar to many among my peers since the pandemic kicked off, and it only takes one look on the Linkedin ‘jobs’ tab to see how many opportunities people have. So put your people first and build a truly supportive culture with robust psychological safety at the core, as without talent, there is no revenue.


ABOUT BETTERSPACE

BetterSpace is the employee wellbeing platform putting control where it belongs: in the hands of the individual employee. Our groundbreaking solution has been developed with medical and domain expertise and is aligned to our Six Pillars of Wellbeing. BetterSpace empowers your workforce to understand and fulfill their mental health needs. 

This approach has achieved engagement rates of 94%, compared to the average usage rate of 2-18% for Employee Assistance Programmes and 10-40% for points solutions.

Want to know more? Schedule a product demonstration with us today.

Workplace wellbeing insights