Reward Live: Former England Test cricketer discussed how HR directors can support employees and address mental wellbeing.

Keynote Jonathan Trott-5

Mental wellbeing and stress-related illness are often taboo subjects in the workplace. Despite this, it is an extremely signficant issue that has a direct impact on an employee’s comfort. In 2013, Jonathan Trott, former England Test cricketer, left the Ashes tour of Australia because of a longstanding stress-related condition.

Following this, he received huge criticism from the media and individuals who did not try to understand the matter. As the closing keynote speaker of Reward Live 2016, Trott advised HR directors and employers on how they can support workers and addressed wellbeing.

Drawing on his own personal experience dealing with it, he said: “I got to a point where I didn’t enjoy playing and I was struggling. Sometimes individuals put pressure on themselves, be it a sales target, a specific number of runs or something you need to get done. Often it can just be that you’re not performing as well as you used to and it worries you so you work harder.”

He explained the importance of having people around you who show a genuine interest and care. “A lot of the time the perception is that it’s something that happened over night when it’s actually something much more. We had a psychologist travelling with the team but obviously there was no definitive answer at that specific time. With mental wellbeing, there are varying degrees and there’s some sort of scale that lets people’s imagination’s run wild.”

The way employers can help is by properly communication with people who may be suffering. Trott continued and said: “Stress related illness is quite a broad spectrum but people needed to put a label on it. I think communication with employees is necessary, so that people can be sympathetic and understanding.  

“Making people aware of it and not going through it alone is what I’d like. For me, I can notice it now when individuals have too much pressure on themselves or struggling.”

Concluding his session, Jonathan Trott gave some words of advice to his engaged audience. More than anything, he left them with wisdom, not just for employers but people.

“I think it’s important to make sure you’re making your employees feeling appreciated in the workplace. I think realizing someone is going through a difficult time, it’s important to not treat them differently but accordingly. Treat people like human beings not robots [which is overlooked] by people in empowered positions.”