Casey Richardson is Chief Credit Officer at Hello Tractor and will be speaking on day two of the Wellbeing at Work South Africa Summit between 25-26 October and we wanted to get her thoughts before she takes to the virtual stage.
We are thrilled that you will be speaking at our Wellbeing at Work SA Summit in October. Our first and most important question is, how are you doing today?
I am great! Thank you very much for asking! I’m thrilled to be speaking at the Wellbeing at Work SA Summit as well.
As a leader based in the region, what are the main challenges your you are facing when it comes to employee wellbeing?
One of the main challenges we’re facing is intentionally leaning in to make sure that employees feel connected and seen in a work dynamic that has become a lot more remote-led since the COVID-19 pandemic.
While there have always been priorities outside of the office, the COVID-19 presented some pretty unique challenges that touched everyone in our organization in one way or another. We’re all still dealing with the impacts of that, and its our priority to ensure that employees know that we continue to keep their safety and wellness as a priority – even as routines return to business as usual.
What strategies have you seen developing in South Africa over the past 6-12 months post pandemic to address health and wellbeing in the workplace?
I’ve seen that companies (and workforces alike) have been pretty flexible with turning in-office / quarantine mandates on and off as needed, to ensure that everyone remains as safe as possible during spikes. Seeing the agility of governments, schools, small businesses, and corporates has been something I look at with pride.
Why is employee wellbeing so important to you personally?
Employee wellbeing is important to me personally because I’ve experienced situations where I couldn’t compartmentalize my personal life while in the office – even when I wanted to. I am the survivor of domestic violence, I experienced an abrupt divorce, I’ve had to move my entire life for safety.
These are instances that actually put the relationships that I had with my place of work to the test – and they showed up for me with powerful resources when I need it most. People drive companies – no algorithms or machines. It is important that leaders keep that top of mind and take care of them.
What are you most looking forward to about the Summit in October?
I am most looking forward to the diversity of thought that will be on display. Companies today are extremely different from how they may have looked just three years ago. Hearing the thought leadership across industries, departments and even geographic lines will be invigorating.
Tell us, what is your vision for the workplace of the future, in terms of employee engagement, health and wellbeing?
I believe that the workplace of the future must be the workplace of today. As companies are grappling with new trends, such as The Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting, they must be agile in their approach to increasing retention and engagement right now. A few keys to getting this right will be leading with an employee-centric philosophy (including buy-in, meaningful benefits, strong healthcare, flexible working environments, etc.).
What areas do you think employers should be focused on over the next 12-18 months?
Over the next 12 months, I believe that employers will need to focus on better understanding the concerns and desires of the GenZ population. They are much more vocal, socially and environmentally conscious, and risk tolerant that generations before them. Companies will not be able to ignore these characteristics, as the future of their company will depend on attracting and cultivating this talent.
As themes like social media, decentralization, and social commerce rise – companies would be wise to open channels of observation and learning so that they stay ahead of (or at least at pace with) the curve.
How has your organisation been leading the way?
Hello Tractor has been leading the way in prioritizing wellbeing at work by keeping a pretty flat hierarchy, encouraging everyone to communicate with anyone in the company – no matter their placement on the org chart.
We are also an extremely innovative startup, moving very quickly to test ideas in the market and validate assumptions. We source ideas from within the company, giving great opportunity for employees to elevate feedback, pain points and theories. Our workforce appreciates the inclusion that they have – as we prove to them that they have a real voice at the table.
Lastly, we are intentional about affirming and validating women within our company – which has a natural overspill of benefit outside of the firm. Agriculture and AgTech have not always done a good job including women. We are intentional disruptors in our industry and have a rich, vibrant culture as a result.
Join us at the Wellbeing at Work South Africa Summit between 25-26 October 2022 live in Cape Town and virtually and hear from Casey and over 30 expert speakers from across the world. Further details here.