November 8, 2023 All Articles

Meet the Speaker: Danielle Owen Whitford, Founder, Pioneera

Danielle, a former corporate executive, founded start-up Pioneera in 2018 to improve our mental health by tackling the crippling issue of workplace burnout and improving “positive” productivity. Pioneera’s world-first solution uses artificial intelligence informed by evidence-based psychology, to identify signs of burnout and provide tech-assisted early intervention. Ahead of it’s time, Pioneera’s award-winning solution is now the only product in the market that can provide real-time mental health data to meet new safety regulations and ESG reporting requirements and is gaining strong interest across both large and small Australian businesses.

We are thrilled you will speak at our Wellbeing at Work Australia Summit in November. Our first and most important question is, how are you doing today?

I am well thank you and looking forward to a break and some family time over the festive season.

As a leader based in the region, what are the main challenges you are facing when it comes to employee wellbeing?

How to keep people supported, focused and productive whilst there is so much happening around us. The convergence of so many global and social factors impact wellbeing, so my focus is on supporting others, prioritising tasks to minimise overwork and overwhelm, keeping it simple and being kind to myself and others.

What strategies have you seen developing over the past 6 months, both internally and externally, that is moving the dial on wellbeing in the workplace?

There has been a language change around accepting wellbeing as useful to companies and employees. We’re seeing lots of interest and understanding of the role of wellbeing and some genuine commitment to supporting people and organisations. We’re now looking for sustainable and measurable solutions to wellbeing, so we move from language to action – it’s not just a nice to have but a critical part of business.

Why is employee wellbeing so important to you personally?

I experienced burnout many years ago, completely unexpectedly, which wasn’t great for me or my family. I wanted to prevent that happening to others. So I started Pioneera to solve that problem, by creating a tech a solution that was scalable and helped people in real time.

What are you most looking forward to about the Summit in November?

I love to learn from others about the wins they are getting in supporting employee wellbeing and productivity and be inspired about progress and opportunities. It’s also very positive for our mental wellbeing to look to the future to help us move forward in the present.

Tell us, what is your vision for the future workplace, in terms of engagement, health and wellbeing?

My vision is that we’re not having to run specific events for wellbeing and health, as it’s part of the way we work! Finance and technology have become core business enablers, I believe wellbeing and productivity should be the same and I am passionate about advancing wellbeing and productivity in the workplace.

What areas do you think employers should be focused on over the next 12 months?

Positive productivity – the combination of wellbeing and productivity is key. Australia has very low productivity intelligence – ie how to understand and measure productivity for knowledge roles, which is 90% of job growth. Positive productivity tools, such as the evidence based diagnostic tool from Pioneera, allows us to measure wellbeing in terms of organisational value whilst managing people risk and keeping companies within FairWork regulations. Given low unemployment, companies want to keep the best talent they have and this is the healthy way to retain staff and increase productivity.

How has your organisation been leading the way?

At Pioneera we have created a suite of tools, that offer real-time insights into employee psycho-social metrics using innovative AI technology, with a mission to harmonise well-being and productivity. Our solution, uses AI and evidence-based psychology, to improve wellbeing, productivity and reduce risk in the work place. It identifies early signs of burnout and provides tech-assisted early intervention. Our clients call it a “game-changer”

Danielle will be speaking in Sydney at the Wellbeing at Work Summit Australia which takes place both live and in-person in Sydney and Melbourne, and virtually for the wider region. Further details on the Summit can be found here.

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