Victoria Tipper is an accredited executive coach, utilizing a holistic approach to high performance coaching for both individuals and teams within organisations. She acts as a sounding board as clients explore what their best looks like and the best path to get there, facilitating their journey from good to great. Key focus areas concentrate on strengths-based coaching, managing mindset, enhancing resilience and maintaining wellbeing enabling clients to thrive in their roles, as well as in life. She believes that in order to achieve excellence her clients must maintain a life of balance, so building that bridge between life & work is essential.
We caught up with Victoria in preparation for her involvement in the Wellbeing at Work Middle East Summit on 21-23 February to find out why she is so passionate about wellbeing at work and why she is looking forward to the Summit.
We are thrilled that you will be speaking at our Wellbeing at Work Middle East Summit in February. Our first and most important question is, how are you doing today?
Absolutely fantastic as I have just returned from an incredibly relaxing 2 week holiday in Thailand. It was such a great opportunity to recharge and reflect on my goals for 2023! It is so important to take time out and switch off completely. The trip included a lot of self-care including massages, yoga, meditation and all of this was combined with getting out into nature which is an amazing antidote to stress.
As a leader based in the region, what are the main challenges you are facing when it comes to employee wellbeing?
The global pandemic brought with it a trend known as the “Wellbeing-Engagement Paradox.” Where for the first time in 2020 employee engagement and wellbeing became disconnected, as wellbeing declined engagement actually increased. Such a predicament brings with it an increased risk of burnout for employees.
A 2020 survey from Gallup found that seven out of ten people worldwide are struggling or suffering in their daily lives. They also found that negative emotions such as anger, stress, worry and sadness reached record levels in 2020, suggesting an urgent need to prioritise employee wellbeing. Gallup’s 2022 State of the Global workforce report showed that employees are even more stressed than they were in 2020, with 60% being emotionally detached at work and almost 1 in 5 are miserable!
The world has experienced a turbulent few years with lots of uncertainty, companies are cutting budgets and reducing staff and I am noticing that many leaders I coach are struggling with energy levels. Companies are trying to do more with less staff and of course that’s depleting employee wellbeing. The equation for anxiety is:
Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness
With so much uncertainty in this current climate so many employees are experiencing mental health struggles for the first time and this is impacting sleep, happiness levels and overall quality of life.
What strategies have you seen developing in the region over the past 6-12 months to address health and wellbeing in the workplace?
An effective approach to improve employee wellbeing has been through strength based coaching. This is where a strengths finder tool is used to uncover each employees’ unique psychological traits. Those strengths are in fact needs and when they are being met they recharge wellbeing batteries so a persons quality of life progresses. It is all about increasing self-awareness so the individual can uncover what their ‘best version of self’ looks like and also be aware of their patterns of self sabotage – so they can create a bespoke wellbeing plan for success.
The meaning of wellbeing differs from person to person, what energises someone may drain another. Consider the interplay between strengths and wellbeing as our internal batteries. When we are doing well, leveraging our strengths daily we are energised with the batteries fully charged and that sense of wellbeing is heightened. We turn up in both the workplace and at home as our best self when those internal batteries are charged. Uncovering how you as an individual recharges is a key step in wellbeing optimisation.
The next level is to conduct team strengths wellbeing to increase understanding of the unique lens through which their colleagues see the world, which of course reduces judgement and results in a happier, more engaged and higher performing team which massively impacts wellbeing.
Why is employee wellbeing so important to you personally?
Around seven years ago I personally experienced extreme fatigue, my face exploded with hives and I got close to experiencing burnout. This was after an extremely stressful time where I neglected my own self-care and wellbeing, leading to me uncovering that I have an autoimmune condition. My background is in Genetics, Nutrition and Executive Coaching so I have all the knowledge and tools that should have prevented me from getting to that stage. It was a real wakeup call and a stark realisation that if I was suffering like this (with my wellbeing background) then many must be experiencing the same and worse! Thankfully, I am now treating my autoimmune condition holistically, prioritising rest (yoga, meditation, beach walks, sleep) and scheduling it into my diary as if it were a client meeting. We need to learn to slow down to speed up, the best prioritise rest! I love the simple yet effective equation for growth:
GROWTH = STRESS + REST
My mission is to pass on the message and empower employees to create their own wellbeing plan, creating their unique rituals around rest and recovery.
What are you most looking forward to about our event in February?
Really excited to have so many experts in the room! It will be an amazing opportunity to hear what initiatives have worked well within their organisation and equally important is to know which strategies were not successful and to explore the why behind that. As a person who is high in relationship building strengths, a big draw for me is to meet new and interesting people and further grow the community.
Tell us, what is your vision for the workplace of the future, in terms of employee engagement, health and wellbeing?
Most people spend most of their awake hours at work so it massively impacts wellbeing. The foundations of high performance in the workplace are wellbeing and engagement and we know that 70% of employee engagement is down to their manager. So the workplace of the future really needs to focus on having better leaders. The movement away from a control and command culture towards leaders who are better collaborators, listeners and essentially lead through coaching employees. For employees to feel motivated they must have autonomy, mastery and to truly feel cared for in the workplace. This is the workplace of the future, an environment that enables employees to thrive! It all starts from the top!
There are different elements of wellbeing that need to be met in order for employees to thrive:
• Career – this is the foundation of wellbeing and living the best possible life. People want a good job and want to enjoy what they do every day.
• Social – to have meaningful relationships, data shows we need 6 hours daily of social time (includes time at work so important to have a best friend at work).
• Financial – to have a sense of control and security around finances.
• Physical – have the energy to feel active and productive everyday. Enough energy to get things done, so this really focuses on improving sleep, nutrition, movement and rest
• Community – to like where you live and have a sense of belonging, contributing to the community you belong to
• Purpose – the compelling reason for being, for employees to understand their why and live in alignment with it and their personal values
What areas do you think employers should be focused on over the next 12-18
It has to be a holistic approach to wellbeing, ensuring the different pillars are being supported by creating an environment that allows employees to focus on their health and for the senior leaders to be championing initiatives. A focus on energy optimisation is crucial, the basis of which is always around supporting physical health (sleep hygiene, nutrition, movement and rest/recovery). A major focus needs to be on creating better leaders, this is the secret to employee engagement and happiness. Another big shift is the movement towards what is right with people, the strengths-based approach. Uncovering those innate traits and building on them so people improve in terms of performance and also overall quality of life. Those strengths can then be applied to create bespoke wellbeing plans for employees, leaving people feeling more energised and engaged in the workplace.
How has your organisation been leading the way?
We at 2bLimitless have been supporting organisations through strengths based wellbeing programmes. We work with individuals and teams to improve their self-awareness so they can create their own bespoke strength based wellbeing goals and rituals. For example, a person who is high in the competition strength will have a need to use metrics around rituals and goals, or a person high in the includer strength will do well to be part of a larger group for their wellbeing rituals and someone with learner as a strength needs to ensure they are exposed to new information or experiences as part of their wellbeing goals.
We have also been conducting education sessions on many different topics from ‘making friends with stress’, ‘mastering mindset and behaviour change’ or ‘boosting brain health’, ‘importance of gut health‘ and ‘managing moods with foods’.
Victoria will be in Riyadh at the Wellbeing at Work Middle East Summit that takes place both live and in-person in Riyadh and Dubai and virtually for the wider region. Further details on the Summit can be found here.