For me, some good has come from having depression. I'm more compassionate, more motivated and I know more about how my brain works. I try to understand other people better: that colleague who seems blunt probably doesn’t dislike me but is just having a bad day. But in spite of these benefits, having depression wasn’t exactly a walk in the park.
Awareness of mental illness is rising, with the realisation that depression isn’t the emotion of sadness and an anxiety disorder isn’t the same as feeling anxious. For me, depression feels like the day before you get a horrible cold: you’re not sneezing and don't look ill yet; but you feel like you can't think and that all your five senses are smothered in cotton wool. Turning the wrong way out of the lift or spelling your own name wrong feels like the worst thing you’ve ever done. Depression can cause you to feel very sad, hopeless or guilty, to have no interest in anything and to find it difficult to make decisions.
Prompt treatment for depression makes a huge difference: it’s easier to stay well than drag yourself out of the pit. Treatment will likely be a combination of medication; formal therapy and other therapeutic techniques such as mindfulness; increased activity and exercise; and changes in diet. Treatment, at whatever stage, doesn’t always mean a cure. Some mental health conditions for some people can only be managed, and living with a mental health problem doesn’t have to mean an effect on their performance at work.
But to get that help, you need to be aware of the problem and able to admit it. Misconceptions paint people with mental health problems as weak, unable to cope with stress, generally not up to the job, and certainly not capable of further responsibility; or they’re seen as lazy and hiding behind a label of bad mental health. No one wants to fit this description and so they force themselves to carry on as normal, often causing a downward spiral.
Deloitte colleagues I’ve told about my own experiences have been really helpful but there is still more to be done. The workplace is often where depression shows itself, so it’s here that we need to educate individuals and managers to recognise the signs of mental health problems and avoid making them worse.
How? Don’t define a person by their mental health problem: treat them as people, and be a good listener. Don’t tell people to cheer up or pull themselves together. If that worked, I promise they’d be well already. Don’t ask people why they have the illness: at best it’s intrusive, and at worst could trigger a stress or anxiety reaction. Don’t use “mad” or “schizo” (or other words relating to mental health problems) as insults. It’s demeaning.
I’m genuinely delighted that David Sproul, Senior Partner and Chief Executive at Deloitte will be signing the Time to Change pledge. It aims to improve people’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviour around mental health and is a public statement of Deloitte’s aspiration to tackle stigma and discrimination in the workplace. I am proud to be working for a firm that is helping break the silence surrounding mental health.
Jacqui Crane Jacqui Crane works in National Audit and Accounting, managing part of an internal audit change programme. She also facilitates several audit and firmwide learning courses and is one of the firm's transition coaches.
Investing in skills and talents remains a key priority for Deloitte. This doesn’t just benefit us and our clients and employees, it also benefits the wider UK economy.
All companies, large and small, across the breadth of the economy need to invest in the skills and talents of their staff. This is not just a matter of keeping up appearances and being able to boast about having the most qualified workforce in the land, but good societal sense. From the perspective of a company, investing to create a highly skilled workforce means having a workforce that is more productive, motivated and can improve the quality of the service or product in question. From the perspective of employees, increased skills can improve their earning potential and expand their career horizons.
Added to that, employees moving between organisations will bring new perspectives to old problems, share their skills and experiences with others to spread good practices and help develop the nation’s overall skills base.
To achieve parity for women in decision-making roles, men must beware of unconscious bias
Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg jolted the gender debate when she invited more men to talk about gender, arguing that's what it will take to make change at the top.
In an attempt to discuss the issue as a male and as global chairman of an organisation that employs about a hundred thousand women, I recently attended a session at the United Nations Global Compact Leaders' Summit on Women's Empowerment Principles (WEP). The room was bursting at the seams, but with the wrong audience – more than 90% were women. The speakers must have felt they were preaching to the choir.
Sandberg is right. In order for real change to occur, men need to step up and take the issue seriously. As an accountant, you might expect me to start with the numbers. Women perform 66% of the world's work, produce 50% of the food, and own approximately 40% of all private businesses in the formal economy. Women are expected to control approximately $28tn in consumer spending by next year yet remain gravely underrepresented at the helm of business organisations.
It provided us with a lifelong network of other successful people. Most of us had never been in a room with people who had high career aspirations like ourselves, had already started successful businesses or simply shared the same interests that some of our friends at home failed to understand. I think it helped to form a transition in our mind-set from leaders of our societies at University, in our local communities, to leaders of the world, leaders of the now.
Taking up the role of Relationship Manager for the Social Innovation Pioneers programme has been one of the most inspirational and developmental activities I have ever undertaken at Deloitte.
In this role, my goal was to support my Pioneer to go to scale. This involved working closely for a year with The Brightside Trust, a social enterprise which provides a unique e-mentoring portal to universities, businesses and other charities, helping young people achieve their full potential through education, employment and self-employment.
I am an experienced management consultant and a certified Executive Coach. Executive coaching is a facilitative one-to-one, mutually designed relationship between a professional coach and a key contributor who has a powerful position in an organisation. My skills and knowledge came together perfectly and over the course of the year, I was able to provide sustained guidance, support and challenge that allowed Brightside to put in place strategies to develop and grow their business. On reflection, I believe the role empowered me to become a Business Coach to my Pioneer.
Over the last six months the Deloitte National Charity Partnership has been at the forefront of every mind in our Corporate Responsibility Team. In January 2013 we launched the employee led process to select three new national charity partners from 1 June 2013 – 31 May 2016. The process resulted in 120 hugely worthy causes being nominated by our staff, over 50 volunteers from across the business taking part in the selection process, and more than 5,000 of our staff voting on a shortlist of charity nominations to select the final three charity partners.
So it is with mixed emotions that we say goodbye to Help for Heroes, Children with Cancer UK and Cancer Research UK. Over the last three years our staff have raised more than £2m, provided 3,000 hours of pro-bono support and over 5,000 volunteers have supported the charities through a number of skills based opportunities, corporate challenges and fundraising activities.
It is extremely difficult to pick out highlights from such a successful and rewarding partnership, which I hope has left a truly sustainable legacy. I’m sure every individual across the firm who has supported the partnership in some way has their own personal stories to tell. For me, a particular highlight was a short secondment to Help for Heroes in 2012, where I supported the Communications team and had the opportunity to see first-hand the impact of our work. Tedworth house, Help for Heroes’ flagship Personnel Recovery Centre, was converted in less than four months, on time and to budget with the direct support of our people. Deloitte worked at the heart of the project, utilising the full resources of the firm to support, develop and build at a strategic and operational level. The most tangible success of Tedworth House is the legacy it will leave. The House has, to date, supported over 400 wounded soldiers and will remain in operation for at least the next 99 years.
The Deloitte Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (DIIE) is an exclusive ten year partnership with the London Business School, which through its research, teaching and outreach activities, will enable our clients, people and wider society to access the latest Insights and tools needed to lead innovation within complex environments.The Deloitte Institute holds an annual programme of executive roundtable events in order to showcase the research arising from the Institute and to disseminate that research and its findings to a high level corporate audience.
An executive roundtable was held on January 30th led by Prof. Ioannis Ioannou and featuring Heather Hancock, Deloitte Managing Partner for Talent and Brand. The event was hosted by Sir Andrew Likierman and was attended by senior executives from major corporations and non-profits. In the video below, Ioannis and Heather summarise the roundtable discussion with Ioannis sharing some of his latest research on the drivers of corporate social innovation.
“In this project we explore which organizations engage in social innovation and why they do so. Social innovation refers to those product, process or business model innovations that are specifically designed to synergistically generate economic as well as environmental and social good. Social innovation is powerful because it harnesses the full power of profit-seeking businesses to invest in opportunities that tackle the world’s most acute challenges (e.g. climate change and global warming). We hope to provide a better understanding of how social and environmental issues are increasingly becoming embedded in the firms’ business models and the drivers for this trend. We also examine whether, when and how such embeddedness creates economic, social and environmental impact.” Ioannis Ioannou, Assistant Professor, Strategy and Entrepreneurship
Claire Bench Claire is Head of Community Investment at Deloitte, leading the firm’s major community and volunteering initiatives including our Skills and Education programmes and our support to social enterprise.
What an achievement! Everyone involved should be proud of raising over £1M for the British Paralympic Association (BPA), on a night when we were also celebrating the announcement of Deloitte continuing as title sponsor of our corporate cycling challenge Deloitte Ride Across Britain, and signing on as an official partner of the BPA through to the 2016 Paralympic Games.
On Tuesday I was fortunate enough to be invited to the BPA’s £1m Celebration. It was great speaking to Paralympian Craig McCann who is taking part in Deloitte Ride Across Britain (RAB) 2013 and hearing how the money raised made a difference to ParalympisGB in the London 2012 Games. Since 2006 we have been a dedicated partner of the BPA and through Deloitte RAB we surpassed our aim to raise £1m by 2013 a year early. In fact, over the last three years Deloitte RAB riders have pedalled almost 1,800,000 miles and raised £1,151,689 in total. If every pound equated to a mile, what has been raised would get us to Rio and back 200 times and to the moon and back almost 5 times (at least I was reliably told this fact anyway!).
After our firm’s transformational impact on disability sport in the UK before and during the London 2012 Paralympic Games and the now confirmed extended support, Deloitte is clearly showing our legacy commitment to ensure the disability sport movement in the UK continues to go from strength to strength to see even more medals won in Rio 2016.
From grass roots to gold medals, we’re also proud to be sustaining our backing for the British Paralympic Association, as their Official Partner, on their journey to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. This integral support, combined with funds raised through Deloitte RAB, will help the BPA maintain the momentum of ParalympicsGB, who won more medals at the London Games than ever before. We believe that it is the continued success of this team that will inspire the nation to think differently about disability.
Jess is a Disability Sport Marketing Executive at Deloitte
Reflecting on the many conversations I’ve had with clients, and others, this week, it’s clear that there is a definite sense of optimism compared to the position at the start of 2012.
The concerns of last year—particularly of a eurozone exit—have receded materially. Despite the continued low growth in Europe there is a definite feeling of greater resilience and a growing confidence that economies are improving, albeit slowly. I’ve also seen much greater recognition of the need for business leaders to have a stronger voice in making the case for responsible business.
Alongside client meetings, Davos has also again provided a good opportunity to engage with the media—with the BBC, the Telegraph and the Times all carrying interviews.
Today’s highlight, however, was the opportunity to join the British business leaders’ lunch. Having heard David Cameron speak yesterday, I was looking forward to Boris Johnson speaking. He delivered a tour de force in setting out an optimistic picture of London and, by extension, the UK’s continued place as a world leader. As you’d expect he didn’t waste the opportunity to make the case for a new airport in London! The accompanying photograph also shows that he became the second major political figure to enjoy our live scribe wall at Davos.
Day two started with a panel on ‘Fostering Entrepreneurial Innovation’ that included Barry Salzberg, Global CEO DTTL. It was a really great session that brought home just how hard it is to embed disruptive innovation into a large organisation.
A lot of the discussion, though, was about product innovation and there was less about service innovation— which I see as key to our future success.
The role of innovation in creating more sustainable growth has been one of the main themes at Davos today. It means our own focus on the role of leaders, the creation of an environment to foster innovation, and the importance of paying attention to the societal benefits of innovation, has been hugely topical.
Deloitte has also opened an online forum at Davos that allows anyone to share their ideas on business, innovation and its impact on society. The best ideas are being transcribed onto a live scribe wall. You should see a picture on the right of both the wall and a very recognisable face. I’ve enjoyed seeing a small slice of our market leading collaboration facility, the iZone, transplanted into the Swiss mountains. I would encourage you to share your ideas on innovation through this online forum.