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  • Writer's pictureKatie Maycock

Resilience with the Fairy Godmother

Updated: Apr 9, 2021

The Fairy Godmother of all Fairy Godmothers! Rhonda D'Ambrosio of Mental Health and Recruitment spoke with me about:


Have a listen and make sure to subscribe to stay updated! Transcript below.


You can find the full LIVE here on my YouTube Channel or you can catch them as they happen via my LinkedIn.

Can't Miss Links from the podcast:

- The Calling Bullsh*t On Your Diet (Plan)

- Mental Health In Recruitment

- Mental Health In Recruitment - LinkTree

- Thriving at work - The Stevenson / Farmer review of mental health and employers



Katie 0:06

Rhonda and I have been chatting it up for five minutes thinking we will live but we were not live. So for those of you who are there, please let us know if you can, you can hear us pop it in the comment section I should be able to see it. But hopefully we're live because hey, this is an important topic.

Rhonda 0:24

I already knocked over a glass of water. LinkedIn is having technical difficulties. Hey, what better topic? Hi, LinkedIn!

Katie 0:32

Please let us talk about resilience. So you might learn a thing or two from us. All right, so everybody welcome back to the Get Your Sh*t Together Live Show on LinkedIn. Or just Get Your Sh*t Together Live Show. I'm here with Rhonda D'Ambrosio, the fairy godmother of all fairy godmothers. And I am so happy that you're here to talk about a topic that has been done to death. High five! But could you please introduce yourself because I can't I can't do it just justice. I mean, you're the fairy godmother.

Rhonda 1:02

You know, you put me on the spot and it's it's never as good as it should be. You know, I've suddenly got this new title of fairy godmother, which I don't dislike, you know, as long as I can be more Galinda, Good Witch Fairy Godmother than old one from Cinderella. I'm Rhonda D'Ambrosio. I've worked in the recruitment industry for 24 years, I, I would class myself or I've been classed by others as resilience and quality of thinking expert. And I'm also the founder of Mental Health In Recruitment and not not for profit, and not for profit, driving understanding to the awareness of mental health in the industry and what it actually means. So we're really having a day of it today. But can we just not have a chat and pretend? Are we are we live? Do we know we're alive? Is--

Katie 1:50

We're 100% live. I've got the comments coming through. Knowing that we're live. So the first one didn't want a bar of us. But right now this live is this live's going, this-- it's live, it actually is live.

Rhonda 2:02

It's live, we can't actually speak or get our words out properly. Brilliant.

Katie 2:05

We're having a good day, we're having a good day. I think you know what you and I met about a year ago, and we started talking about resilience a year ago, because it was locked down number one, or it was just about to be locked down number one from from memory. And we spoke a little bit about resilience, we're talking about, okay, people gonna have to be resilient in this time. And I remember speaking to a magnitude of people during that time, they're like, yep, you know, we just gotta get through the next four weeks, six weeks, and you know what, we'll bounce back and everything will be alright, it's gonna be really resilient. Grit my teeth and bare it and lo and behold a year later we're still in another lockdown. So I think resilience, even though it is something that's spoken a lot about, I think it's something that we have to revisit, and we do have to have a conversation about especially looking forward as well. We definitely need to look at burnout. And we need to look at people coming back into the workplace as well. But Rhonda, what do you think about resilience? You know, you and I chatted about it a lot, but what is your take on the last year and resilience?

Rhonda 3:03

Gonna say something controversial. So sick to death of hearing about it, and it's a living, you know, oh, let's be more resilient. How do we be more resilient? We need resilience more than ever. And, of course, I absolutely agree with that. But I do you think that the the understanding and how we're defining resilience right now and and how as we have in the last 12 months has definitely changed, and we've gone on a journey with it. So, you know, just like we had unprecedented and just like we had to pivot, you know, resilience has thrown itself in there a little bit as well. And I hate to say it, I think mental health has, you know, I firmly believe, you know, I'm a I've been talking about this topic for eight years now. Mental health is a pandemic in itself, and how we approach it, address it and look at it in the corporate world, for me is it needs to be a priority. And unfortunately, I think because of the situation we've been in there is a danger that some people are just blocking it out. It's just noise. This is just noise just ignore it. And it will we'll all get back together as soon as possible get back to normal as soon as possible.

Katie 4:06

Yeah, I actually I agree with that. I think what I've seen especially in the last 12 months is mental health has become a very big topic. It was already a pretty big topic before the the lockdown and before the pandemic. However, I do think we've merged them. And I think what companies have done is look looking at how they can support their team with mental health during the pandemic rather than actually you know, what the issues were already dead have just bubbled to the surface because people are working from home. They're you know, they're feeling a lot more uncertain, they're a lot more uncomfortable. There's a lot more things going on in their world, which is yes, making that stress and anxiety worse. However, is but it bubbled up to the surface just because when we go back to work and things go back to normal, whatever that is, whatever that looks like, doesn't necessarily mean that mental health issues are just going to mental like just magically disappear. I mean, you are the fairy godmother, but I do not think that you can make mental health issues disappear. I mean, you've been watching in this field for eight years, this is something that I've been doing for a number of years as well, the issues were already there, burnout was already an issue, stress was already an issue. Mental health was already a huge issue. It's just been exacerbated in the last 12 months.

Rhonda 5:14

I don't I think the actual differences in terms of performance and company, I think what we've done historically is we talked about resilience in terms of overcoming the challenges that we faced on the job. And now that in itself can be beneficial to us and make us stronger in the workplace. And I think the benefit now is we are linking those two things together, we're linking resilience more to that individual, personal, I like to talk about stress vulnerability piece. And that, you know, it's, again, it's a blessing in disguise, because I absolutely agree with you, you know, if you go back to the very first picture that mental health and recruitment put on their Instagram, it was, you know, mental health is for life, not just Coronavirus, which I stand by, however, the pandemic has definitely created a level of awareness that perhaps wasn't there before. And I talk about this a lot. Business owners, business leaders, managers have experience some of these, some of these setbacks themselves and have struggled themselves, which has made them perhaps more open to understanding the challenges that their employees and their workforce have been facing on a day to day basis. So I think I think like most things, there's two sides to it.

Katie 6:22

I think there is two sides to it. And I do think that mental health has, you know, definitely been come has become to the forefront of a lot of companies. And a lot of people are talking about it, I've seen some really awesome business leaders become incredibly vulnerable going, Oh my gosh, like, I'm working from home, I'm trying to homeschool, I'm trying to support my family like this is crazy. It's, you know, some people's, you know, overnight, their welds were turned upside down. And, you know, I think that being able to talk about that has been hugely beneficial. But I would love to see this actually continue, though, like the positivity around the mental health, especially in the corporate world, especially with latest being a bit more vulnerable. I would love to see that position, you know, go forward, do you think that we're going to go backwards? Or do you actually think we're going to be able to push forward with the mental health and keep the momentum going? Like, what do you think, especially when the resilience piece.

Rhonda 7:13

You know what, I do think we are going to push forward. And if we tie in resilience, it kind of it sits beautifully with the metaphor and the almost the interpretation I've always given to resilience, which is, you know, we know, it's our bounce back ability, it's our ability to overcome adversity and everything else. But you know, for a long time, I've defined resilience as a muscle, a muscle that we have to build, and we have to strengthen. And like all muscles, and like all, you know, all challenging situations, quite often we are dealing with stuff we've never dealt with before. And it's that stretch. And it's that I liken it to working out in the gym. You know, if you've if you work harder and in a different way than you've ever had to work before you strain that muscle, you pull that muscle you work that muscle, anybody that knows a lot about this will then understand the benefit in resting and then muscle coming back and being stronger. So that's why for me, I've always talked about resilience as a muscle and, and how, actually, we need to understand how to push it and strengthen it so that it goes a little bit further. And then I'll have to throw in the whole elastic band concept as well, it means that you can stretch that band further than you could the last time without it breaking. So I do think businesses are going to be in a position where it is on the agenda, they do understand it and they they now know more and understand more about pushing that elastic band for their people little bit further. Does that make sense?

Katie 8:39

Yeah, it does. I think that one of the best things that you said there, obviously I talk a lot about rest. And I talk about sleep and exercise and diet and how that can positively impact our mental health and how it can actually build resilience in itself. There's a lot of neuroscience that is coming out about actual doing hard exercise, actual hard exercise in the gym can actually build up mentally resilience as well as physical resilience. But I actually when I look at resilience, and then last year, some things that I've noticed that a lot of people are sort of doing is that they're not resting, they're going I have to be resilient. I have to keep going. I have to just sort of, you know, grit my teeth and bare it. On top of that we haven't been able to have proper holidays and I I would love to hear from people on LinkedIn. How many of you've kind of said, I'm just gonna wait until lockdowns over before I take a holiday. That's something that I have 100% heard but I actually think that we've taken when I talk to people about resilience, something that I'm hearing over and over again is that I've just got to suck it up. I've just got to go with it and in my head. That's not resilience. Resilience is like a you know a bit of bamboo. You look at it like a muscle I look at it like it's a bit of bamboo where, you know, I spent quite a bit of time in Japan a few years ago and I went to a bamboo forest and I saw when the wind was blowing, I'm looking at bamboo I'm like how is that's not snapping. If you look at bamboo, it just goes with with the wind and it bounces back. And that's how I I see resilience as being able to go with the flow, but not burn out, not take it, you know, not stretch it so far from the point where you actually snap the elastic band, because I think that's, I think a lot of people have done that.

Rhonda 10:13

Absolutely. And look, tie this back to March, April, May, when we were having those first conversations. And, you know, I can, I'm going to reference it to the recruitment industry, what I saw was a huge amount of innovation, and owners and leaders that are coming out and right, we're going to attack this in a different way, we're going to, we're going to apply ourselves here, we're going to work hard to create this opportunity. So make sure it was brilliant. There was innovation everywhere, there was collaboration everywhere. And I kept saying to, you know, company owners just be very, very cautious, because you're going gung ho into almost, you know, put the plasters on. So make sure that you're Yes, we're okay, we're looking after the business. But it's not sustainable. It's not sustainable. And that's what we do. But we're reacting to our inner survival instincts, we are trying to, you know, make sure that we are we can survive. It's that fight mode. And of course, we're not factoring in the fact that at some point, that's going to end that's going to end and then what do we do, and that those are the cycles that we've all been in, in the last year, you know, and the cycles of it and, you know, silly, silly example is, you know, I'm now back on lives back on LinkedIn, you know, my hair absolutely needs doing, I'm not a natural redhead, my nails have all fallen off, but I've gone through two or three cycles of it. So I'm a little bit more immune to it. It's like, are we you know, what, take me as you find me, at least I'm not in my pajamas today, gang. You know, we accept it, and we move forward. But that rest piece and that need to take stock to recover, to understand our learns, and to understand how we've got through these things, how we've coped with them, it's those kinds of insights that will give us the, the lay-- the layout, and the strategy to deal with these sorts of things in the future. And that's why for me, rest is so so important to rebuilding muscle.

Katie 12:02

You're, you absolutely are. And there's a lot of research coming out on the neuroscience, on the neuroscience side, actually talking about when you are having to be resilient, or even if you have to focus or if you're if you're doing something really difficult. That rest piece is where everything gets rebuilt. That's what you're building the new neural pathways. That's where you're building that neuroplasticity, which is all the new brain cells that you can learn different behaviors and different cognitive abilities. And that's really important. But without that rest, that resilient piece can't be there. You know, you can't sit there and think that you you know, what I always say is you can't sprint a marathon. And I feel like a lot of people have been trying to sprint a marathon this past year. And I just if you're right, you said a word that I always ask my clients, everyone that I speak to it's like, is what you're doing sustainable? Or is are you just thinking that for right now I can do this. But what about next week? How do you think you're gonna feel next week? And then asking employers is like, do you think this is realistic to keep asking your employees of obvious, do you think that's sustainable for them, you know, take yourself out of the equation as a as an employer, like you're going well, this is my business, you know, you're probably going to be more like more inclined to work longer hours, and you might have a bit more of the reserves, you might have a bit more resilience in your employees, because you're a business owner, when you're a business owner, you have how you've dealt, you've been dealt some cards, you've had to overcome certain things, and you probably are more resilient. So taking that aside, and actually being able to be a bit more empathetic and compassionate towards your employer employees by able to say, hey, like, is this sustainable for them? Because I think that's something that that's another conversation that I've had a couple of times with a few different people, which is, well, I can do it, why can't I? It's like, Well, yeah, we've not all had the same, like everywhere, where you sit today is your own journey. Everything, every step that you've taken, has gotten you to this point, every step someone else's take has got taken has gotten to them to that point. So you can't expect somebody to have been on the same path as you to experience the same things. Because our resilience does come from past experiences, and how we've managed them and how we've, how we've dealt with them, and being able to expect people to just sort of be able to be as resilient as you as unrealistic as well. And that's something that I really want to get across to business owners and anyone really, so that's a big part.

Rhonda 14:14

For me, you know, I've got no comment on it, you know, what I feel about it--we all have a different frame of reference for lots of different reasons. You know, for me, that's the importance of understanding why our brains the work we do, but something you just said there as well. I think the individuals, whether they're, you know, employees, whether they are the business owners, and leaders, they typically wear some of this stuff as a badge of honor. (Yeah.) You know, and I know you've talked about that in relation to burnout. And I'm talking about, you know, the fact that they've been they've been able to get through it, that, you know, the big one that I hear about our industry about the recruitment industry is people that have been around for three or four decades or so well, back in the day when I was doing it, but yeah, it is stressful. Yes, you know, it's hard. But the reality is that the world we live in is so, so different. Now (so different) that world then, that world where we didn't we after talking about this on clubhouse last week, we weren't always plugged in, we didn't have our emails on our phones, we weren't allowed to access the database. So when you left the office, when you stopped, you stopped. And that, again, is that rest piece that enabled those individuals to go into kick it to show up to be brilliant, because the world was a different different different time. And we have to adapt to that. And we have to look at that when we're considering our people and separating our own journey to their journey.

Katie 15:31

It doesn't make sense to look at where you were, you know, 20 years ago, in the industry, in any industry, realistically, I'm sort of lay the same foundation as for today. That doesn't make sense. We have to actually relay new information and new foundations to be able to better understand what we're dealing with today. Because what we're dealing with today is a different beast. You know, burnout has increased dramatically, dramatically in the last 5, 10 years. And I do think a lot of it has been the way that we work. I always talk about the 9-5 is dead. I'm in my head. I'm like, did it ever really exist? For a lot of millennials? No, not really, for most of us who are, you know, Millennials or Zoomers, whatever they call them these days, none of us really understood the nine to five, you know, we're always plugged in, we're always able to check out emails, we're always getting messages. You know, I speak to recruiters a lot. they're saying Oh, yeah, you know, I get messages on WhatsApp, you know, at 10pm at night from my client or candidate to have a chat, and I'll talk to them. That means you're on. Your brain isn't resting your brain is honestly Oh, it's just a message. It's like no, it's not, it's not just a message your brain isn't then thinking about that person's wants, needs and desires instead of actually going, I'm a human, I'm just gonna sit here, I'm gonna relax, I'm gonna have I'm gonna have a good time. It's not it's not doing that. And I think that that's something that a lot of business owners need to look at. And I think that there is a new generation of business leaders coming in that do get that to a certain extent. But then again, have we become resilient towards those types of messaging? And have we become resilient to not resting? And I would argue that I don't think we have---

Rhonda 17:03

You know, I think you're right, I think, you know, if you look at WhatsApp or any any of the the instant--platforms exists, it's accessible, it's available, we use it in those ways. And it and people think nothing of sending, you know, a message in the evening, and they think nothing of you know, I'll have stuff pop up from, you know, 9, 10, maybe even 11 o'clock. And it's, it's, we accept it. And I've worked really, really hard since Christmas, sort of turn notifications off or stuff like that also in emails, and, you know, not putting that pressure on myself to respond. Because I think it reigns in me throughout my life, you know, to be very in our industry, again, it's very, very service driven, you are going out of your way to offer really, really good service. And what we're doing is we're kind of meeting making an another rod for our own back by always being available always being accessible. And it's almost again, you almost feel like you're maybe you're not good at what you do, or that you're not giving the best service you possibly can, if you're always on and setting those boundaries is absolutely vital, in terms of self care, and managing this kind of stuff and managing your own levels without doubt.

Katie 18:13

Yeah, no, I absolutely agree. I think the boundaries, piece is really important. And I think that when we what, you know, if someone said comes to me and goes, I have to give, I have to be there for my clients, I always have to be there, you know, I've got to give this really good service. If I'm not, then someone else's, is going to take it from me. And that's coming from, you know, a very, a place of complete fear and a complete lack of trust, of understanding of your ability to be able to do your job. But I also then kind of counter argue that I go, Yeah, but if you're tired and you're frustrated, you're not thinking clearly, you're not able to make really good decisions, you kind of get stuck in the emotive response. And then you're going to become, you're going to become irritated, you're going to be reactionary, you're not going to be able to formulate a good response. And you're going to be problem solving, coming from a very different place, rather than from a logical calm place where it's going to make more sense to be able to solve a problem or to be there for that person or be there for what that person needs, if that makes sense.

Rhonda 19:08

Yeah, absolutely. And I think we've, you know, really, really important part of that is, you know, quite often we expect people to work to that to the standards that we have ourselves to just because maybe we do do those things, and we might be that sort of person and we might just get unavailable Hey, you can message me It's fine. It doesn't impact me I'm good, I'm strong. I'm all those things. We then expect other people to respond in that image. And we feel very annoyed, frustrated and let down when they don't, without understanding that going back to what we said. We're all different. We're absolutely all different and that's some of the you know, the coaching that I do some of the biggest causes of frustration and biggest causes of those negative thinking patterns is that we're measuring people by our to our own standards.

Katie 19:52

And expectations is such a massive piece if you actually look at why a lot of people leave, get burnt out, disengage any type of if you're a business owner, and you're listening to this, this is really important reasons why staff leave is because they don't understand expectations, or you put an expectation on that person that's not realistic and not sustainable. And that for that person not to say that it's unrealistic and unsustainable for everyone, it might be unrealistic and sustainable for that person. And I think expectations is so important to understand, hang on a second, am I projecting my own expectations onto somebody else? That is completely unrealistic. Because what I can do and what you can do might be vastly different. And that's really unfair, or am I actually being reasonable. And there's something else going on here. And I think that being able to distinguish between the two, and that self awareness piece is so important when it comes to being a leader, and setting those expectations and understanding, hang on a second, what's realistic, and what's sustainable here? And actually having those conversations with yourself and with your team, and actually communicating expectations is really important. And not just going like it's a two way street.

Rhonda 21:01

Yeah, right. That's absolutely, and you know, just to go sideways on that, and we talked about the mental health and recruitment survey. And if remember, we sampled, we it wasn't our intention to dig into why people in the industry might be feeling stressed. But we did ask a couple of questions at the end to collect some sample data to get a better insight. And the sample data told us that the leading cause, according to the people that took the survey of stress and recruitment industry, and in the job was leadership and management. And that tied back to expectations. And some of it like we've discussed previously, I don't think it's done with the wrong intention. No, I think that sometimes there's an assumption that, you know, we're, we're just getting on with it, we're running the business, trust us to do it. We don't need to do that with you. That's your job, you do your job. And they I think so many businesses, business owners, leaders don't understand that the transparency piece that we talked about is so so key in building trust, and the transparency leads to better communication, better communication is better at defining of expectations. And it all feeds in together, which is why a bang on so much about mental health and well being, you know, needing to be a core part of any Leadership Development Framework, because it's all about getting the best out of your people. And for me, it's very, very simple. You know.

Katie 22:24

I know, but here's the thing, I think, this is why sometimes I look at, you know, my background as a nutritionist, but also coming into this space, looking at well being and overall health and overall--But you know, mental health, including that, and over, overall well being, I always find that when something's really simple, people are like, it's gonna be more complicated. And I was like, no, it's really, really simple.

Rhonda 22:44

We want it to be more complicated, right?

Katie 22:46

We want it to be more complicated, because if it's simple, we should be really doing it right, we kind of have that judgment piece where it's like, it can't be this easy, this complex problem, you know, can't just be as simple as being transparent. But showing vulnerability, listening, listening to understand not just listening to respond, listening to understand your employee to really get it. And it might take multiple times to have the same conversation over and over in different ways to understand that person's needs and what they're actually what they need. But it's it's needed. It's all about communication and understanding individuals and individual needs. And also stop managing, like just to blanket management. Like I think that that's a huge thing, I think, understand the individual people in your team and what they need and how they need to be supported. I remember when I when I was working in sales, wasn't in recruitment in a different sales job. My manager that tried to manage me the same way should manage everybody else, but I really like to just be left alone, and I'd come to you if I'd made a mistake or if I needed help. And that was my best way of management because if you tried to micromanage me or do something different or feel like you needed to be with me maybe not micromanage but needed to be next me all the time, you're gonna distract me and it's not wasn't going to be the best for me. But understanding.

Rhonda 23:57

Understanding piece right there. (Yes.) Understanding that, you know, again, what is the why somebody sat next to you what there's, there's a miscommunication here about expectations, what is that from you, but you're right, because I'm a firm believer if if you cannot tap into an individual's drivers and motivators will not go above and beyond for you and above and beyond just this discretionary effort piece. And we know that as an economy, we lose billions in discretionary effort every every year. And that's why, for me, it ties into the business case and that understanding, I think, what's very, very interesting and anybody listening that might be able to relate to this is you know, if you run a business and you've been running a business throughout these three lockdowns, and you you've, you know, you've kind of gone through a bit of a journey. I know some leaders have been very honest with me, and they've said, Well, no, we didn't really talk to the workforce because our priority was battening down the hatches and making sure the business was going to be okay. And they just got off and they just did it. And of course, they didn't factor in the level of uncertainty that that would cause and that but but again, you know, hindsight is a beautiful thing. And the third cycle, they can now understand the value in having those conversations. And again, it's that environmental piece, it's the keep talking about psychological safety, and the, that, and the all of these things, you know, create not only a strong organizational culture, but a culture of resilience as well, a culture of coming together to, you know, you know, what, a group of bamboo using your--- than a single thing of grass or single, whatever the singular.

Katie 25:39

I am not into planting, maybe maybe Wolva will know, I'm pretty sure he's watching Wolva's my fiance, for those of you who don't know, um, but yeah, no, it's, it's building a culture of resilience, not an individual, and individuals have to be resilient. And understanding how to build that resilience up in your team is really, really important. And understanding that individuals do need needs. And I think that's the one thing that we keep coming back to is know people individually, and actually band together. And I think you said something really interesting in regards to you know, people battening, you know, you know, batten down the hatches, and we're trying to survive the business. So the employees still have their job, it's like, these employees might leave, and they might not have any idea because they don't have no idea what's going on, they feel really uncertain, they feel really left out in the lurch. And you're going to come back to very disgruntled, very burnt out very tired, very frustrated employees when things do open. So it's being able to, you know, just imagine you've you've, you've heard nothing from an ex boyfriend, or saw or heard nothing from an ex boyfriend or girlfriend or something like that. And then all of a sudden, my message, you go, Hey, how's it going? Like, come back? And let's, let's let's join our relationship. Again, it's like,

Rhonda 26:46

Woah, woah there!

Katie 26:47

Woah, slow it down! Need to have that constant communication?

Rhonda 26:51

Yes. And you know, what else you need to do? You need to let people fail? And yeah, let them fail safely? (Yes) This is part of the resilience piece in an organization. This is the part of the bouncing back, you know, if again, individuals feel that they can't, if they can't fail without recriminations, then they're not necessarily going to lean into that discomfort to try and overcome these challenges in a particular way. So that that's really, really vital with our people. And that comes down to the good leadership and empowering them and an understanding that sometimes, sometimes, the decisions aren't always going to be the right one, but the attitude and the outcome, and the intention that that employer had in mind, right. Here we go every time I'm on a live, never happy unless they're part of any LinkedIn live that I do my German Shepherd. So apologies for that.

Katie 27:48

Oh bless. But no, I think that the failing piece is so important. And the intention piece is also really important there as well. I think a lot of the times when we're looking at failure, and I remember personally, like I've run two to three businesses that failed. And I remember wearing that, and I was, I didn't have somebody that, you know, go to me, you know, as well, right? Like, you made a mistake, it's not the end of the world, I reckon I would have saved a few of my businesses, if I'd actually didn't live in that all or nothing mentality. And some things that I speak to a lot of recruiters about is they have this all or nothing mentality, and they take that mentality into everything that they do. And being able to fail or try something new, or be able to be able to develop a new skill is so important and get rid of, can I just say, we need to get rid of this whole language of we've always done it this way, we, you know, we're gonna continue doing it this way. If you have an employee that wants to try something a little bit different, do something a little bit of left of center, allow them that's going to motivate them. And if they fail, don't go. I told you. So go. I'm glad you tried something new. That's really cool. You're obviously showing that you know, you're showing that drive to be able to be better in your job, because that's all I really want. I just need that and looking back again. Maybe that didn't work that way. Is there another way to look at it?

Rhonda 29:03

Or, in contrast to that as well, explain to people why it can't necessarily be done in that way.

Katie 29:11


Rhonda 29:12

Yeah. Don't just brush it aside and suggest that no, no, no, that's not a good idea. Explain. Communicate. Back to the transparency because sometimes it's not possible to do that if you (Oh, yeah, of course.) Yeah. And but yeah, so I completely agree, me and you get all very, very passionate very RAH! I'm wondering how this looks on the outside.

Katie 29:33

We have been asked a question, but I think it was from a little while ago, but I'll pop it up, which is how do I feel about leaving your phone outside your bedroom? I am I am. I'm for this.

Rhonda 29:47

I kind of am but my phones my alarm. You know.

Katie 29:50

Get an old school alarm.

Rhonda 29:52

I know. Memories when I was 15 you know the ones that go AH AH AH! Sounds like a duck being tortured. But yeah, you're right. You know, you're you're absolutely right. I think this is something that we would expect our teenage daughters to do. We tried to say to them phones on the landing. But then we don't necessarily do that ourselves how many people like that?

Katie 30:14

I reckon a lot of people are not leaving their phones outside. If you don't, this is the other thing that I say to people, if you don't want to get rid of your phone or get an alarm, an alarm clock or whatever is because you don't want to have the duck sound. Just put, you just put downtime on your phone, both Android and iPhones have downtime where you can turn off all your apps. Now you can use it as your alarm clock. Yeah, you can override it. But at least it's that extra hurdle that you have to like, you have to be a bit more mindful about doing it. So that's the thing, but I'm very favorable for this. If you have that addiction to your phone, really fun fact, though, a lot of the things like bad habits. So for instance, checking your phone can actually be a sign of boredom, or actually stress as well. So you're feeling uncomfortable. So you're trying to distract yourself with something that might feel good at the time. And it might be necessary in that moment. But it might not necessarily be something that you should continue, you continue going.

Rhonda 31:07

So I think also what you can do is you can understand and identify what actually triggers you. So again, like you said, you can have the downtime, me turning off specific notifications, makes a massive difference. So I don't get anything on WhatsApp. I don't get anything on Facebook or email. So it means if I like I might want to play stupid game or something like that. I won't then get distracted by one that kind of flies in so it i think it's it's being adult enough or grown up enough to know well, what is it that causes me some issues, but I know also there is the whole, you talk about it. Michelle Flynn talks about it. The light that comes from our screen isn't conducive to helping us wind down and get into the right state for sleep.

Katie 31:49

No, it doesn't. It's one of those things, I usually say try to have new tech in the bedroom. That's my that's my thing. I know, it's a lot super easy to say a lot more difficult to do. But I'm a big fan of you know, having downtime on your phone after, you know, for at least an hour.

Rhonda 32:05

How--? Yeah, I'd like to know from people, how many still have an old fashioned landline connection? Because (I'd love to know that!) Yeah, because, you know, we grew our house, we always had a landline a phone line in our bedroom. And we don't anymore, we've got one landline in the study. But it means that if there was if somebody wanted to get hold of me, my phone is always on silent. So it's always like, I want to be able to get hold of me tonight if there was an emergency.

Katie 32:37

Yeah, I have the same thing. So my phone, I it's, what's it I think it's called night, night time or something like that. And I get no notifications. So and I don't have a landline either. So yeah, it's I honestly, I remember, like, every time you get and you go get the internet, right? They go, what's your landline number? I'm like, I have a landline number. What are you talking about? They're not a landline for like, the internet. Isn't that what that is?

Rhonda 33:03

But in the old days, in the olden times of recruitment, we we wouldn't let anybody register as a temp for us if they didn't have a landline.

Katie 33:14

But I feel like that makes sense. Because you didn't have mobile phones--Yeah, exactly. That makes sense to me. But I will say like when I went to my mom's, I went home see my mom last Christmas in Australia. And she like, the home phone rang and I was like, do you still have a land line she like, Yeah, you occassionaly get phone calls, like--

Rhonda 33:32

Ours rings. We go---

Katie 33:37

I was like, yeah---

Rhonda 33:39

Phoning us, you know, we are going to be PPI or you know, somebody's trying to sell us insurance, or--

Katie 33:46

That's what my mom says. It's all the people that are just, you know, trying to sell us something. But yeah, that's I think that's a really interesting, but I like going back to the phone, I always leave it out. Like I would leave it outside the bedroom. And obviously, the thing is, when we look at you know, having those habits, it's understanding why is that created? And if we've got this habit of we're constantly, I mean, most of us have had probably a moment where we've somehow come to and we're on our phone like halfway through like Instagram or Facebook going, how did I? I don't remember picking on my friend like, how did that happen? It'd be really interesting to like get you to trace that back and actually go what was going on in that moment before I picked up my phone because more often than not, something's either happened, whether you've been stressed that you've been feeling bored or you're procrastinating whatever it is. I actually would say that procrastination comes from a part of procrastination comes from stress and fear as well. So be interesting to say, say that so that's that's my little take on that.

Rhonda 34:41

What do you think in a similar context about FOMO? You know, what am I so what about the fact that you you know, and I've, I've trained myself not to do this, I used to wake up and grab my phone and I'd be looking through LinkedIn, right LinkedIn and and almost because you You feel like you have to be present. You feel that if you're not present if you're not posting stuff if you're not doing all the things you should be doing, everyone tells you to do. You know that you're missing out somehow. And it's funny, Lisa Holmes was talking about JOMO trying to move into the joy of missing out state. And I love that, because that's where I've tried to be since Christmas that you know what? So what you've emailed me over the weekend, unless it's absolutely critical, I'm not, I'm switching off, I'm trying to move myself into that state of rest, so that I can come back stronger on Monday. And that doesn't mean that I'm, I'm anti, you know, preparing or being organized or doing work at the weekends. I just think the world that we live in at the moment where home life and work life is combined, you know, it needs to be separated need--

Katie 35:48

Clear boundaries.

Rhonda 35:48

Yes. Because where does work end? Where does home end? You know, yeah, me, the two things are interchangeable. I think the benefit for me if my girls going back to school next week, is the fact that we're back into a different routine, whereby we're up very, very early, we're out the door very, very early, even though that doesn't make any difference to you know, Marcello or I and, and how we're going to work. And it's gonna change the dynamic, but one of the things I also I've moved from doing is, we've got the dogs. So when I wake up in the morning, I sort of think that I'm not going to touch my phone until I've taken the dogs and downstairs, let the dogs out fed the dogs. And then that gives me a good few minutes. And it was it I think, either you or Michelle Flynn. Yeah. I said to me how not to look at your file for the first minute, 30 minutes of the day--

Katie 36:34

Mine's 30 minutes. I don't know what Michelle says, but I absolutely say don't check it for the first 30 minutes.

Rhonda 36:39

I'm not good. I'm gonna be I'm gonna tell you. Oh, yeah, I can't lie.

Katie 36:43

But I think even just creating, creating that habit, we don't just automatically reach for the phone, the first thing that we do when we wake up is super important. And like I try not to do like, I absolutely don't do that. Like I have not been doing that. I tried to not look at my phone until about 7:30. But I'm up at like, I'm a morning person. I'm up early. So But yeah, I definitely would, I highly recommend that to a lot of people just it. When I look at what I say to people, when you're looking at your phone, the first thing in the morning, you're not checking in with yourself, you're not going How am I feeling? What do I want to do? What do I want to achieve today? what you're actually doing is as you're tuning into someone else's wants, needs and desires rather than your own. And so it's giving that time for you to go actually, how am I feeling? How can I how how am I able to show up today? Like, you know, we're not all going to be 100% all the time and actually understanding where am I am I like running a 50%? Well, why am I running at 50%. And then you can actually create a realistic expectation for the day like daily realistic expectations. Rather than, oh, I have to be 100% all the time, because that is really unrealistic, you're not going to be you're not going to be on all the time.

Rhonda 37:47

And setting those realistic expectations means that they're more achievable. And when they're more achievable. We feel good when we complete them, and we get them off the list. So

Katie 37:56

Yeah, get the dopamine hit, that high five!

Rhonda 38:00

You know.

Katie 38:02

So no, I think that I think that that's something that's absolutely really important to talk about. But I wanted to lay back to something he kind of brushed over it. And I think we need to go back to it, which is the mental health and recruitment survey. So some people might not know what that is, they might not have heard about it. So I'm gonna allow Rhonda to explain it because it was something that we were both very involved in. But obviously Rhonda being the founder, let's chat about the survey. And let's chat about some of the responses and what you think that's going to look like moving forward.

Rhonda 38:32

Okay, so and mental health in recruitment came alive July last year, after quite a number of years sort of culminated into the birth. And you know, one of the things that we talked about was the knowledge and the lack of meaningful data in our industry, because we only really had the thriving at work report to go on that Farmer/Stevenson published back in 2017. And that was across the board. And I think in recruitment, we all we all can say that we're pretty good recruitment, stressful, you know, we're actually more resilient than your average bear. And we're very adaptable. So I think what we've done is we've created this kind of, you know, glorious legend, over however many decades of us recruiters being just impervious to all the things that life will throw at us. And the reality is, of course, based on the work that I've been doing what you've been doing, and what we know is that that's simply not the case. Because even if we remove an element of on the job, work related stress, and you know, we're still susceptible to the things that happen to us in our personal lives, and that can impact our performance at work. So we wanted to baseline the industry, we wanted to understand how mental health was perceived. We wanted to understand operationally, how embedded was it in some organizations, how was it supported, and we wanted to get a bit of a view on the reality of mental health for people that work in the industry across all areas. So whether it was sales back office operations, leaders and business owners.

Katie 39:59

Yeah, that's what we did. We did a really good job at it, let's let's be real, how many people did we end up getting?

Rhonda 40:06

So we had over 2300 responses. And but I think when we, when we really analyzed the data, and we looked at the the, almost the, the net responses we could use for something in the region of 2222. So still an absolutely huge, you know,

Katie 40:23

That was huge. I remember when we first sat down, I remember how, like, I remember you creating it and going like Katie, what do you think, and that only felt like yesterday, but it really wasn't. But we will thinking about, well, how many people do we want to get, and we were so stoked with getting the amount of people that we did get, and I think it gives a really good representation across the recruitment industry, in particular, the UK because the majority of their responses from my understanding was the UK we obviously had people from Australia, South Africa, and America from memory. If I'm missing a country, I'm very sorry.

Rhonda 40:55

Yeah, we broke into groups. So we had UK, Australia, Europe, America, or Canada, Asia pack and like other. Yeah.

Katie 41:03

Yeah. And so we've got majority of the majority of the countries was UK, Australia and

Rhonda 41:09

UK, Australia, Europe,

Katie 41:11

Europe. Yep, that's right. I couldn't remember, there we go.

Rhonda 41:13

Feel like I'm back at school. Feel like, you're testing me.

Katie 41:17

Testing myself when you just got brought along for the journey.

Rhonda 41:20

I love it. I love it. Yeah, absolutely. And what I found very, very interesting is that 48% of all respondents had 20--10 to 20 years experience in our industry.

Katie 41:29

That I thought was amazing. I think some of the some of the, some of the people, you know, that might have been taking it in, you know, if the, you know, with their responses, which we'll, we'll talk a little bit about some of the findings of that survey, but I think a lot of people would have said, If majority of the people that had taken the survey, were only the one to two years, they could have easily turn around and go, Oh, well, they just weren't made for recruitment. Like, you know, they just couldn't, they just couldn't hack it. They left because they couldn't hack it. And it's like, well, I still think that's really important to understand how many people have actually gone into recruitment and left within the first 18 months, I would say there's a lot of people that have done that, it'd be interesting to hear their reasons why they left. But I think that majority of the people, it was five plus years from from from memory, had taken the survey, so 20 plus years as well. But what I really liked about the survey, from my standpoint, because I'm an analyticals, like I love analytics, I was gonna say a naughty word. But I will not say that I love analytics--

Rhonda 42:28

Very good--

Katie 42:34

But I really liked the fact that we looked at business leaders admin, like the admin and back office of recruitment, as well as recruitment consultants and looked across the board. And what I found really interesting, which it didn't quite surprise me was the actual gap between the way that recruiters and employees perceive mental health compared to leaders. It's really interesting, though, is some similarities. And then there was like a massive gap in between, in between how they, how both leaders and employees work.

Rhonda 43:06

What everybody said was going on in the business. (Yeah) Absolutely. And of course, you know, what, that's that's the sort of statistic whereby you know, you we've got the data, we know that that's, that's the way it is, but reading between those lines, and trying to understand why that may be, I think it would be very, very easy for us to say, Oh, you know, the business owners are lying. But I genuinely, you know, with knowing the industry as well as I do, and the leaders that are out there that I've certainly spoken to in the last eight years. You know, I think that it is, like what we were saying sometimes we think that we've communicated, or we think that everybody's aware of what's going on. Yeah. When the reality is we haven't and how many times have we talked about this the other day, whereby I could swear blind that I had a conversation with my husband, right? I could swear blind? No, I told you that we had a whole conversation about it. And, and often that's not the case. So you know, we talked about this, in the advisory, and Natasha Clark had a great view on it as well, which was actually, you know, the intention could well be there, the leaders could could be talking about this at board level, they could potentially have somebody in the business that is responsible for, you know, looking at this in more detail, that maybe there's a communication situation there whereby it's just not being talked about. And I think given what we know, the reason it's not being talked about is because, you know, recruitment businesses perhaps aren't quite ready to drive some of this change forward to sort of build in a mental health and well being strategy, because there are some real there are some real kind of gray areas in this. It's almost Yes, it belong to you know, who owns it. Is it an HR thing, actually, I don't think it is an HR thing, you know, I don't know are very, very important, but we almost want HR to kind of deal with those sorts of problems and they'll go away and there's a huge body of work that needs to be done on on embedding wellbeing and mental health into business culture.

Katie 45:05

I think that's a huge thing, I do think it's a top-down conversation, I don't think we can just sort of go palm it off to HR and just hope that they can sweep it under the rug kind of thing, because it's not that rug is gonna get very lumpy very quickly. So it's being able to come from the top down, you and I have talked about this quite a lot is looking at it from a leadership standpoint, how can we, how can we build, and this is the other thing, when we're looking at leaders, I truly believe leaders want to do the right thing. I truly believe that they want to, they really want mental health as a big to solve that, you know, to solve the mental health issue in a workplace creating a really good culture. I just think that they're they don't know how. It's an uncomfortable conversation. They don't know where to start, you know, they, you know, the questions that I get is like, How do I know if one of my employees isn't coping? Like how do I have that conversation? Like, I can't just go up to them, like, You don't look like you're coping? You know, how do I have that conversation? And I think, again, it comes down to the communication piece, which we keep bringing it back to, but I don't necessarily in my, in my opti--like optimistic viewpoint, I don't believe it's leaders don't want to do the right thing. I just don't think they know how. (Yes) And I also think that they get distracted with other issues, you know, having to make money and having to hit those budgets. And I tried to figure out a way to run a successful business while focusing on mental health and not getting distracted from, from you know, that endpoint, and I think there is a fine line there. But I think it can absolutely be done, it can absolutely be done. Because if we look at the return of investment, like return on investment, if we if we speak their language is paramount, you know, you'll retain staff, you'll have engaged staff, you'll be have more productive staff, if you set a really good well being and incorporating mental health and not just having like talks here and there and actually creating a culture having a roadmap and understanding what to do I think that that's something that I personally think is more realistic, then they just don't care.

Rhonda 46:59

I think I agree with you. And I genuinely believe that, you know, the, when you look at it, it almost looks like such a huge body of work. And I've used this phrase a few times, it's like, you know, they're trying to eat an elephant in one go. Yes, you know, the idea for us, as you know, behind the awareness to action pledges that we broke that down into sort of achievable, almost--achievable, sections that could be looked at and completed in a very, very realistic way. And that we gave them a roadmap to make some small, but very significant changes that could make a huge difference in their business. And, you know, we were hoping that we'd get the pledge rolled out and live at the beginning of the year, we haven't factored in the fact that we'd be in lockdown again. So of course, because it's because mental health and recruitment, we--it's volunteer led people are given their time for nothing. You know, it's that balance between us sort of all surviving and doing the job and getting that off the ground. So it's all it's a big priority for us. We're working on it, and behind the scenes, and Katie, as you well know. But for me when we launched that, that is what's going to make a difference, saying to people Look, it's we're not saying you have to do this huge amount of organizational cultural change right now. But do these simple, straightforward things start here, and that will start making a difference to your business and a difference to your people.

Katie 48:26

Yeah, I think we can all agree starting something new is the hardest part. But once you get started that you get that momentum behind it, and you can actually see a little bit clearer about how things are going to work. So I'm really looking forward to being able to get that that awareness to action pledge out which I think is something that, something that I really love about the name is that we talk about mental health awareness a lot. There's a lot of awareness as awareness days, awareness weeks, an Awareness Month says, there's all these awareness things, but we're not going to solve this problem by just constantly talking about the awareness, we need to start talking about things that people can action. It comes down to, you know, the thoughts and behaviors element, we look at positive thoughts, create positive behaviors, court create positive outcomes. But that action piece is really important. It's it's great that we're talking about it, but we need to see some action about it. So I'm really excited to be able to get that action out there. I know that you and I have been, we've been working on it. So.

Rhonda 49:20

It's absolutely vital, especially when you consider one of the stats that came out of the survey that one in four employees felt that their organization, were looking at mental health as a tick box or PR exercise. So that's that bs Well, yeah, it's got to be real and like, you know, you get it. There are organizations out there that recruitment businesses will work with that will ask about CSR that, you know, the Corporate Social Responsibility will ask, Do you support mental health? So some of them, you know, well, like most things will create policies to tick those boxes to get more business and you got to look beyond that. If--

Katie 49:57

It comes down to human first, business second, th--you've got to look at the human the human element. First, you've got to look at the people element first, and then look at the policies, who's going to protect those people nd you at the same time. It's not about let's get the policies right, and then focus on the people. We've got it. We've got it wrong. We've got a, I understand the legalities of the policies. I understand all of that. But I think you know, yes, have the policies, but that's not taking care of the people element. You've got to--

Rhonda 50:24

You can't use it. You can't (Yeah) it's not interchangeable. You can't say we've got a policy for that, we're done. Right? (Yeah, yeah) Kinda like, it's kind of like when a business says to me, I've got an EAP. We've got that covered. Right. So you've got an EAP? What? Because you genuinely want to support your people, or you've got an EAP because, you know, you're kind of just ticking the boxes? No, yeah, we've got that covered, you know, and therefore, this is what you need to look at. Are you suggesting that it's okay for you to behave in a certain way not be of people first business, but you give them support when they need it, they've got access to a counselor for an hour if they need it. That sort of stuff is? Yeah, it's there. But do you care? Do you really mean it? And all--

Katie 51:05

Are you encouraging people to use their services? Right, like, are you going like, Hey, you know, having open conversations is not, it's not nice for anyone. And I think you and I can agree that we've probably had our fair share of awkward conversations in our life and having really difficult conversations. They're not nice, they do make us feel uncomfortable, but being able to say, Hey, you know what, like, I really hear you, I really want to support you, I want to be able to give you the right advice, but I want to hear you (Yeah) but you know what, I don't I don't want to just refer you to our, our counsel that we've got on board, I do want to have this communication. But why don't we work together, because you can talk more openly to the council, and they are a lot more, you know, qualified to deal with problems that maybe you'll have helped you having. But I do want to hear about it. I want to hear how you're doing. I want to talk to you about it. And I, you know, I will I want to show up for you. And I think that I think a lot of people, especially in companies are trying to look at ways on how to solve the problem. Rather than that you can't solve it, a lot of the times people do need additional help, they do need that and thought about solving problems. It's solving that problem solving individual people's problems. It's about being there and listening, and then allowing people to feel supported.

Rhonda 52:15

I agree. But I think for me in that and this is the big piece, it's about preventing those progress (yes) because of workplace stress in the first place (yes!) And what we do is I you know, I believe that most most of us are good human beings, when somebody breaks, we want to fix we want to solve we want to support, but actually, there are things that you can be doing to prevent that situation in the first (Absolutely.) and you can't all of a sudden expect people to you know, if you do, if you do move into that space, like you said, I want to be here, I'm going to show up, I'm going to support you, you can't just do that overnight, you can't flick a sp--a switch, (no, you can't, no) if you've not been that psychologically safe environment, if these individuals don't feel like you know, that they're going to get the right response, that, you know, this isn't gonna be supported in the right way, or it's just lip service, they're not gonna want to talk, they are gonna want to talk. And again, it's not, we have not then got a culture of openness, honesty, for wellbeing and mental health.

Katie 53:15

And I think one of the biggest things that you've said there is that I think a lot of companies that I've spoken to, it's like, well, how do we how do we share to be vulnerable? How do we change our culture? And I'm like, Well, are you patient? Are you willing to have a lot of people push back on you for a while, you know, you're not people push back if you've not been that way inclined. But if you're willing to sort of push through that discomfort, push through that push back, because they won't look, no one really likes change, regardless if it's positive change or negative change. But if people have to trust the change as well, right, and you have to keep doing that, right. It's not going to happen overnight. And I think companies need to just sort of respect that a little bit.

Rhonda 53:53

Yeah, I absolutely agree. And, yeah, yeah.

Katie 53:57

All right. Well, I mean, to be fair, we've been here for an hour, you know, a bit longer because we started off--

Rhonda 54:04

I had a message from Ryan as well saying that, you know, because you and I talked too much, we broke LinkedIn. That's obviously what happens, you know, at the beginning,

Katie 54:11

Hey, I feel like that's true. That's true. No, but it's awesome to have you on. I always ask every single guest one question, which is, if you could offer one bit of advice to help somebody Get Their sh*t Together, either literally or figuratively, what would it be?

Rhonda 54:32

Don't be too hard on yourself. Yeah, don't try and solve all your problems in one go.

Katie 54:38

Yeah, it's a good bit of that's a good bit of advice, Miss Rhonda.

Rhonda 54:41

Tell you, I'm gonna do that, you.

Katie 54:43

It just popped into my noggin that I remembered that that's what I was gonna do. Hey, look, I'm new to this, but I'm, but I'm sticking to LinkedIn Lives. I'm enjoying them. Alright, so where can people find you? Where can people find a survey?

Rhonda 54:55

Okay, you can find me on LinkedIn. You can find myself in recruitment on Instagram, Facebook, and I'm also on Twitter as @MidaCon, you can go to the men's health and recruitment website and download the survey if you'd like to know more. But yeah, we'd love to hear from you. We'd love feedback and yeah.

Katie 55:14

Yeah. Awesome. All right, guys, thank you so much for sitting here listening to a 50--56 minutes of Rhonda and I just chit chatting away about something that we said was boring, but hey, we're clearly not bored by it. Alright guys, Get Your Sh*t Together-- Literally and Figuratively.

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