R U OK? Day this year falls just 12 days before AHRI hosts HRIZON, the 14th World Human Resource Congress in Melbourne, arguably the largest event in the history of the association. Understandably stress levels are somewhat heightened in the AHRI office as the team ramps up for this momentous event as well as continuing business as usual by providing support and services to around 20,000 members. This timing prompted us to consider foregoing any internal R U OK? Day activities this year. With the next 12 days allocated to a great number of last minute detailed preparations, stopping work to check in with each other was not considered high on the list of priorities for most employees.
But reading the recent results from the R U OK? Australian Workplace Relationships Survey* reveals how many employees prefer to leave their organisation rather than face discussing an issue. That realisation made us revise our thinking. At the most stressful times it’s arguably more important to pause and reflect on our own and others’ state of mind rather than put it off until we have more time, which often means it doesn’t happen at all.
So today, the AHRI team will down tools, to do lists and telephones and come together, for just half an hour, to share in some sweet treats (providing that all important sugar rush for the afternoon lull) and ask each other, and ourselves, are you ok? Staff will be encouraged to share with each other how they are feeling, what they are doing to handle the stress levels and if there is anything they need to get through these busy next few weeks. It will also be an opportunity to feel the buzz that comes from being a part of such an amazing event like the congress and the adrenaline that builds this close to the end of four years of planning and preparation. It’s also a chance to discuss plans for what to wear to the gala dinner – hair styles, suit styles and shellac colours. And just take the time to stop and appreciate what we have achieved and will achieve when the event officially opens on 25 September.
Over the years that R U OK? Day has been in operation, AHRI has been privileged to work with R U OK? on a workplace award recognising organisations whose R U OK? Day activities have brought employees together in this worthy cause. Applications have detailed impressive whole-of-organisation activities that have launched comprehensive wellbeing programs and affected thousands of employees and their families and communities. At AHRI we will continue to recognise the amazing things that can be achieved when organisations pull together and dedicate time, money and resources to considering their colleagues through the 2013 AHRI R U OK? Day Workplace Award to be launched in November. In previous years we too have committed to the day with activities and planning for our own health and wellbeing programs at AHRI.
This year AHRI’s participation may be reduced and will fit around our other priorities rather than be the focus of the day but it will not be forgotten and will serve a purpose in maintaining the wellbeing of employees as we deliver what has fondly been tagged ‘the HR Olympics’ – HRIZON.
Has your company’s approach to RUOK? Day varied due to other commitments? What are you doing to ensure there is still time in your employees’ busy schedules to ask R U OK?
Anne-Marie Dolan is the HR manager at the Australian Human Resources Institute
*To access the full Australian workplace relationships survey report and recommendations, visit: www.ruokday.com/newsroom/r-u-ok-latest/the-2012-r-u-ok-australian-workplace-relationships-survey