Our speakers tell you why collaboration should be top of your agenda, and why it’s the top of MAD World’s this October

Team collaboration

Collaboration is a hot topic in wellbeing currently largely because, with the function being relatively new, there is still much negotiating in many organisations about where it should sit, and who should drive its agenda forward.

In our website poll, for instance, we asked visitors this question:

“Who drives workplace wellbeing within your organisation?”

The answer ‘Wellbeing Lead’ came out top at 31% followed by HR at 28% and Health & Safety at 9%. But the CEO (8%), Employee Experience (6%), Benefits and Reward (4%) and Occupational Health (3%) were also mentioned… showing how many varied voices are often around the table when it comes to wellbeing, and why collaboration can be such a challenge.

Perhaps the answers ‘Nobody leads it’ (8%) and ‘Other’ (3%) are closest to what we would have liked to hear – because here at Make A Difference Media we believe that it’s actually everyone’s responsibility to drive wellbeing in an organisation, and that everyone can make a positive impact with their actions.

This is great news for anyone attending our MAD World Summit on 12th October 2023 because there will be plenty of inspiration there for how, exactly, individuals as well as teams can make a difference.

We asked a handful of our MAD World speakers for their thoughts on collaboration. These quotes in themselves show that collaboration is needed at all levels and between many different stakeholders in order that wellbeing is truly embedded in a company’s DNA.

Khushboo Patel, Head of Engagement and Inclusion, Metro Bank

“Collaboration is all about getting the best results and the best possible outcome through working together; there is plenty of research to show that superior results and good outcomes are directly linked to a state of positive wellbeing.

In the workplace this can be through reduced stress, manageable workloads, knowing expectations or simply good old social interaction. All of this is so important for a positive colleague experience and, so, effective collaboration is crucial.

For this, the starting point is a shared purpose; at Metro Bank our ambition and purpose are clear; to be the UK’s number one community bank through creating fans.

Then comes another vital ingredient: the most successful teams are the most diverse teams and, again, research evidences this for us. So, in building your team, make sure you make diversity a factor.

But don’t stop at just diversity.

You can have all the diversity you want in your team, but if you don’t include each person, listen to them, value them, respect them, then it becomes counterproductive to successful collaboration.

The challenge here is to challenge yourself. Ask:

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Who is missing in the team?

What views are not being represented?

What am I doing to include everyone?

It sounds easy but, because we’re programmed to seek out those that look and think like us, you can become unconsciously content and bypass the fact that diversity and inclusion are the secret ingredients to success for effective collaboration, positive wellbeing and, ultimately, sound business outcomes.”

Nick Pahl, CEO, Society of Occupational Medicine

“Collaboration is key – between Occupational Health and Wellbeing Leads, HR, Health and Safety and Employee Benefits providers – so employees get a joined up, data driven and strategically impactful service.

It’s important that Service Leads also test services themselves, as potential users, to ensure they are effective. Within occupational health, there is multidisciplinary collaboration between doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and psychologists.

I would like to see everyone in workplace health focus on collaboration that is evidence-based. There is a risk that the sector’s reputation is damaged if this doesn’t occur.

The Society of Occupational Medicine with CIPD will be launching a report in the Autumn on how Occupational Health and Wellbeing need to ensure a collaborative evidence based approach, so the theme of this year’s MAD World Summit couldn’t be more timely.”

Jo Bibby, Director of Health, The Health Foundation

“A healthy workforce is critical to improving productivity and employers have an important role to play.

Most people start their working life in good health but, over the years, we all age. How quickly we age depends on whether we have the building blocks for good health: good work and money in our pockets being two of the most important.

Ensuring that everyone has the building blocks of good health requires employers to work collaboratively to raise standards in working conditions. They need to make it easier for people with long term health conditions to stay in work and lower the barriers for people out of work to return.

This is too big a challenge for any single employer to take on alone.”

Carole Spiers, Chair, ISMAUK

“Collaboration plays a pivotal role in enhancing team dynamics and problem-solving abilities. By fostering an environment of teamwork and cooperation, it fuels the generation of innovative ideas and solutions. Effective collaboration not only improves communication among team members, but also cultivates a sense of shared purpose and synergy.

The benefits extend beyond the realm of work, positively impacting our overall health and wellbeing. When individuals actively engage in good communication practices, such as attentive listening and open dialogue, it promotes a deeper understanding, empathy, and connection within the team. This fosters a supportive and harmonious work environment, reducing stress levels and contributing to improved mental and emotional wellbeing for all team members.

Embracing collaboration empowers teams to work together harmoniously, unlocking their collective potential for problem-solving and fostering a culture of innovation. Moreover, this commitment to effective communication and active listening nurtures the holistic wellbeing of individuals, promoting a positive and thriving work atmosphere.”

Barbara Jeffery, Partner, McKinsey Health Institute

“Positive collaboration among employees and leaders enables a workplace where people feel both supported and a sense of belonging – two factors associated with better worklife balance, more happiness at work and better holistic health.

At the McKinsey Health Institute, we believe there’s an opportunity to redefine the “S” in ESG to better incorporate health and wellbeing metrics for employees.

Our forthcoming research sheds light on how the employee experience impacts health, and we’re looking forward to continuing the conversation around this at MAD World in October.”

 Sir Ian Cheshire, Chair of Channel 4, Spire Healthcare Group Plc, UK investment trust Menhaden Resource Efficiency Plc and Non-Executive Director at BT Group Plc

“Collaboration has got to start at a board level with wellbeing. It mustn’t be delegated to the HR director or to the Health and Safety Director, or to the Company Doctor, if you’ve got one of those.

It’s a collective management investment in wanting the best workplace wellbeing outcome for all colleagues. That includes physical and mental health; it’s all connected.

Ultimately, business is all about teams getting on and doing things together. It’s never an individual on their own doing that. It’s always about getting groups to come together in partnership. And it’s amazing what teams can do if given permission and clarity.

It’s part of human nature to need to be connected to some sort of purpose and we are extraordinarily social animals that get a lot of satisfaction from engaging with other people.

I’ve seen people make amazing differences and enormous progress, when they have a clear goal, both when it comes to sustainability and mental health.

On both these topics the challenge is no longer winning the argument, it’s actually getting things done that matter; collaboration is key.

Fundamentally, I’m still optimistic about the future because I think people working together, with a common goal, can achieve more or less anything. I’ve seen it happen many times before in many situations.”

For more of Sir Ian’s thoughts on collaboration, see this article here.


All of these contributors will be joining us at our sister event, the MAD World Summit on 12th October, along with an an impressive roster of speakers from Age UK, BAM UK&I, BBC, Belron, BITC, Britvic, Costain, Deloitte, Dentsu, EY, Goldman Sachs, Heath Foundation, Heathrow, HSBC, IBM, Ipsos, Mars, Metro Bank, Microsoft, Mind, National Grid, Novartis, Unipart, Royal Bank of Scotland, Starbucks, Village Hotels and many more

If you haven’t booked your tickets yet, don’t miss out. October may seem like a long way off but, as the super-early-bird rate of £95.00 + VAT for the MAD World Summit & co-located DE&I Symposium expires on 31st July, it makes sense to reserve your places as soon as possible. You can find full details and book here.

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