In January 2018, Aberfield was appointed to work with Leeds Mind on its bi-annual Mindful Employer conference, with 150 attendees. Each event has a specific theme and the focus for the 2018 conference was ‘making mental health in the workplace sustainable’.
The conference was aimed at Leeds-based employers and primarily those that were already enrolled on the Mindful Employer programme, a national initiative developed to help promote positive practice around mental health in the workplace.
The event aimed to provide advice and guidance for creating sustainable employee wellbeing and Aberfield’s brief was to lead the conference organisation and to ensure the objectives were met.
Our responsibilities included venue recommendations and liaison, supplier sourcing and management, speaker and workshop briefings and attendee and brochure management. We were also required to manage the event on the day.
We worked with Leeds Mind to create a varied programme that pushed the boundaries. The itinerary on the day led with breakfast and conference introductions, followed by lived experience speakers, workshops and wellbeing activities.
The lived experiences came from a police detective and a boutique property professional and focused on the impact of poor mental health on being employed.
Following this, delegates attended two employer-led workshop sessions. Prior to the conference, we used an online platform that allowed attendees to prioritise the workshops they would most like to attend, meaning the day was suited to them and the stage their organisation was at on the journey to sustainable mental health.
Throughout the day it was important to bring the wellbeing theme to life so we included a number of creative and wellbeing activities. Avoiding a post-lunch slump, a laughter yoga therapy session encouraged attendees to practice greeting their neighbour with laughter, singing with laughter and the activity also included a laughter workout.
Before the day was wrapped up by the chief executive of Leeds Mind, a creative session was run by a local arts and crafts business. The session saw attendees make a tangible item to take back to the office with them, to serve as a reminder of what they had learned during the conference and what they wanted to achieve in the future. We also introduced a postcard activity which involved delegates writing down a goal based on the content of the conference; the postcard was then to be posted to the delegate one month from the conference to remind them of their goal and ensuring the longevity of the conference content.
Following the event, an online survey was issued to attendees. Feedback saw 95% of attendees say they were ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to recommend the conference. 97% of delegates commented that the organisation was ‘very organised’ or ‘extremely organised’ and many of the comments left by attendees complimented the variety that the conference provided and the practical information that was gained.
Employers also stated that they had learned a lot from the workshops and had the information, resources and skills they need to make a positive impact on the mental health of their employees.
Attendee feedback included:
“It was really powerful to hear the real life case studies from different lines of work. This should be a regular feature of your workshops.”
“I thought the organisation, energy and range of activities and information available was excellent. I gained a lot from sharing experiences with other organisations - learning from them and sharing the practice that has worked from our organisation, too.”
“The Lived Experience stories were really moving and very encouraging. The wellbeing activities were really good fun and excellent icebreakers.”