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Community: 2023 Watercooler Conference and Exhibition

Sinead Murphy Jul 12, 2023 9:00:00 AM

Cultivate a strong workplace community with key takeaways from this year’s event  

 Welcome to the second instalment of our 2023 Watercooler Conference and Exhibition blog series. In our last post, we discussed how the event provides a platform for industry professionals to come together in pursuit of new ideas, solutions, and practical takeaways that promote a healthy workplace culture.  

We also mentioned that this year’s Watercooler event focused on the four pillars of wellbeing: Community, Physical Wellbeing, Emotional Wellbeing, and Financial Wellbeing. In this post, we’ll be diving into the key takeaways around community wellbeing and how you can make your employees feel like valued members of a wider team.  

Let’s see what our industry experts had to say on the vital subject of cultivating a strong sense of workplace community…   


Cadence Woodland, Head of Communications, Wilson James Limited​ 

As Head of Communications at Wilson James Limited​, Cadence Woodland believes that great leadership requires a humble approach. “You have to be humble enough to realise what you don't know, and you have to be humble enough to ask,” Woodland explains. Perhaps most importantly, “you have to be humble enough to listen.”  

That’s because business leaders often belong to a different demographic than their employees. What might be a suitable wellbeing provision for an employee belonging to one particular age/salary bracket might not be suitable for employees belonging to a different age/salary bracket. “You have to listen to your workforce,” Woodland presses. “If I were to impose my vision of wellbeing on a 6000 person, mostly male, mostly aged 45 to 55 organisation, I could get it very wrong.” 

 “My demographic is different. My perspective is different. My nationality is different. I might have a lot of biases or assumptions built into a solution that I engineer if I don't involve the actual needs of my actual workforce.” 

In order to deliver and maintain an effective wellbeing strategy that has real meaning for your workforce, it’s important to start by approaching your people from a position of humility. Ask them what they want and need, consider the responses, and tailor a solution that meets people where they're at right now – and where they might be in the future.  

Woodland concluded her presentation by reinforcing the importance of communication when it comes to building community within a business: “Communication is just as much about listening as it is about talking. By listening or making space for people to be heard, we're more likely to have a good wellbeing outcome at the end of the day.”  


Hilary Todd, Associate Director of Occupational Health and Wellbeing, NHS​ 

Giving your people a voice to support wellbeing and strengthen community is a sentiment that was echoed by Hilary Todd, Associate Director of Occupational Health and Wellbeing for the NHS​.  

Todd believes that decision-makers who work in one area of the business do not necessarily know what other employees want in terms of wellbeing support. As such, they should seek input from all members of the organisation to ensure that the diverse needs of the workforce are being met.  

However, the importance of listening to your people doesn’t stop there. Todd also feels that leaders should regularly check in with their staff once a wellbeing solution has been deployed to assess the effectiveness and suitability of the solution on offer.  

“We have to go out to our communities and ask them [what they want], but also evaluate what we are offering. Is it what people need?” Todd believes that this knowledge will help to ensure an organisation’s wellbeing provision is fit for purpose and will also empower them with the flexibility to make a change if it’s not. But, just as Cadence Woodland suggested, this approach requires a level of humility:  

“Sometimes we don't always get it right. And then we change direction and we do something else. But at least we've tried – and that is important for people to know. We are trying something but also we're open to challenge, open to different ideas, and open to innovation. You can't stay still. It has to be a flexible approach.” 


Simon Moyle, Vivup CEO and Investors in People UK Leader of the Year​ 

During his thought-provoking presentation, Vivup CEO and Investors in People UK Leader of the Year, Simon Moyle, posed the following question: How you make sure that everybody in an organisation understands where you're going as a business and has a real sense of purpose and belonging?  

Moyle believes the answer lies in making sure everyone feels valued and communicated to by embedding your strategy and ethos into the very fabric of your organisation – from recruitment, to the daily lives of your employees. After all, your employees are the ones actively living and working within the company culture you have created, so they are the people who can give you valuable insight into how that culture makes them feel and how it can be improved.  

“Reviewing and evaluating your culture, and the support that is provided to your employees, is super important because the information that comes back can help to ensure an organisation is providing the services that they need.” 

Like many other organisations post-Covid, Vivup is now a fully remote business. Moyle feels that businesses operating under hybrid or remote models should ensure they are creating regular opportunities for employee socialisation – whether that be in-person or virtually. This helps to replace the rituals that are lost to remote working (such as morning catch-ups over coffee) and gives your people a sense of routine and togetherness:   

“Every single Friday, we have a company-wide business update. We share where we're at, provide news on our clients, updates on new contracts, and discuss business performance. We quickly move on to employee birthdays, weddings, babies, and personal achievements within our workforce. And then there's a quiz. It was only meant to be [running] for four or five weeks – and here we are three years later, still doing it. So, I guess it's about trying to just listen, trying to have a little bit of fun, and trying to make everyone feel involved.”  

Check back soon for the next instalment of our Watercooler series where we’ll be taking a deep dive into the key takeaways around physical wellbeing.   


About Vivup   

As a leading employee benefits provider, we deliver an all-encompassing employee engagement platform that connects workforces, improves employee wellbeing, and boosts loyalty across organisations.    

We’re on a mission to help UK employers win the war on talent, and we achieve this by delivering comprehensive health and wellbeing packages to over 450 public and private sector organisations across the UK. We currently support more than 1.7 million employees to manage their mental, physical, and financial wellbeing both in and out of the workplace. 


Get in Touch Today  

To learn more about how Vivup can help you deliver meaningful employee benefits that support all areas of employee wellbeing, be sure to get in touch today. Give our friendly team a call on 01252 784540, or email to request a platform demo.