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Happier staff = happier students. Music Mark talks wellbeing maths with Rachel Pink

31st May 2019

As Music Mark prepares for its upcoming Leadership Development Programme session on Staff Wellbeing this June 18th, we caught up with Rachel Pink, who will be leading the training session on the day.


Rachel Pink has been on a bit of a life long quest into mental health, resilience and wellbeing.
With her love of performance and theatre, and a deep-seated wish to ‘give back’ to communities, her higher education and professional life naturally gravitated towards Theatre in Education, practising and adapting the principles of Augusto Boals work. Rachel spent many years delivering and producing workshops around Personal Social Health Education for Nottinghamshire County & City Council before she specialised in Well-being and Resilience. For the past 10 years, she has developed and delivered workshops and training internationally, for Nottingham University School of Life Sciences including School of Midwifery, Physiotherapy and Psychology, Teacher Training for Our Lady of Lourdes Academy Trust. She has delivered training for doctors and professionals in the East Midlands and in Australia for Melbourne University Hospital, ‘Family Planning Victoria’ and The Migrant and Refugee Centre in Victoria Australia.

Rachel is currently working towards collaboration with The Compassionate Mind Foundation to develop a training video to promote the benefits of Compassionate Focussed Therapy.


Music Mark: How would you define wellbeing?

Rachel Pink: I feel that wellbeing is about being as physically healthy as is possible for each of us as individuals; being mentally balanced and able to cope with resilience to life’s inevitable challenges. Emotionally bright, feeling we have meaning and purpose in our lives and enriching relationships around us. It’s a ‘whole person’ and ‘person centred’ approach to wellness.

MM: Everyone seems to be talking about wellbeing these days but it wasn’t always like this. Why the sudden change?

RP: Great question!  I believe, in essence, the reason for the shift in focus is the fabulous, undeniable, scientific evidence that has been and is currently being done. My focus on wellbeing and resilience grew exponentially about 11 years ago when I began the research & development aspect of my business. The more I researched, the more current and cutting edge scientific evidence cascaded out at me, it was, and continues to be, incredibly exciting times; what we now know and understand about how our brains work through neuroscience and the practical implications of neuroplasticity, the fantastic work of Martin Seligman, founder of Positive Psychology and Professor Gilbert who is leading the way in Compassionate Focussed Therapy, the research into mindfulness, meditation and sleep as well as diet and exercise all can be used to promote wellbeing. There is so much work being done in these fields at the moment and thankfully the media has jumped on board to promote the potentials. I feel immensely passionate about sharing this attainable life-changing and social dynamic evidence and practical skills.

MM: Why is staff wellbeing so important in the workplace? Is it not a personal issue?

RP: I can imagine that many people believe wellbeing is a personal issue, but the cat is most definitely out of the bag, and is happily very much alive! Before I get into the science, let’s just think from a common sense perspective: When do we do our best work? When we are enjoying it, when we feel that we are appreciated and valued and we know we are trained well, supported and happy! When do we ‘go the extra mile’ for work? When we feel like we are thriving, we feel energised and we enjoy, not only the work we do, but trust and feel loyal to the company we work for. Businesses that go the extra mile for their staff by helping to promote wellbeing are, as an extension, going the extra mile for their customers and clients and it pays dividends. Organisations that underpin the values of their company with staff well-being, including managers and leaders are seeing marked improvement across all aspect of their business.
All the evidence is out now, companies that look after the wellbeing of their staff have higher staff retention, staff have fewer days off sick and productivity and customer satisfaction goes up exponentially. It’s a happy win situation!

MM:  Is it really up to managers to look after and invest in the wellbeing of their staff?

RP: It is, of course, up to all of us to invest in and take personal responsibility for our wellbeing! We do though learn by example. When we can see and feel the benefits then habits do change! ‘Turning states into traits!’ But it’s no good just being talked about it has to become an intrinsic practice and philosophy. When managers can illuminate their teams into the findings and practical benefits of wellbeing techniques, foster environments that are conducive to wellbeing; the workplace is undoubtedly going to become a far more enriching, collaborative, creative and productive place. I am sure all companies and leaders would want that!

MM: Could you give us an example of an organisation that turned it around once they decided to invest in wellbeing? 

RP: One huge Financial and Banking organisation springs to mind immediately as an organisation that benefitted hugely from implementing staff wellbeing. They found that for each pound they spent on training, they were seeing a return of X4. Schools and educational institutes all across the country that have implemented wellbeing into their routine have found it has a beautiful ripple effect throughout the whole school community. Happier staff = happier students = better retention, attainment and attendance = better results

MM: What can Music Mark members expect from your session on the day?

RP: During my workshop members can expect to have fun! It’s a bit of time out and a safe space to explore and reflect on personal wellbeing and on the wellbeing of staff, but from the freedom of looking out of a third person perspective. We will explore how to turn a vicious cycle into a virtuous cycle. Delving into practical techniques to create and implement a plan for their teams.

MM:  What will attendees be able to take home with them following your session?

RP: Participants will take home an overview of some of the wellbeing practices that can help with their staff’s wellbeing. They will have a personal leaflet that will contain tips for themselves to use, which they could creatively translate into their teams and work environment.

MM:  If you could give one top tip to encourage wellbeing in a work environment, what would it be?

RP: I pondered on this question for quite a while and I think it’s got to be ‘Willingness to Practice’. It’s wonderful to share breathing exercises, meditations, understanding the brain and learning how to drive it rather than it driving us. There are many aspects to wellbeing: better diet, exercise regimes or working on our sleeping patterns, all of which are immensely important and will inevitably help us in our work environment. But, if we don’t make time and space to consciously practice then there are not going to be any change or benefits. So yes, my one top tip is to, pick one thing to begin with, if that feels easier and less daunting, and bring it into a daily, hourly and then even, eventually a moment to moment practice. A wise monk once said it’s called a ‘practice’ for a reason because we must practice! I have no doubt that music teachers will positively relate to this more than most!

MM: Thank you Rachel! 

Join us for an afternoon dedicated to Staff Wellbeing, as part of the Music Mark Leadership Development Programme. Training with Rachel Pink takes place June 18th in Northampton. Find out more and book your spot.