Lloyd Dean is a true next gen leadership representative of the slash economy. Having shrugged the “single profession” model, by day he works for EDF Energy and in the evening, he runs his The Future of Learning podcast.
At the Mad
World Advisory Board meeting in May, there was a call for more next generation
leadership perspectives to be included on the Mad World Forum agenda. So, we
are delighted that Lloyd Dean, Head of Digital and Innovative Learning, EDF
Energy has come on board.
In advance of his participation in the Next Generation Wellbeing track at the Mad World Forum on 9 October, we explored Lloyd’s viewpoints on a few topics:
To start off, could you introduce yourself
and let us know where your interest in mental health comes from?
I’m interested in mental
health from a personal perspective. I’ve dedicated 2018 to raising awareness
and money for men’s health related issues, particularly the Movember
Foundation. A few years ago, I was involved in a car crash and experienced PTSD
after. I’ve been on my own journey to recovery and want to now act as a role
model for change.
What are the top 3 things
that have helped your own journey of recovery?
The things that helped me
the most were:
- Accepting that the thoughts, feelings and emotions I was experiencing were ways other human beings would react. Removing the expectation that I should be able to recover quicker. Patience!
- Therapy. Listening to and working with a trained professional. Specifically, I used EDMR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) therapy.
- Sharing my journey with others – it’s been liberating
Can you tell us a bit about EDF's approach to mental health in the workplace and why you think this is ground breaking?
has a zero-harm ambition. This involves health and safety related topics but
also mental health. Its unique approach is that every single meeting starts
with a daily safety message which is communicated through an app built into our
Slack channel. Often this includes mental health, so there is no shying
away from the topic - physical and mental health have parity of esteem.
member of the meeting discusses their physical or mental health safety outcomes
and experiences in detail and it’s through this connection that learning
happens. In the mental health space there are also lots of resources and key
findings shared - for example, resources on our learning platform and
links to expert websites.
What role are you playing in driving this
forward? What are the key attributes needed for someone who is driving this
agenda in their workplace?
In order to drive this agenda,
I think we need to be brave enough to tell our personal stories and lead
through action. It’s not useful to tell other people what to do if we’re not
living what we preach. I think that senior leaders of an organisation could be
doing more in showing that they are human as well, realising that this enhances
mental health, team building and productivity in the long run. Within the above context and background for
the year, I’m sharing things on my social media channels and keeping the
conversation going in all of the roles I do.
How important do you think it is that the
mental health agenda is driven from board level?
I think it’s critical to
modernising our approach to mental health at work. We can’t ignore this topic anymore.
How does mental health fit in with your
perspective on the Future of Learning? You have written about the potential of
VR and AI in this space. What do they mean when it comes to
workplace wellbeing, and ingraining behaviour changes into company culture?
These technologies can only
help, if they are used strategically. VR experiences are so good and I think
can be used increasingly for exposure type therapy. In the AI space, an app
called “Woebot” helps to develop skills such as resilience and self-esteem. Even
though such AI tools have been widely researched by academic professionals, I
suspect they will be received with scepticism. But if AI can help people and
provide skills at the same time – what’s the problem? In my opinion, our
relationship with technology will become more personal in the forthcoming
years. I believe that the more technology knows us, the more it can help.
Today's workplace is multigenerational. Are
the different communication preferences of different generations accommodated
when it comes to talking about mental health at EDF?
I think putting people into
generational boxes is not helpful. Some people keep things to themselves – they
might’ve been like that at 21, 37 and still when they are 50. Other people
their age may open up more about their experiences. However, I think the
conversation is specific when we discuss gender, e.g. 3 out of every 4 suicides
in the UK is male. Why is this? What do men do or think for these alarming
statistics to become a reality? This is a conversation to explore, in my
opinion and one that can truly save lives.
What is your personal vision for the next
generation of workplace wellbeing? Where do you think we still need more fresh
thinking on the topic of mental health in the workplace?
I think the conversation on
this issue needs to be a collective. It’s not. I think some organisations are
still in a transitionary phase; they want to do something different but don’t
know where to start. So, it looks and maybe feels a bit awkward. We all need to
be more authentic and the employee experience needs to be more consistent – but
it’s more than just leadership training!
What are the key takeaways you would like to
gain from being part of Mad World in October?
I think it’s important to
have cross-industry dialogue on mental health.
I want to know what other organisations are doing and what questions
people are asking, so I can understand how our idealistic views are being
utilised in practice and hopefully learn about more innovation around mental
health at work.
Pushing yourself on all
sides must be challenging at times, how do you avoid burnout and look after
- Having processes for things that usually happen. From how I sort emails through to travel and automating social media. This is very important and every so often I review what I’ve been up to and make changes. E.g. Do I feel happy doing X? Do I want to be doing Y? Then making rules to follow that. It’s an evolving thing though and sometimes I can notice rushed thoughts and the feeling of fatigue – I prioritise myself at that point.
- Understanding what foods work for me and what activity makes me feel good. I try and walk 10,000 steps most day. I find if I’ve done that I’ve also eaten well and am tired enough to sleep in the evening (I aim for 8 hours).
- Reading. I find this is the best way to stop and become involved in one thing. Some others might call this mindfulness!
We’re so excited to showcase innovative solutions to mental health at work and to lead by example in talking about our own mental health. Our hope is that many more people can follow in Lloyd’s example of being open and doing their part to create change. We look forward to continuing the conversation at Mad World on 9 October.
Don’t forget to register if you haven’t already booked your place. We look forward to seeing you there.
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