LB: Martin, you work for Futamura and you are one of the Wellbeing champions and as part of this role you are involved in the SuperChamps program. What inspired you to become a Wellbeing champion?
MC: We have a really close knit management team and this was something that’s really close to our health & safety manager’s heart, and I wanted to support her. She wanted to put some focus on the H: the health in ‘Health and Safety’. I think companies, especially big technical companies like ours, focus a lot on safety and how do we keep people safe? And that’s absolutely right. It’s easy to forget the health part, but it’s really important. Especially in looking after people, making sure that they have good, long, healthy careers. So that was her initiative. And I think it’s clearly supported by the company as well. Being in the research part of the company, it’s really important for me that we try new things, new innovations, and innovation can be in the way that we do things as much as a technology.
LB: Can you tell me a bit about your experience of a being a Wellbeing Champion and the SuperChamp program so far?
MC: Within our company, there’s a group of about five or six of us who are all designated SuperChamps. We’ve been talking recently about bringing other people in from different areas around the company, but our approach has been to have that core group at the moment and have regular meetings. As time has passed, the program’s really grown, we are planning for the coming month and beyond, thinking about which initiatives will hit home, what’s really important to each of us. So we’ve got quite a good collaborative group going on. Even that in itself is quite interesting to be involved in.
LB: Do you feel that the SuperChamps content has helped guide your process a little bit?
MC: More than a little bit: it’s invaluable. I don’t think we’d be able to deliver this concept. Our health and safety manager said this was the thing that enables it because a lot of the core work is done for us. What we can do is then take that and apply it in a way that’s relevant to our company. But without the content and all the information behind it, it would be impossible I would say.
LB: What have you found the benefits have been so far?
MC: From a personal perspective, because we’re continually talking about health. I’m just in my forties and it’s something that pops up into your mind, thinking about a more healthy lifestyle and what that means. So it’s really helped me personally to focus on health a little bit, and I’ve made quite a few changes to how I live over the last few months without a doubt.
LB: Can you expand a bit more on the benefits that you’ve been finding?
MC: I do feel just a lot better all around. A lot more energized, lost a little bit more weight, but I think, there’s snippets of information that hit home, depending on your experience. I have tended to train and exercise for quite a long time but you don’t always think about the nutritional balance and the impact that that might have, the effects of aging and muscle wastage and things like that. So you start to pull in all of these other bits of information and you take a more rounded approach to health.
LB: You actually recently took part in our six-week metabolic kickstart program. What sort of impact would you say this had within the team, on their health?
MC: One of the big ways of judging that is just the sheer attendance we had. The sessions were voluntary – ‘come along if you’re interested’ – and we regularly got a huge chunk of the people that were available to attend live. And I think, that in itself is a measure. I can say as well, we know that we had many more people watch the videos after that. Some people preferred to do it that way. Beyond that, there were quite a lot of positive conversations. I think things like this are quite difficult to measure. “Where’s the measure?” Well, I think the delivery of the content and getting that message out and then the way people respond to it. And some of the messages we are getting back are certainly that people feel the company really cares and is investing in them.
LB: Finally, can you share with us any of the challenges that you have faced as a wellbeing champion and how you’ve worked around that?
MC: To be fair I can’t give you a huge list. Of course it’s not always possible to reach everybody, to get everybody to engage like you want them to. Our approach is to just keep putting the information out there and making it available in lots of different ways. So one of the things we’ve just recently done is made space in the factory for a SuperChamp board, and on the board we’ve got some of your content, the posters, the recipes, different things going on there. We’re going to be running some competitions through the year. Lots of different ideas like that. And that’s our approach really, to just keep offering this up in different ways so eventually we get more people engaged.
LB: Any final thoughts, what would you say to companies considering the SuperChamps program?
MC: My message is, if it’s something you you’re considering, then it’s clearly something that you’ve recognized is important to you as an organization. And our experience so far is it’s a fantastic thing. There’s all the help, the support, the content, the people that you get to access, everything’s really open, friendly and supportive. I think you can only ever give these things a try and see if it fits. That’s what I would encourage people to do.