Julika appointed as new Global Wellbeing Manager for RWE Renewables Europe & Australia GmbH

"Taking care of ourselves and looking out for each other”

"Taking care of ourselves and looking out for each other”

In May, Julika has been appointed as new Global Wellbeing Manager in the Health Safety Environment (HSE) department of Renewables Europe & Australia GmbH.

Julika, a familiar face from RWE Power has been appointed beginning of May and reports into Marcus Peters, Head of HSE Offshore and HSE Culture & Contractor Engagement. A familiar face because Julika has been with RWE Group since 2010, when she started working in the HSE Culture department with group-wide HSE campaigns. After four years of self-employment as a trainer and coach she returned in 2015 as Team Leader Wellbeing and HSE Culture.

In this interview Julika introduces herself and explains what exactly a Wellbeing Manager does and how wellbeing is measured.

You started your new role at RWE Renewables Europe & Australia GmbH at beginning of May. How are you settling in? What are your initial impressions?

My first impression is very positive. All the colleagues I have had the opportunity to talk to so far are extremely committed and motivated and very supportive. It also quickly becomes clear how fast our business is growing and how agile and competent my colleagues are in dealing with this transformation.

Could you explain in brief, what does a Wellbeing Manager do?

I see my main task in strategically anchoring the topic of wellbeing in an approach that fits to this international and agile company. Our culture of care  has already set the course for this.
To begin with we need to care about ourselves. Similar to the instruction on the use of oxygen masks in the aeroplane: "Put on the oxygen mask before you help other passengers". This starts with caring about our own wellbeing. But of course “care” also means to take care of each other. In this way, a culture of care creates a culture of looking out for each other. It creates a focus on wellbeing and the right mindset so that healthy and supportive behavior creates a culture of care and this culture of care then has a positive impact on our wellbeing. Therefore, wellbeing is an essential pillar of the We Care behavior and our journey to #EnjoyTomorrow.

At the operational level, it is of course also a matter of coordinating suitable support offers for a variety of wellbeing topics for our employees and supporting the management in their role as role models.

What will be/or have been your first actions as Wellbeing Manager?

My first actions are of course to get to know my team better as well as relevant stakeholders. We are also working hard on a wellbeing strategy that has a global approach without neglecting local or cultural specificities. For this, constant contact with local colleagues is essential. The strategy will focus on both physical and emotional wellbeing and promotes a culture of wellness based on our core behavior We care today, so that everyone enjoys tomorrow. 

What do you think are the key measures required to improve our physical and emotional wellbeing?  

I would like to describe three levels here:

First and foremost, I would like to encourage employees that everyone has a responsibility for their own personal wellbeing.

Often we are not aware of how lucky most of us are to be healthy and able to work. The quote "Health is not everything, but without health everything is nothing!" (Arthur Schopenhauer) captures this very clearly, I think. The Renewables business is a very dynamic and fast growing business. People are committed to the company goals. This releases positive energies and has a positive effect on our health. In order to be able to perform well in the long term, it is important to always allow yourself regeneration phases after periods of heavy exertion. We have to create a state of equilibrium, so that when life demands increase we balance this by periods of relaxation to maintain the life balance. When we do not do achieve this balance, then we place strain on our physical or emotional state Stress per se is not a bad thing. It only has a long-term negative effect on our wellbeing. Everyone must learn to recognise when their own balance is out of sync and learn to positively adjust to regain balance in their lives. This will vary from person to person. At this individual level resilience (emotional resistance) but also physical fitness and recharging energies will take a focus in our dynamic environment. In general, physical and emotional wellbeing cannot be considered separately. One automatically has an influence on the other. For example, physical activity can reduce tension or a positive mindset can promote physical wellbeing.

This sounds like an individual task, but don't we also have to tackle the issue as a collective?

Absolutely, we also need to address the issue of wellbeing as a collective, as we can motivate each other to take care of ourselves. It is also part of this that we actively talk to colleagues when we notice abnormal behavior such as change of mood, anxiety, dejection or aggressive behavior. These are normally the first signs of imbalance and we often rely on others to notice this before we do as individuals. Therefore, of course, we all, and especially the management, have a responsibility for each other in adopting a culture of care. Here, the topics team wellbeing, resource management and healthy leadership will play an important role.

Last but not least, in addition to healthy behavior and cooperation, healthy work conditions are also important.

At the beginning, there is certainly an awareness process that educates, trains and aims for a corporate wellbeing ID. This must then be strengthened and further developed in the long term. For me, an ID is characterised by the holistic and sustainable integration of the topic of wellbeing into existing processes. That it is not seen as an add-on or even nice-to-have, but that the consideration of our wellbeing is taken into account in all decisions. The employees are the greatest value this company has. We have to protect them and strengthen their self-responsibility so that we can all #EnjoyTomorrow.

How can our emotional wellbeing be measured and what should there be a target?

Wellbeing is a construct that is described differently for each individual and therefore requires subjective evaluation as well.

If I want to capture wellbeing holistically, I have to take into account the above-mentioned three levels, for example the work conditions, such as work organisation or hazards, the social interaction and the leadership culture as well as the subjective impression of each individual. One goal for management should be that each manager actively deals with the question "What can I do (like in the annual cycle) to actively support my employees in their wellbeing?

Our team – Christine, Heidi and me – is happy to provide support here.

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