November 2022
Equipping leaders to sow seeds of wellbeing

Placing employee wellbeing high on your strategic agenda is commendable. Developing and implementing a strategy to equip your leaders to touch 20 000 people, countrywide in a deep and meaningful manner in a few months, is another. This is what leading retailer, Woolworths has achieved.

It was this remarkable story that Sibongile Antoni, Head of HR: Learning and Development at Woolworths, shared at the recent IPM Convention at Sun City. And it is for this journey that the Woolworths' HR Team received the 2022 IPM Excellence Award, honouring their commitment, passion and grit in implementing Staying Strong, Free To Grow's wellbeing and resilience programme and toolkit, at scale in their organisation.

Sibongile Antoni, with the prestigious IPM Excellence Award.

An enormous congratulations and thank you to Sibongile and her team of Salome MorareSomaya EsauJonathan Loder and all the other Woolworths HR team members who were essential cogs in achieving what most people would describe as impossible or idealistic!
The story behind the award

Eighteen months ago, the Woolworths HR team approached Alinda Nortje, founder of Free To Grow, asking how Staying Strong, Free To Grow's wellbeing and resilience programme could be scaled. They had a deep desire to touch all 20 000 employees in their stores countrywide with the knowledge, skills and tools to remain resilient and strong amidst challenges.

The Staying Strong Toolkit, comprising of a series of 15 short, powerful videos each with a step-by-step conversation guide for leaders to engage their teams in conversations on various topics related to wellbeing, was ideally suited for this purpose.

The benefits of this approach are multiple:
  • It provides bite-size learnings that are easy to implement immediately 
  • It provides consistent messages of resilience and care, creating a common language regarding wellbeing in your organisation
  • It equips HR and leaders with the tools and skills to demonstrate their care and positively impact the wellbeing of employees.
While the Toolkit approach is ideal for scaling wellbeing throughout an organisation, implementing it in stores countrywide, was another matter. It took vision, innovation and tenacity, something this team has in abundance. Every challenge they encountered was tackled and overcome.

The result? They have contributed enormously to the mental and emotional health of their people. They have also significanty impacted the capability of the leadership in their stores and the relationships between these leaders and their people and within the teams, where people have become much more understanding and supportive of each other.
Sibongile Antoni presentation of their implementation of Staying Strong
Sibongile Antoni wowing the audience during her presentation on Woolworths' rollout of Staying Strong at the recent Institute of People Management (IPM) convention.
Click here to download the Staying Strong interactive e-profile and explore the content themes, the flexible implementation options and other unique benefits.
Here are some value-adding well-being resources for leaders:
Why partner with Free To Grow on your wellbeing journey?

113 316 people..... 1 430 organisations..... 36 countries

Contact Alinda Nortje, founder and Executive Chair and author of Staying Strong on +27 82 852 6323 or or Kim van Schoor on +27 84 442 5619 or to explore how Staying Strong can support the wellbeing of your employees. 
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