Reflections on 2016 at Yoke Consultancy

Sharing your monthly stories: this month it's our Director Rachel Arkle, reflecting on her year at Yoke 

What was the highlight of your year at Yoke Consultancy?

The thing that has excited me most in 2016 has been watching the wellbeing world mature and gradually become a priority for an increasing number of businesses. 

Albeit, there is a long way to go, the growth in internal wellbeing teams, budgets, leadership support and industry thought leadership is evidence that it is no longer a "nice to have". In fact it is becoming an integral part of talent and organisational health. 

On a personal level, I am also proud to have challenged myself to commit consistently to my own wellbeing routine despite Yoke's growth. I am fully aware that turning up tired to a wellbeing client meeting is full of many contradictions. However, with a wave of new Yoke clients, from fashion to finance, I am enjoying proving to myself that performance and wellbeing can go hand in hand.

What was your biggest challenge this year?

That's an interesting question. In all honesty, it has been the struggle of getting into the mindset of wellbeing leaders who believe there approach is already good enough. They believe they have ticked the wellbeing box, but don't truly know what wellbeing means to their people and lack practical evidence and implementation plans to back themselves up. As wellbeing came to the fore in recent times, it was easy to win a wellbeing award purely by saying you're doing it, which may have offered an element of confidence and comfort to businesses.  This distracted people from thinking about making cultural shifts that are sustainable and measurable. As harsh as it may sound, moving forward without a clear strategy and without metrics to measure effectiveness in place,  you cannot create a sustainable approach to wellbeing.

I see one of Yoke's key priorities for next year as working with our partners Investors in People, to help shift people towards a more evaluative approach that will enable our clients and other businesses to be more collaborative and outcome orientated.

What advice would you give a start-up business, given what you've learnt in 2016?

Trust that the timing is right. Sandra, Yoke's lead coach, is an amazingly reassuring influence on this outlook. Whether it be the timing of a client decision, or an internal project, sometimes stepping back and even pressing pause can be the best thing for all involved. It takes confidence to offer something space. I'm pleased to say that from this year's experience, it has been a rewarding dance between action and reflection.


Written by Rachel Arkle, Director Yoke Consultancy

You can email Rachel with your reflections on 2016