Bessie Podcast

Podcast Bessie Podcast

Today, I’m here with James and Nikki Bartley, we’re going to be doing a special episode today and talk about the Bessie process that Nikki runs. The whole team completed this process in the later months of 2021. With the results now live, we wanted to share a little about the process, and how we’re using this information to direct our employee wellness strategy.


Chelsea Spencer 0:00
Hi, everyone, and welcome to the first episode of so what’s up for 2022?

Today, I’m here with James and Nikki Bartley, we’re going to be doing a special episode today and talking about the Bessie process that Nikki runs. And we did this towards the back end of 2021. And we started to get the results in in December, and we just thought we’d share with you a little bit about the process and how we’re using it to inform our staff wellness strategy. So, James, Nikki, you want to say hi,

Nikki 0:36
I Charles James. Hi. Hi, Nikki, thanks

James 0:38
for joining us today. So yeah, Chelsea said We, at the end of last year you came into to see the team, too, as part of sort of overall staff wellness strategy. And you want to talk us through your your Bessie, processor. product,

Chelsea Spencer 0:54
what would you call it? Yeah. What would you call it?

Nikki 0:56
Yeah. Best is an algorithm, although I always refer to her as a she Okay, she is actually an algorithm not a woman. Right. Okay. Yeah, Bessie, spoke evaluation and spotlight on stress and employees. Okay. And what basically Bessie doors as it allows a company to see where stress exists within the organisation, and what the costs are, what the implications are. And we do that, because obviously, the HSE have give businesses an obligation to a duty of care, rather to ensure that their employees are not stressed. And yeah, I think that’s a really good idea. But it’s not practical, on every level, and it’s not always possible on every level to to ensure that every employee is not stressed. Because stress comes into an organisation as well.

Chelsea Spencer 1:42
Yeah, I think just going back off that it’s very, it’s very good. Isn’t it having having these, like, I guess, regulations that you need to have like these macro things, like you need to make sure that so and so is not stressed. But like, it’s the how isn’t it? I think these things always fall down, you can give direction, but at the same time, if someone doesn’t know physically how to make that happen, or even where the problem lies, I guess there’s an issue there. And is that what you created Bessie to try and alleviate?

Unknown Speaker 2:08
Yeah, it is. But we also saw a bigger picture. So stress isn’t really understood. Now, we’re still looking at what stress is, what the causes are triggers are, what the impacts are. And actually, there are many disciplines that have looked at stress historically over 140 years, and come to some different conclusions. And so how does a business then measure stress? In reality? What metrics do they use to these physics to these biology, medicine, psychology, sociology. And there are some similarities, there are some things that have in common, but there are some really different things that they pertain stress to. And so we took 140 years of research, and all of those disciplines, and we put it together in an algorithm. Okay. And so not only are we looking at stressors and organisation, we’re looking at what out of that relevant research that we’ve gathered together already is true, and what isn’t. And then we’re then really looking at, you know, refining our understanding of stress in general.

Unknown Speaker 3:18
So if you find that you go into companies, small and large, that the employer sort of looks at this as something that they’ve never done before, like, almost like it’s a bit daunting process and like, what’s it going to? What’s it going to bring up when you go through this process?

Unknown Speaker 3:32
Yeah, absolutely.

Chelsea Spencer 3:34
Well, you wanted James.

Unknown Speaker 3:36
Now, our team were amazing. I was always I was confident it was gonna be fine.

Unknown Speaker 3:41
You saved me asked about that. But yeah, I think I would be and I always bear that in mind. I think if if someone was running Bessie, through my organisation, I would really want some reassurances that this isn’t about blame. Yeah, because I think that’s where we have some problems actually, in businesses and with employees and with stress. And, you know, that whole field of well being is it can feel very much because business owners do have a duty of care to ensure that they don’t do anything that causes undue stress to the employees. Yeah, it can feel quite a nerve wracking process, or I’m going to find out, you know, all of the little things that I do that my employees don’t like, is it just going to be a complaining process? You know, yeah. What if staff don’t engage? That’s something that people always ask what if staff don’t engage? You really got it? Be prepared to know what you don’t necessarily want to know?

Unknown Speaker 4:44
Yeah, yeah. So in terms of that stuff, engagement. So obviously, it’s important. It was important to us, for example, to get all the team on board to understand why we were doing that. And actually, we were really pleased with the, the positive attitude that the team took to actually engaging with you on that process. I

Chelsea Spencer 5:00
think a lot of that came from you, Nikki as well, and how you actually worked with us to set that up and position it and like, comment and explain it all to everyone. And you were really good for that whole process really like communicating it to everyone in a way that everyone understands, I think, because when you think about these, like abstract concepts, like mental health and stress, everyone’s experience is different to it. It’s a bit like a brand, isn’t it? Everyone has a different perception of what it actually is.

Unknown Speaker 5:27
Yeah, totally. And that’s really nice to hear. I’m glad you know, I’m glad. You know, you thought was your experience, Charles, it’s kind of and that’s always been my aim. It’s, I don’t want people to be afraid of what they’re going to find. And I don’t want people to be afraid of speaking or, and giving their opinion and having a say and discussing. You know, Bessie, for me is always about, it’s a really collaborative process. It’s, it’s everyone is involved. And I know, we can say that really easily, you know, with a lot of engagement surveys and different surveys. But actually, it really is a collaborative collaboration between the leaders and the employees. And I think if you approach it from that perspective, it gives everyone courage and confidence and it puts everyone at ease so that they are prepared to say, Yeah, I’m going to just let you know that this is going on or let you know that that’s going on. And I was really proud of you all actually here and really pleased. Like you had 100% Yeah, engagements. And we obviously better since the early stages. But we have done 28 pilots, and then you are first company to go through it properly the full process. And you’re the only company we got 100% engagement with?

Unknown Speaker 6:47
Yeah, nothing I was great. I’ll see, like Chelsea said the way you explained to the team, I think brought them on board with that. And I think also a lot of companies on the look at this kind of wellness and sort of don’t like using the word mental health, but that kind of world, look at their team as well and go okay, so we’ve, for example, they’ve got a range of stuff from 17 to 45, let’s say. And I think, you know, I’d say we’re probably the younger side of businesses. Yeah, being a creative agency will naturally attract I think, younger staff, I think it’s easy to assume that those younger people don’t have issues they’d like to discuss or haven’t discussed with the team or or things are bringing into work from outside. And I think yeah, you might sometimes assume that the the sort of always down to older people, but they’re not.

Unknown Speaker 7:35
They’re definitely not. And, you know, you saw that yourself, didn’t you? And, you know, it’s I think what, what never fails to surprise me and what I love about Betty, of course, it looks at mental illness, it looks a diagnosis, it looks at people feeling mentally unwell. But it also looks, sense of belonging, and how connected we feel to each other and how confident we are to have and when we think we’ve you know, where we think we fit in, in the organisation. And it gives people a chance to self reflect as they go through the questions. And then as they’re going through the debrief with myself, you know, I hope they get a sense, you know, my aim is also always to get a sense of where are you in this organisation, and get them to take control of their own well being their own health and to look out for this too.

Chelsea Spencer 8:25
Yeah, I think going into that wider, I guess culture discussion and that sense of belonging. And I think what it is sometimes it’s almost two trains of thought isn’t there where obviously that culture is dictated by a leadership team, which I think is a very outdated method of discussion, or culture is what every single I guess person brings into that ecosystem and how they all interrelate because essentially a business’s an interdependent ecosystem state, if it’s run, well, instead of like a silo did it did it. And I think we’re starting to see now how people even like, the most junior members of the team, or the people that like, haven’t been with us very long, can actually come in and change the dynamic of the culture and like, invigorate, like freshness and stuff into it, and how culture is actually something that you can work on and improve. And it’s not a fixed like, this is our culture. And this is what we must do. And I think what we’ve done from since we’ve had the besi analysis and reports we’ve had, we’ve actively been working on a my external on this, the culture and how we actually want to take it forward, improve and start creating something I think James can talk a little bit more about that.

Unknown Speaker 9:39
Yeah, I think it’s that thing of why do you come to work, isn’t it and I think, you know, we want people to come to work to, you know, for themselves and for us, you know, that they we don’t want to have a gun to someone’s head to say you’ve got to come to work as a marketing because it’s the only job you’ve got. We want them to really get up in the morning and go Joe I like where I go to work and we want to create an environment for them that fosters that it makes them feel like part of the team, and also make them feel like their voices heard. So I think you know what one of the things we’ve always been really keen on is not having the kind of a hierarchical structure in the organisation where we have a James’s word is gospel, everyone’s got to get in line. And now Chelsea would probably agree, obviously, yeah, you’ve been here for as part of 18 months. And, you know, I hope that we’ve never treated anybody like their opinion doesn’t matter. And yeah, we would always like to get everyone’s everyone’s view. And I think actually, the work done on the on the Bessie analysis, hopefully, is just reinforced the team, actually, every single person, what they bring to us is really important, you know, so their issues are important to us, they’re showing up every day is important to us. And actually, you know, as an employer, we’re doing what we can or the most that we can to try and make sure that their life’s better. Yeah. And we appreciate the fact that they actually come in every day.

Unknown Speaker 10:54
Yeah, it’s totally that isn’t it? I think, you know, just briefly, what you said about culture is its Culture is dynamic, it moves, it changes, it grows, and as you add new people to your organisation that will impact the culture. And so if everyone’s got this awareness, of actually what your values are based on and how you want to be at work, and where you go in, you know, it really helps that person’s a to know whether they want to come work at so marks in the first place, you know, and whether it’s an organisation that can really help their career and they can support the organisation. So, because I always think of business that way, I mean, you know, I can list jobs I’ve had in the past, and they felt like I was having jobs done to me. And what I realised, sort of the last five years is workplaces now are changing, businesses changing. Businesses are getting smaller, rather than the big corporations, we got more small businesses. But that gives a real opportunity to have deeper relationships with more people. And so they do become like mini communities, and they become an extension of our life. They’re not something that we go to anymore, that we just switch off from.

Unknown Speaker 12:12
Do you think that that that’s very different between small and large companies? So for example, if you are taking Bessie into a company that had 200 staff? Do, do you think you’d find it very different to for example, as with 14 stuff?

Unknown Speaker 12:28
And I think it’s more so I would say, companies from 500 Plus, that’s where you’re, you start seeing the difference in Dynamics rather than 200? Yeah. But yeah, there’s the in the bigger companies at the bigger end of the SMEs and then to the, to the larger organisations is definitely a difference. Eight, you’re more disassociated? Yeah.

Chelsea Spencer 12:52
I think from having worked in three multinationals, myself with all those 500 people, you usually have the macro micro, the macro causal of like the organisation itself, and like the standardised procedures that you kind of have to subscribe to. And then you have like the microcosm of like the team or the unit that you’re in. So for example, when I worked in recruitment, and I was based in like, the Leeds office, I loved that team. But then when I had to go to like the Manchester office, or the London office, even though we still followed the same principles and the same guidelines, it wasn’t the same vibe. And I know you can’t explain it even like better than that. But it just was not the same vibe. And I do not think I would have enjoyed the job half as much as I did. If I was in one of those offices.

Unknown Speaker 13:38
I think it was well, that mean, you don’t know those people necessarily do even though you work for the same organisation that people you’ve never met necessarily met before interacted with. Yeah. And I think one of the things that Betty process flagged that for us, is that a thing where our team can be more aware of each other as well. So I think with it being a smaller group of people, and the way that you sort of came in and presented the group results, let’s say, Yeah, so the average doubt, yeah, here’s some risk factors for the overall team. It may be sort of show the team that actually their colleagues may be neither in support, or you’re not on your own. If you think you’ve got an issue. And I think that was really valuable for us.

Unknown Speaker 14:13
Yeah, I’m really glad to hear that actually. Thank you. It’s an actually that’s the point. We don’t know, do we we don’t know what we don’t know. And we always appreciate what we do know when we know it. But to find out that, I just didn’t know people were feeling that way. And actually, the coverage was which you will Delta Tibesti the honesty, and that takes out any you know, that kind of attitude approaching something like this was that kind of attitude. It takes out the worry of offending anyone. Yeah. And so people can be really honest, but be really pleasant about it, and no one’s having a go at anyone. And that’s the whole point. And when you see those metrics and those results across the whole team So even someone you know, works elsewhere or works in a different job you didn’t know, had some challenges. And yet, you just see them walking about the bills anything other fine. And so even though you don’t know who it is, because obviously that is confidential, yeah. And we don’t disclose the results, or we don’t disclose data that we know that way. Just to know that there’s someone out there that’s got some issue. It really does something for the team, it shifts the thinking. And so we couldn’t become more considerate

Chelsea Spencer 15:29
and compassionate, I think as well and like empathetic towards other people. Which to be fair, like, as marketers for us, we’re always trying to put ourselves in like the customer’s shoes, or like our clients, customers shoes. And it’s funny, because that same level of compassion isn’t usually looked at or turned inwardly. And I think best is made as I’m reciting away. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 15:49
And that’s interesting, because one of the, one of the theories around stress my own theory, by the way, at least is, you know, it’s it’s about, it’s not always about the stuff that we think we’ve got to do. It’s about who we think we are. Yes. And actually, if we could, you know, that’s one of the things that better Shannon Lysandre, if we can just realise that we’ve we’ve all got self worth, we’ve we’re all got capacity to change, to grow, to develop, and we all sometimes, you know, need need, what’s it called, like a permission not to, we all need permission to say, you know, what, I need a moment. And that’s what the best process brings. And that’s why it really changes the well being in an organisation because, you know, it’s all about relationships, actually. And it’s not about necessarily the prot, the external pressures, or the internal pressures,

Unknown Speaker 16:52
I think it’d be interesting, especially in this organisation, when we onboard a new member of the team, for example, that hasn’t gone through that process. What, what, what should we do with that? You know, so too, do we sort of say, actually, yeah, after a few months, would you like to offer the Bessie, service to that person individually, or, you know, that they’re going to come into a team that’s essentially empathetic and understanding of each other? And then this person, like Chelsea said, one person can affect a culture and dynamics in the business quite a lot. And so for us, it’s when we created our wellness strategies, how do we onboard new members of the team so that they fit straight into that new Wellness strategy? That’s come off the back of Bessie?

Chelsea Spencer 17:34
Yeah. How do we brainwash them? Nikki?

Unknown Speaker 17:37
I think there’s enough of you already brainwashed now. Just kidding. But I say I say that tongue in cheek, but I am off serious. You see, the, because you’ve all gained awareness, like you’ve all gain that self awareness and awareness for this, the dynamics of the culture won’t be as easily swayed from where you want it to go. Yeah,

Chelsea Spencer 18:02
I think in the recruitment process, as well, like, there’s things that you can do to mitigate stuff like that. So when I’ve done it in the past, it’s like, psychological profiling to make sure that you placed with like the right manager, or, for example, like if we go down the mentoring route, who’s who’s got the best personality, then to maybe get through to that person, because like, for example, people have to sometimes put things to me in a certain way, so that I actually understand like the value of it. And if someone comes to me with an emotional appeal, I’m usually not that app to actually go for it. But if they go in, like a logical sense, and then they put things in a really clear way, for me, that syncs in with me a lot easier. And it’s like, well actually then flip that if someone else wants that sort of space and time and wants to know, like, pontificate about things. I’m not the type of person that could manage your mentor them overly well, because I don’t have the time or the capacity to deal with people. But somebody else might. So I think there’s things in the recruitment process that you can put in. And just because I’m not empathetic to someone in the way that they want to be emphasised work doesn’t mean that there’s not somebody else in the business that is better suited to that person.

Unknown Speaker 19:17
So after, obviously, you we’ve been to the process with you and you, you work with another number of the clients. So for 2022 onwards, what’s the next what’s next for Bessie, then?

Unknown Speaker 19:26
Well, we’re all you know, it’s interested before Christmas. So since since working with yourselves, we’re now on we’re two iterations ahead. Wow. Okay. Bessie, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s growing, developing and changing. And I think by sort of the end of the year, this is why we’re glad we didn’t really lock it down into some tech because that was, you know, 2021 for me was to get the tech for Brexit, Bessie. And obviously, she’s still in Google Forms with the algorithm and yeah, but I think if at Have lots of fun, detach this too soon. She’s changed eight times already. Yeah. Because each time we run it, we just sort of gained some more data, some more experience some more know how, and we change the process of delivery. So for me, it’s refining that and making sure that you pointed out just giving you the best possible experience and making betting as easy as possible for you to all do. Really? Yeah. Is is 2022. For me, I

Unknown Speaker 20:28
imagine that’s more difficult when you have more people to do it to deliver it to you, obviously, you know, for us, we could pretty much all fit in one room. But yeah, you go into a 500 plus organisation. Do you know I suppose the logistics of that for you are more difficult. Yeah. Which is where I suppose the theory is add some tech into it. Yeah, to make that easy. Yeah. But like you say, you know, you could lock into that, and certainly not be the right thing for you. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 20:53
totally. And I really just, I don’t want to take the personal out of it. I don’t want to, you know, what really makes the change is the human touch that we all that interaction, those, you know, been been asked questions and being able to ask questions. So it’s for us, it’s finding a way of keeping that in the process all the way along. So my organisation will have to grow with more people in it. It’s enable that to happen.

Chelsea Spencer 21:18
Yeah. How are you finding the whole process with like creating and innovating and next Jenning Bessie, how are you enjoying it?

Unknown Speaker 21:27
I’ll it’s been a blast so far. But if I’m being honest, it’s been really, it’s been times that it’s been terrifying. Yeah. And I think because I never saw myself as an innovator. It’s it, that’s what’s made it easy. It just made sense. For me, I just really wanted to do something in the mental health space that I could see was going to make a difference, and knew that we got some misunderstandings around stress. And it just made sense to try and clear those up. I think

Chelsea Spencer 21:58
from a marketing perspective, with besting, you’re probably a great client to work with, because your people first and I think that’s probably why you never saw yourself as an innovator. You’re just trying to deliver the best experience for the person. And that’s, I think, what will make Bessie ultimately successful, because you’re not doing it for, I guess, like, continuously innovating or doing things for the next big thing. You’re doing it and you’re making those more like intuitive, heartfelt, I guess decisions based on what you think is right for the people and what the data is telling you. And that’s what I’ve noticed with Bessie. So

Unknown Speaker 22:37
that’s really good. Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, I

Unknown Speaker 22:39
think your chart Yeah, the challenge for it is how do you turn that into marketable language box will content that then can bring that to that wider audience that you want to do?

Unknown Speaker 22:51
Yeah, I haven’t got the answer to that today.

Unknown Speaker 22:54
I don’t think anyone else. But I think it’s interesting when you sort of do talk to people like ourselves that have gone through the process, because I think everyone you speak to will will give you different ideas and different perspectives on that. Or you’ll throw them all into one big melting pot, and you’re going okay, how do I come out with that with a stress with a marketing strategy that delivers? Yeah, across all the media where I need to be seen, and all that kind of work that I know you’re working on the moment? It’s a big job? Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 23:18
it is. Yeah, it is. And I think can only take one step at a time and, you know, something that I keep coming back to constantly because I I lose sight of things if I get lost and all of that. So it can also it can feel overwhelming, it can feel like I’ve got too much to do. But, you know, My motto is to create a world where everyone wins. And I keep coming back to that and think, How am I doing that today? What am I doing today? And just know that I just got little bits of the jigsaw to do each day. And that’s, and obviously, I ring you up frantically sometimes James is like, no, no, you dealt with stuff my website for me and you know, and

Unknown Speaker 23:54
but again, well, that’s that’s where you could relationships with people around you in your circle helpful on that. Yeah. And I know that you you do a lot of networking as well. So I think if anybody’s looking to find you, you’re pretty easily found really on the internet on you, especially, you know, in the in the Staffordshire area, everybody knows you. But I think you know, it’s, it’s interesting translating real experiences with clients and the differences that they the process makes that organisation into things that people can relate to, in case studies and go Oh, actually, I can see how that would fit for me. But likewise, I think like we spoken about before, it may not fit for everybody. And it might be that that company is not ready to take that step or it’s not in a place where it wants to really engage at that level. Yeah, but I suppose that’s okay, too. They’re just not going to be for you.

Unknown Speaker 24:40
Yeah, I absolutely agree. And there’s nothing wrong with that either. I think we all have to own where we are. And we all have to look at it and say, Is this something I can do right now? Is this something even to cope with yourself mentally, you know, to take this on? I think you’ve got to be of a certain mindset. Yeah. We’ve all been at different stages in the business, haven’t we? We’re not of that mindset. And so if you’re not, that is okay. And maybe you have another agenda in 2022 2023. And yeah, that’s fine.

Chelsea Spencer 25:10
So if there’s someone listening to this, and they’re kind of like, halfway in the mindset, like I’m in an hour, and I called or go for Bessie DOE to go for Bessie, what would your message be to them?

Unknown Speaker 25:21
Well, but first message, I guess, you know, from my point of view, of course, I’d want a conversation with them. Yeah. I love giving the best demonstrations. People see it, like, how do you get that data? You know, how can you really get that data what you know, so that’ll be it, like booking for them? And sort of have a conversation. And then perhaps speak to people like you guys who’ve already done it. And I’ve got a list of other companies who’ve already done it and you know, ask what their experiences so

Unknown Speaker 25:50
yeah, so if somebody wants to book in for demo with you, what’s the best way getting in touch with you?

Unknown Speaker 25:55
So they can go to my website thrive and shine rather,

Chelsea Spencer 26:00
thrive and

Unknown Speaker 26:04
Or they can email me at info at Thrive, hyphen, and hyphen And just simply asked for demonstration or Bukit

Chelsea Spencer 26:15
brilliant, and what I will do is I will drop Nikki’s LinkedIn on the end of this. Well, this Oh, I forgot the call man podcast. Useful, oh, Joe Nikki’s LinkedIn information on the end of this podcast description as well so anyone can get in touch with so thank you very much for listening. And thank you very much for coming on. Nikki. Thank you for having me. Thanks, anytime

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