Title Image

Kick-starting a culture change


Client: IMG Media, London

Problem: Sickness and absenteeism, presenteeism, managerial burnout,

Approach taken: assume a significant level of presenteeism and address with ‘Employing a Positive Approach’ workshops


When Pressure becomes a Problem

At IMG Media, the pace of work is fast and the pressure is high. Employees need to deliver high quality production in short timescales and are often required to travel at short notice.

The HR Director at IMG knew that intervention was needed when she noticed a significant increase in sickness related absenteeism, saw colleagues showing signs of burn out and heard negativity spreading through the organisation like wildfire.

Culturally, tackling ‘stress’ was going to be difficult. In the media world, where competition is fierce, stress is often seen as a dirty word or a sign of weakness. Accept it, or get out.

Kick-starting a culture change

IMG commissioned Jan Matthews to run a series of ‘Employing a Positive Approach’ workshops. The aim was initially to meet HSE Management Standards for Stress Awareness, putting a spotlight on an issue that many of the organisations 400 employees were not openly identifying with.

The underlying objective, however, was to kick-start a culture change.

Six workshop dates were offered and staff invited to attend on a voluntary basis. A further ten workshops were commissioned following positive feedback from employees.

“Jan is honest and open. Her friendly, informal style is often very amusing. She brings life and understanding to the negative concept of ‘stress’ and we now all know how to handle the strains we feel and communicate effectively. The ability to see others not just as colleagues but also human beings has helped team working in a very powerful way” – Caroline Ward, SVP HR (Europe) IMG Sports and Entertainment

Stress continues to be a regular part of work-life at IMG Media but, as a result of participating in the workshops, employees at IMG now have a more open and positive approach to managing stress and have started to notice a better connection within their teams.

To find out more about workplace stress management, 1-2-1 employee support or improving team communication skills