Although the website for the Higher Education Funding Council for England says that our project, Creating Success through Wellbeing in Higher Education, received £174,000, which you report, the funding was in fact £74,000. This money was to run six workshops as well as a number of other activities open to the entire sector. These were attended by individuals from more than 100 UK higher education institutions. The project works closely with and is supported by major sector associations and trade unions.
From the project's perspective, wellbeing encompasses all aspects of the employee experience, but also how people are supported, managed and developed. It acknowledges the need for improvement in this area and helps institutions to improve their practice.
As you describe, the agenda is not wholly altruistic. You cite a number of academics who are dismissive of it. It is a shame that this was not balanced by the huge number of scholars who suggest the opposite. Empirical evidence shows that this is a mutually beneficial agenda that has a positive impact on organisations as well as their staff and students.
We see the results of many staff surveys from all sectors that highlight problems with stress, poor management, insufficient communications and badly managed change.
It is difficult to understand how efforts to improve this are anything but positive steps. It is a shame that Times Higher Education does not feel able to support what we believe to be the initiative's crucial message: that the wellbeing and engagement of staff during these challenging financial times is more important than ever.
Sara Corcoran, Chair, executive member group, Improving Performance through Wellbeing and Engagement, and head of HR strategy and change, Queen Mary, University of London
Kim Shutler-Jones, Project manager, Improving Performance through Wellbeing and Engagement.