R U OK? Ask the Simple Question, Change a Life

Last year I was inspired by this tremendous R U OK campaign when I uncovered that one of our teams seemed to be struggling. The entire campaign was built from the risk of ‘not’ asking this very simple question, especially when somebody’s senses are heightened.

In my role as Group Development Manager at HTG, I regularly spend quality time understanding our people at a deeper level across all areas of our business. On one particular day last year I was inspired to ask a team of people who were somewhat new to our business… R U OK? The answer I received included a diverse range of insecurities including a lack of confidence, a lack of competence, a lack of knowledge and a room full of fear!

Time to Reflect

In reflection, of the session and upon discussion with one of our General Managers later that day, I remember feeling a true sense of gratitude and pride. Grateful to be in a role where we have an opportunity to uncover a true understanding of how people are coping, learning and evolving at their own pace, in their own style. And pride, that by asking one simple Australian known question created by Gavin Larkin in 2009 after the loss of his father years earlier, we could change the direction of someone’s life, someone’s journey at HTG and someone’s ability to genuinely grow and develop.

Friends holding banner displaying, "R U OK, MATE?"

Ask the Question!

The first part of uncovering a potential problem is of course to ask the question. But the true power of the R U OK campaign is in fact what you do next. In this specific example, we created a new innovative initiative that examined exactly how each individual was truly feeling across a number of key areas. With this information, we were able to create a program of work that catered directly to exactly those areas. The outcome you ask? Well, it was that people felt far more supported. They felt a sense of encouragement and ambition to try harder. In fact, they wanted to work with us and not against us. Their knowledge improved as did their competence and therefore confidence.

The moral of this story is please take the time to ask if your team members are okay. The results may at first surprise you, but with care and creativity, your surprise will soon turn to success and furthermore the retention of your people. As we know through relentless research, happier people who are willing to go the extra mile for their customers and their employer will stay!

Thank you for your vision Gavin Larkin and your desire to build this legacy to protect and save others. Sadly Gavin lost his life to cancer in 2011 at the age of 42. May you rest in peace Gavin, knowing that your legacy lives on all across Australia in all sorts of ways. I’m so proud of your campaign and hope you are looking down smiling!

Danielle Norton-Smith