What Does It Take To Be Kind? Mental Health And People Management At Curve

Karolina joined Curve in May 2019 as a People Ops Business Partner. 

Hi Karolina! Tell us about your role and why the People Operations team is so important here at Curve. 

We’re here to look after everything that someone may need whilst they are part of the Curve team, as well as making sure that everyone can work in a comfortable & inspiring environment. Our responsibilities don’t stop after someone’s first day, we manage every step of an employee’s professional and personal journey whilst they are with us.

We don’t just take care of payroll and holiday allowance, we touch everything within the business. Whether it be mapping out career progression plans or just simply listening to make sure that the team are happy; as a team we aim to make sure that we are doing all we can to help people thrive. 

Curve is hiring! Check out the job roles we have available here

Curve’s team is growing faster than ever before. What are the difficulties you face as our numbers increase?

I think the single biggest difficulty we face is alignment between our team and other managers within the business. We try our best to communicate our processes and procedures to everyone in the company but when you are supporting 200+ people, something always falls through the cracks! 

As we grow, so will the People Ops team. Until then, the key thing for me is to prioritise and manage my time well, so that the requests we receive are handled sensitively, efficiently and with the utmost care & attention.

No one request is any less important than another, but some things require a faster resolution. Of course I would love to help everyone straight away but it’s not always possible which is why communication is key. 

What initiatives do we have at Curve that help people manage their work/life balance and what initiatives would you like to see put in place?  

I recently took part in a mental health first aider training programme, which was extremely useful in providing me with the tools I need to cope with stress and the tools I need to help the team as a whole. 

I always advise people to try and dedicate at least 1 hour each day to doing something that they love but it is easier said than done! 

We have a free-to-use gym in the office, a running club, a football team and even a Japanese language club. Every team member has a health and wellbeing budget allowance that they can use for massages, swimming, Zumba – whatever they need. If they can’t find the time outside of work there are free yoga, meditation and wellness classes running onsite throughout the week. 

Mental health in the workplace has become a prominent topic in both the business and wider media circles in recent years. In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges that prevent people from opening up and asking for the help they may need? 

Stigma. Even in 2019, people are reluctant to speak up and seek the help they need for fear of being perceived as weak. There is no weakness in honesty; everybody goes through rough patches from time to time! 

Many mental health issues are easily disguised or misinterpreted under the umbrella of depression & anxiety but the underlying issue is not always being addressed. I would hope that anyone at Curve could come to me and tell me how they are feeling but I appreciate that this is not always going to be the case. This is why we are looking for the perfect partner to help us provide the advice and support services that our team can access independently. 

As a business we understand that it is important to openly discuss mental health but we don’t want to overdo it and force the issue, creating a negative environment. We would rather offer pathways for career development, access to recreation facilities & flexible working hours to give people the opportunity to manage their time in a way that best suits their needs. 

What does kindness mean to you?

To me kindness means having empathy; not being judgemental; being open minded and being accepting of others differences. I always have a smile on my face, take the time to get to know the team as well as I can and try to see the good in everyone and everything. It’s the simple things that make us all happy and approaching any situation with a positive attitude makes life, both at home and at work, better for everyone. 

One thing that is very important to me is to remember everyone’s name and what their role is – which is no mean feat when you’re looking after 200+ people! I want to make everyone feel special, important and valued as the person they are, not just for the brilliant work they do.

Curve is hiring! Check out the job roles we have available here