“Don’t forget about senior leaders’ health,” warns Virgin Media chief

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Companies are increasingly concerned about the overall health and well-being of their employees but one industry pro says HR managers must remember that upper-echelon leaders may need extra attention.

“The temptation is to provide health and safety training to frontline staff but overlook senior staff,” said Maurice Daw, chief people officer at Virgin Media.

“These individuals often work very long hours, don’t always eat properly and experience high stress levels,” he said, adding that senior employees often have needs that are specific to them.

Daw said that HR professionals should consider specific health and safety training for high-level bosses – to educate them on how their executive lifestyle could be impacting their physical, and mental, wellbeing.

Lack of sleep, which is common among c-suite execs, is a particular cause for concern as there is evidence to show sleep deprivation impacts heavily on business performance and mental illness.

“One of the most important things HR directors can do is make the topic of sleep deprivation visible throughout the organisation,” said Ashridge Business School researcher Ayiesha Russell, “from the boardroom down.”

“If HRDs can find and share stories of people who have managed their sleep and improved their performance, this will help to reinforce its relevance, increase employee awareness, and help employees and HR work together to enhance wellbeing and organisational success,” she added.

“It is about making them aware of the potential consequences of some of their decisions,” said Vicki Culpin, director of research at Ashridge Business School.

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