An interview with this year’s Lifetime Commitment to Wellbeing winner: Nuzhad Chagan
Nuzhad is a wellbeing advocate and activist, dedicated to creating a better everyday life for all those around her. Throughout her working career, Nuzhad has been committed to bettering the wellbeing of herself and her colleagues and has done so through driving a financial wellbeing initiative that gave employees access to salary advances, education and guidance, which then led to them having access to affordable loans. The initiative was so beneficial that IKEA US took inspiration and are now looking to implement it into their own business model.
Nuzhad is committed to creating a better workplace for everyone, everywhere.
This year her commitments didn’t go unnoticed, and she was awarded the Lifetime Commitment to Wellbeing Award at this year’s Great British Workplace Wellbeing Awards.
We caught up with Nuzhad after receiving her award to see what this meant to her, how she feels about her efforts to wellbeing celebrate, and what we can expect to see from Nuzhad in the future.
“I am still in shock and have to keep looking at the award every so often to realise I won! I am so honoured and humbled. I was in great company in that the other finalists have done some outstanding work in the world of wellbeing. This achievement meant so much both personally and professionally.”, said Nuzhad.
“When I embarked on this career some time ago, I knew that (wellbeing) was a whimsical thing that many thought was there but was not a priority. The endless hours of working to promote workplace wellbeing for the past 5 years, over weekends and in all my interactions, it has meant the fruits of my labour have been recognised. It makes me emotional and truly drives the fire in my belly to do even more.”
This year’s workplace wellbeing awards were our biggest yet, and the number of businesses working hard to increase the wellbeing of their employees, and those around them is so inspiring. Here at the Great British Workplace Wellbeing Awards, we are dedicated to encouraging, and championing those who are going above and beyond to introduce wellbeing practices in their life and workplace. Nuzhad is an inspiring example of someone who has been committed to doing this throughout her whole working career - which is why it was such an honour to give her this award.
“I feel we are all winners as we have picked professions as workplace wellbeing professionals which isn’t seen as rocket science, but it’s even harder, because of the emotive side.
I think I deserved to win as the contribution I have made both when I was at IKEA, through to my work with Let’s Improve Workplace Wellbeing and the Global Wellness Institute, all have made tangible movements for workplace wellbeing.”
Nuzhad has been committed to her efforts in improving workplace wellbeing throughout her whole career, making bold moves, and standing up for her colleagues and peers. We were interested to know where this passion came from? And why this movement is so important to her.
“In a work context, it came fully alive in IKEA because we lived by the statement: “To create a better everyday life for the many people” which I took to heart and have used to frame the way I work in workplace wellbeing. The key to success is our people, when we thrive and our people thrive, businesses thrive and the environment thrives, because happy people make the environment better.”
However, there have also been personal situations that have led Nuzhad to be an advocate and activist for workplace wellbeing, “I had lost a colleague to suicide. I have also had to wrestle with my demons of poor mental health and coming back from a number of traumas I have faced. That is why I feel this is my WHY and purpose in life. To do better both for myself and those around me. We owe it to ourselves and those around us to be happier and healthier people.”
As we have seen, nuzhad has already had a fruitful career and has done a lot to ensure that the working environment is a positive safe space for many, for years. As the awareness of mental health grows and was especially highlighted throughout the pandemic, we’re so excited to see what Nuzhad has planned for the future, and how she plans to continue her fight for wellbeing.
“I am currently Head of Wellbeing Strategy at Govox where I have the absolute pleasure and honour to support over 250 organisations seeking better ways of supporting their people. I am also a contributor to the Global Wellness Institute - Workplace Wellness group, we as a group of experts have just released a set of workplace wellbeing standards. I am on the leadership team for Let’s Improve Workplace Wellbeing where we bring together wellbeing leads to learn and share from best workplace wellbeing practices. I am a keynote speaker and have several engagements in the pipeline. And if that is not enough, watch this space as there are even more exciting projects underway.”
Clearly, there is no stopping Nuzhad on her journey of wellbeing. As she continues to improve her workplace and others, there is no wonder Nuzhad was the winner of this year’s Lifetime Commitment to Wellbeing award. We look forward to seeing what’s to come for Nuzhad, and because of people like her, we see a bright future for the workplace and employee wellbeing.
Lastly, we asked Nuzhad if she had any advice for businesses, or people looking to increase their positive wellbeing, what would it be?
“I could go into a long list of how to deliver wellbeing in the workplace from a strategy perspective, but the simplest message is to treat people as you would want to be treated. I am so taken aback by the poor basic practices of being supportive when your people are going through a hard time. Often processes and procedures are followed but people are not seen.
“BE MORE HUMAN”
People will give you more when they feel appreciated and seen. Show more vulnerability, and by this, I don’t mean you have to show all of you, but people will perform better when they see a leader being more human.
In the words of a wonderful woman - Maya Angelou
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”