“I’d encourage all employers in the industry to adopt this approach so that we can work together towards a clear industry-wide standard for us all to follow.”
What made STV want to get involved with using the Toolkit?
Wellbeing has been a central pillar of our engagement programme for some time.
Just before the pandemic, we achieved gold award status of Healthy Working Lives, a career highlight for me.
The Toolkit included many of the changes we’ve recently made to our processes, providing a clear framework to enable us to achieve mentally healthy productions.
We also wanted to support freelancers who are the backbone of our industry.
One of the positive developments of the last two years has been extending access to STV’s Wellbeing Programme to everyone who works with us, regardless of the duration of their contract or length of service.
How did you use the Toolkit?
The Toolkit is varied and the approach is very flexible, so this made it easy for us to get involved.
To get started, we met with our production team to review the proposed approach and make sure it could be accommodated by them.
We focused on ensuring wellbeing support is consistently and clearly available to all new joiners.
This means assigning a dedicated mental health first aider to every production.
We also placed responsibility on the production team to ensure regular checks on the wellbeing of their team members.
We committed to undertaking exit interviews.
We’ve recently introduced the ‘STV Experience Questionnaire’ for freelancers.
It extends our exit interview process by issuing a questionnaire at the start of a freelance engagement and invites feedback at any time during the term of the contract, including upon exit.
Why did you want to have exit interviews?
We need to ensure everyone who contributes to our business has a voice and the opportunity to have their say.
We also recognise that, despite our best efforts to create a positive working environment with a range of routes to flag concerns or issues, some people don’t feel comfortable doing this – particularly if working freelance.
Therefore, the opportunity to express their views when their contract concludes is essential.
What productions are you using the Toolkit on?
We are using the Toolkit on two productions: Antiques Road Trip and Celebrity Antiques Road Trip.
These are long-running productions from STV Studios and ratings winners for commissioning broadcaster, BBC.
Why do you think this is an important new approach for the industry?
The wellbeing of our people is key to our success.
We are committed to providing everyone who contributes to STV with an inclusive, safe and mentally healthy production environment.
I’d encourage all employers in the industry to adopt this approach so that we can work together towards a clear industry-wide standard for us all to follow – meaning everyone across the industry receives fair and respectful treatment.
Why do we need support across the industry for this mental health initiative?
I think it only really works when we have commitment across the industry – from the top down.
We’ve seen the toll that the past 18 months have taken on our mental health and if anything can be learnt, it’s that we all need to work together to prioritise wellbeing across the industry.
For me a central resource will be vital to ensure broadcasters and commissioners are all singing from the same hymn sheet.
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