Increasing Well-Being At Work

Juliane Nitsche, co-fouder of MLC Advisory.

Operational in Luxembourg since 2017, MLC Advisory helps companies and employees unlock greater performance at work, develop resilience and kindle engagement. We caught up with co-founder Juliane Nitsche to learn more about their work and why it’s become such a hot topic in recent years. 

Can you tell me a bit about your background and what inspired you to start MLC advisory?

We founded MLC advisory in 2012, in Paris, and we specialised in linking wellbeing to performance. However, 10 years ago, no company ever thought about anything like this in France. So we were really the first one.

But the environment wasn’t really a good one for us. So in 2017, we migrated to Luxembourg and business has been a lot better for us and has really taken off since Covid-19 when the topic of well-being at work really took off. Working in four languages, including Luxembourgish and having the HQs of international companies has also helped us.

Among other things, you help companies and their employees find fulfilment in their work. Why is this important?

Work is such a big part of everyone’s lives which is why I think it’s important to find some fulfilment in it. This is especially important for employee retention and quality of work too. I think that most people have kind of limiting beliefs and internal stressors, that lead to a lot of distress and the negative consequences that we see, especially at the moment. 

How would you describe your mission at MLC advisory?

We want to help employees work better in the sense that when they feel better about themselves, their strengths and their weaknesses, then they will be more productive. And so we create win-win situations for the company and the employees.

Can you share an example of the kind of work you’ve done with a client?

We have one client, working in Luxembourg’s elderly care homes, for which we trained the entire management board on some concepts related to mindfulness at work. This was really useful to them because it helped them find the inner strength and perhaps the inner motivation to see why their work was important. Especially for caregivers, it’s important to learn to take care of their own wellbeing first, that it’s not selfish, but that they have to get the oxygen mask for themselves first before they can help others.

You’ve mentioned the impact of the pandemic. What are some other reasons why the topics of well-being and resilience are becoming more important to employers?

The problem, especially at the moment – my God we have a huge problem – is that a lot of companies feel like it can’t go on as it has been in the past months. Mental health concerns are prevalent everywhere, the risk of burnout is at an all-time high and companies are struggling to retain their employees.

So many are considering questions about how to make their employees’ lives easier again and increase employee retention. I think that there’s a real awareness by the management that they have to act now to improve the well-being of their employees.

Don’t many employees also quit their jobs because they think the “grass is greener on the other side”?

Actually, there are studies coming in from the US about all the people who left their jobs during Covid-19 and apparently up to 60% regret it now. I think it goes to show that most of the time when we are unsatisfied, we think that we have to change something about our external circumstances. 

And you sometimes it’s true, perhaps you really have a toxic boss and you have to get away from this. But I think for a lot of people, it’s also the internal stress and the internal pressure. And so when they change jobs, they are confronted with the same issues. This is something we tackle in our courses. 

You give courses on well-being, mindfulness and resilience, among others. How exactly do you tackle these with clients?

It really depends on what the problem is. So nowadays, companies are straightforward and usually just tell us the problem they have. But first, we get together and try to understand their needs and then we tailor one of our programmes to their specific requirements.

It’s important to know that we don’t do one-off courses. Usually, they take 6-8 weeks and the requirements can be as little as 1 hour per week with a bit of homework.

Do you implement any of your teachings in your own life?

Yes, of course. Everything we teach we practice ourselves. I meditate every day, I work on a lot of my thoughts. In our resilience programme, we work a lot on the thinking process, especially our negative thoughts.

When I was younger, I had a lot of problems with my physical and my mental health. And so I had to learn all these things for myself. And I think this is why I’m so passionate about this work because I saw how all the small changes impacted me and that we can all take more control over our own well-being and our thinking processes.

What do you use as the basis of your courses?

Our courses are based on courses developed at Oxford University. My colleague also recently trained with Harvard Medical School, in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and I trained in positive psychology, in resilience, and we are constantly learning new things.

For me, it’s important that all this is really based on science. So you know, it’s not some spiritual concept, it’s based on science and it is proven to change your brain.

What’s something you wish more people knew about mindfulness and well-being?

Oftentimes, we meet with managers – mostly male managers – who are perhaps reluctant at the beginning about topics such as mindfulness. But then when they go through the programme, we always find something that they would like to work out. And, like, the biggest surprise to all the groups all the time is almost 80% of people have problems sleeping but no one really discusses it with each other.

So when we come in, we kind of propose solutions to these issues and let people talk about them because having awareness about these things is an important start to improve the overall situation.

Lastly, who should get in touch with you?

Any CEO or CHRO who thinks they could benefit from more well-being at work, regardless of the industry. We are very happy with the change we are seeing on the market and are realising that this is really a global phenomenon. This is why we’re considering expanding to Switzerland soon too.

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