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Boosting employee wellbeing growth and engagement

Wilderness equips their people to Stay Strong

From humble beginnings in 1983 Wilderness is now Africa’s leading conservation and hospitality company, with over 3,000 passionate employees. With over 60 camps in eight countries, Wilderness views themselves as the ‘proud custodians of our planet’s most significant wild places, each chosen to be part of the Collection with a specific purpose, and all linked to protecting the land and the life that

exists there.’

Showing the same commitment to the wellbeing of their staff as to ensuring the ultimate safari experience for their guests, Wilderness made building the emotional fitness of their people a priority for 2023. Free To Grow’s Staying Strong programme and toolkit were identified as the ideal tools for this and will be rolled out to more than 3,000 Wilderness employees across all offices and camps.

Implementation happens in two phases. At each camp and office:

Phase 1: Around 20 employees, formal and informal leaders across all job levels, attend the full-day Staying Strong programme to equip them with the knowledge and skills to strengthen their own emotional, mental and physical wellbeing. These employees then attend the four-hour Help 2 Learn programme to familiarise them with the video-based toolkit and help them master the skills to use the step-by-step leader’s guide to facilitate wellbeing conversations with their teams.

Phase 2: The employees who have attended phase 1 use the Staying Strong toolkit to have wellbeing conversations with their teams. Using this cascading approach offers Wilderness a time and cost-effective way of reaching the large number of staff across the continent. The generic toolkit format of 15 weekly 30 mins conversations will be tailored to meet the needs of each region, without compromising the principles of regular conversations and deep connection that are key to the success of the toolkit.

Staying Strong was launched in Botswana in June, followed by Zambia/Zimbabwe. Next in line will be Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, and finally Rwanda.

Andrew McDonald, Wilderness Group HR Manager, who attended both the sessions in Botswana and the Zambezi, is ‘extremely excited’ about rolling out Staying Strong. He commented:

“Thank you for pouring your inspiration and encouragement into the cups of our people. The impact of Staying Strong has been beyond my expectations. I cannot wait to see how this valuable programme touches lives in all our regions.”

Mpho Mokaila, Wilderness DumaTau General Manager, who recently attended the programme

in Botswana, observed:

“The workshop was both empowering and rejuvenating. It restored a quality of existence for all participants, giving us a renewed focus – on both a personal and professional level. Thank you to the HR Team for organising this initiative and affording us the opportunity to be better versions of ourselves, and providing a support structure for those around us.”

Above left: Mpho Mokaila, DamuTau GM, experiencing one of the energising connecting activities during Staying Strong. Right: The Zambezi group.


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