Sarah Montagne
Head of EU Regulatory Policy and Regulatory Affairs UK at Bayer

Connecting teams through challenging times

The Challenge – Struggling with workloads and isolation

Despite Bayer being recognised as a great workplace, an employee survey revealed people were grappling with heavy workloads and finding it difficult to maintain a positive work/life balance.

This struggle was not unique to the UK team but resonated across Regulatory teams in various countries. Sarah Montagne wanted to address this with her team and reached out to Sarah about running some workshops to try and combat these challenges.

WORKING IN ISOLATION

“A recent employee survey showed that people were struggling with their workloads and finding it hard to consistently achieve a positive work/life balance. This was noticeable across other country Regulatory teams as, not surprisingly, Regulatory Affairs is a very complex, highly regulated area of business – there are so many different systems, databases, and processes, and it can be hard to properly control the peaks and troughs of your workload.
I’d also started to notice that the people in my teams were working in an increasingly isolated way, as they were all dealing with such different projects.”

The Solution – A focus on resilience and well-being

In response to these challenges, Sarah led a resilience and wellbeing workshop. The goal was to address the workload issues, foster a positive team dynamic, and equip team members with tools to navigate the complexities of their roles. The workshop proved to be a genuinely fantastic session, with a positive shift in energy and mindset observed throughout the day.

Sarah’s focus on mindfulness, flourishing, and positive psychology contributed to increased empathy and connection within the team.

“It was a genuinely fantastic session! During the day people around the room were nodding their heads in recognition, and the dawning of understanding spread across their faces as Sarah spoke. The energy in the room was incredibly positive and people left feeling empowered to start doing things differently.

One of the biggest mindset changes for our whole team came by Sarah unpacking the ‘explorer model’ – i.e. moving people from feeling either like prisoners (having no voice and no choice) or tourists (happy but disengaged) to being in the role of ‘explorer’, where they feel positive, curious, and engaged in their work. It’s given us as a team a vocabulary and a common language to express our thoughts and challenge the way we operate, particularly in meetings.”

The Transformation – Building a positive team culture

Sarah’s infectious energy, sense of fun, and clear communication style played a crucial role in creating a positive and engaging workshop. The impact extended beyond the day, leading to a positive transformation in the team’s culture. Team members embraced the ‘explorer’ mindset, fostering curiosity and engagement in their work. The introduction of mindfulness and positive psychology not only improved individuals’ mindsets but also created a sense of collective support. Team members began encouraging each other, particularly during challenging times, and prioritising time for celebration and togetherness.

“Sarah has such a great energy and sense of fun – she’s friendly, kind, and funny, as well as being a very clear and engaging communicator. Plus, she just really knows her stuff.

Her focus on mindfulness, flourishing, and positive psychology has helped people become more empathetic and feel more connected. There’s a sense that people are now not just looking at how to preserve their own wellbeing but are encouraging each other as a team, particularly when the latest challenge hits.

We’re also mindful of taking time to celebrate our successes, both as individuals and as a team, and we’ve started having breakfast together every Wednesday to take time out whilst being together. It’s been really positive.”

Sarah Montagne also experienced personal growth becoming more aware of the need to prioritise self-care, for both personal benefit and for effectively managing and supporting the team.

PRIORITISING MYSELF

“Sarah has helped me as a leader to be more aware of needing to look after myself – not just for my own benefit but because of the impact it can have on my team. It’s been an interesting learning curve to see that sometimes prioritising my own well-being is actually the unselfish thing to do, as the more resilient I am the more capacity I have to look out for others and manage them effectively.
I’ve loved spending time with Sarah, and I know my team loved her too. I’d have her back anytime and can promise you that you won’t regret using her.”

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