60-second interview with Gail McCourt

Gail McCourt, 28/3/2018

Gail McCourt is Head of Fiduciary Management, RBC Wealth Management International, Jersey. 

Can you tell us about your role at RBC?

I head the RBC Wealth Management Fiduciary Management team for the British Isles. Our team helps private clients with inter-generational wealth transfer and charitable giving. We cover diverse assets and business interests, and pride ourselves on knowing our clients, their families and assets. These often span multiple jurisdictions.

RBC has an active approach to diversity and inclusion, and as part of that, I chair our People with Disabilities Group.

You're speaking at the STEP EPP Spring Forum – Mental health in the workplace: Breaking the silence in May. Why do you think it’s important for businesses to support their staff's mental health and wellbeing?

Health and wellbeing at work is essential to ensure higher levels of productivity, lower absence and presenteeism, and talent retention.

At RBC we actively promote wellbeing for our staff, tackling the causes of work-related mental health problems, and supporting those experiencing mental health problems. This enables us to keep people at work, and support them to perform at their best.

What do you think are the key strategies necessary to build a wellbeing programme?

I believe that there are three key conditions:

  • Having the right ethos and tone from the top – this needs to be a business imperative.
  • Understanding that we are a people business, and our talent is what drives success.
  • Ensuring that managers recognise individuals' needs and aspirations, and connect them to the work of the team and the organisation.

It's worth remembering John Ruskin's quote on the possible outcomes of the Industrial Revolution, written in 1851, ‘In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: they must be fit for it, they must not do too much of it, and they must have a sense of success in it’. With the digital revolution underway, this is still of paramount importance.

You recently won a silver award as part of the Mind Workplace Wellbeing Initiative. What do you think are the key features that led to this success?

We started our focus on wellbeing and resilience in 2015 and developed a plan to support our activities, which led to our participation in the inaugural Mind Workplace Wellbeing Index.

We now offer staff a number of resources, including an employee assistance programme, mental health first aiders, internal peer-to-peer support via social media, wellness fairs and other events, access to therapy dogs, Mind lunch & learns, and a RBC blueprint for mental health and resilience.

And what do you plan to focus on in order to develop your provision still further?

The Mind Workplace Wellbeing Index feedback provides great insight and guidance for us, but we need to get better at delivering what we've planned, and ensuring that colleagues reap the benefits.

What do you most like about your job?

Working with a talented, motivated and professional team of trustees, and the constant variety that each day brings.

.. and what do you feel is most worthwhile?

Achieving great results through engaged, collaborative and successful teams, led by emotionally-intelligent people who trust their staff, and focus on output not input.

How would you encourage a young person starting out on their career to manage stress and build personal resilience?

Everyone is different, but it’s worth bearing these in mind:

  • Take time out for yourself – you’ll be more productive and happier if you make time to relax and recharge.
  • Share any stress. Having someone to talk to will help stop you getting overwhelmed.
  • Socialise with colleagues, friends and family outside work to keep a sense of perspective, and keep your sense of humour.

Gail McCourt is Head of Fiduciary Management for RBC Wealth Management in the British Isles. She chairs RBC’s People with Disabilities group. She has been listed in Citywealth’s IFC Power Women Top 200, and in 2016 was given the Citywealth Woman of the Year: Business Services Award. Gail won a MIND Senior Leader Award in 2018.