Six years ago, Gemma and I sat on the sofa in our living room and came up with the name of our business. It was pretty tough too. What did we want the name to say about us? How would people feel when they heard it? We spent a while deliberating (almost as long as deciding the names of our kids) and came up with “Oakwood Training”.
Simple. Grounded and strong, honest and reliable but with room to grow as we did, both personally, professionally and as a business.
And then it was time for a logo. No need for a designer! Just a green crayon and a children’s colouring book so that I could copy the outline of an oak tree. Sorted.
But things have moved on. Quite considerably in fact.
We originally set out to be a conflict management and personal safety training company, because that was what I knew from my time as a specialist police trainer and martial arts instructor. But even in those early days the psychology of conflict was an ever-present feature of our programmes.
You see nothing triggers our internal survival mechanism quite like conflict. Whether that be as a manager having to address poor performance; a staff member having to calm an irate customer, or a teacher having to prevent harm to pupils when a young person lashes out in an emotion fuelled rage.
In these situations, it fairly obvious that our emotional wellbeing (as well as our physical) might take a knock.
But perhaps not so obvious is the employee who comes to work every day fearing a run in with someone on the team; or the home worker- geographically and emotionally isolated, or the shop floor worker walking past the 18 stone security guard at the main entrance before collecting their radio and body worn camera before they start the day.
Or maybe it’s not ‘work-related’ at all. Sometimes we only think of staff as ‘employees’ and fail to truly understand that they are people too. Some will have considerable challenges in their personal lives; money worries, having a caring role at home, or even physical or mental health problems.
The truth is, stressed and anxious people make bad decisions, and often don’t respond in the calm professional manner outlined in the ‘employee code of conduct’ on the intranet.
Absence goes up, 'presenteeism' goes up, complaints go up, losses go up and people leave.
We are extremely proud to be working with so many progressive and forward-thinking companies who, rather than thinking about mental health and personal safety in isolation, understand that they are fundamentally linked. Two parts of the same whole.
After all, happy, safe employees make better employees. Win-win.
We have grown into a provider of both mental health and personal safety programmes. We felt our branding needed to reflect the holistic nature of the work we do, and we think our splendid marketing partners have nailed the brief.
Our original oak tree has had a makeover. Drum roll please...
Here’s what the marketing people said (brace yourself…this bit’s a bit fluffy, sorry.)
In a nod to its predecessor, the ‘Leaf Green’ of the new logo symbolises the importance of nurturing and growth. The coloured leaves represent what we believe to be vital elements of thriving in the workplace, not just surviving.
The Sunset Orange of our ‘Oakwood Health’ sub-brand is all about energy, balance and positivity.
Terry is Director and Head of Training at Oakwood. He helps clients promote a proactive, rather than reactive approach to both personal safety and the positive mental health of their staff. He has over 12 years teaching experience in these areas, and advises organisations in the development of appropriate risk assessment and policy.