With the deadline for this year’s Security Serious Unsung Heroes nominations rapidly approaching, our Gurus spoke to Christine Gordon-Bennett, Manager Cybersecurity Awareness at Nedbank, who was last year’s winner of the Wellbeing Advocate Award. We asked her about the importance of leading by example, what she’s been up to in the year since her win, and what makes a good wellbeing advocate.
Why is it important that cybersecurity leaders take a stance on wellbeing?
Gordon-Bennett says: “It’s important for leaders to recognise the pressures people have been, and continue to be, under. Stress factors like remote working, financial difficulties due to a struggling economy, crime, the power crisis and some crazy weather conditions have had a huge impact on employee’s wellbeing and their mental health.”
She continues: “As you know, when you’re stressed, you aren’t thinking clearly, you battle to pay attention and easily make mistakes. Talking to employees and acknowledging what they are going through goes a long way to gaining their trust and getting them to listen to what you have to say. By getting them to understand WHY they make mistakes, i.e. clicking on a malicious link in an email because it triggered an emotional reaction, is a great way to teach them about social engineering and how fraudsters trick us with their scams.”
“At the end of the day, if employees feel that their wellbeing matters to the organisation, their levels of engagement will increase with you as a leader.”
Since her win, Gordon-Bennett hasn’t stopped championing wellbeing. In fact, she’s continued to be a trailblazer for wellbeing in the industry, going above and beyond to help her peers. She’s:
- Set up roadshows and face-to-face interactions with employees
- Held webinars with external experts
- Spoken to employees about various healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress, burnout, etc.
- Rolled out video content for employees to easily access
- Introduced wellbeing and productivity app The Zensory for employee use on their desktops and mobile devices
When it comes to being a wellbeing advocate, Gordon-Bennett says it’s all about passion: “passion for all things cyber. Passion for people and understanding what makes them tick.”
She continues: “It’s also about looking at alternative ways to get staff to learn and participate, and ultimately getting them to change their online behaviour.”
But where should organisations start? Gordon-Bennett gave our Guru’s three tips:
- Engage with HR and see how you can collaborate with them to incorporate your messaging, or how you can create your own campaign piggy backing off theirs.
- Get Executive level buy in.
- Make friends with the Communications and Marketing Teams to ensure you get the airtime you need.
The nominations for this year’s Unsung Heroes Awards close this Friday, 15th September, 2023, at 5pm BST. You can nominate here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdwjKSQbeVcOmVmOsrj7KAC0tC6gcd96PUkhAEHRZGvIHDnVw/viewform
Why should you nominate a Wellness Advocate? “Cybersecurity is a BIG deal and so are people’s wellbeing and mental health. If you are bringing the two together and implementing something positive to shift culture. YOU’RE A WINNER!” says Gordon-Bennett.
You can look at all the categories here: Unsung Heroes Award – Security Serious