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Julie has worked for the company since 2012 and is based in the UK. She received her 2020 Knauf Insulation Leadership Award for championing new initiatives to support the mental well-being of colleagues and increase awareness of mental health issues.

Julie McKean
I like the fact that leaders at Knauf Insulation are all approachable to any employee and always offering support.
Julie McKean

What do you think contributes to leadership success?

Key to leadership success is ensuring that you work alongside your team and provide them with the confidence and ability to operate effectively within their roles. This means ensuring good communication and having the ability to trust your team through delegation. I also feel it is important to show empathy and make sure that you are approachable.

What qualities do you admire in Knauf Insulation leaders?

I admire the fact that they are all approachable to any employee within the business and are always offering support. I also find it encouraging that they allow others to make their own decisions and are fully supportive.

What advice would you share with a new colleague to help them thrive at Knauf Insulation?

No single day is the same, so the experience of working within a fast paced organisation stands you in good stead. Team work is a key factor at Knauf Insulation and it’s something that often gets referred to in our annual employee survey so experience of working within a team environment and willing to contribute to a team is important.

We also have a strong culture of Continuous Improvement within our region and we are always looking for employees who have previous experience of working within a similar environment or who are fully engaged with Continuous Improvement.

What do you see as your greatest achievement at Knauf Insulation and why?

Launching the Time to Change pledge in 2018 has been my biggest achievement to date due to the impact it has had on our workforce. Since I joined in 2012 the number of people being absent due to a mental health-related condition was on the increase and as a team it was something we needed to address. The Time to Change pledge is a social movement which looks to beat the stigma associated with mental health within the work place and this was something as a region we also wanted to combat.

Since signing the pledge we have recruited Employee Champions and trained Mental Health First Aiders in all parts of our business which allows employees to talk to fellow workers rather than line managers or HR, which at times people feel uncomfortable doing. It also shows that their colleagues are looking out for them as well and noticing if they are not quite themselves.

We have also trained all line managers in Managing Good Mental Health to encourage conversations regarding mental wellbeing and understanding what support and resources are available. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from our employees regarding our work and we will continue to build on this.

Which leadership quote resonates with you and why?

"Manufacturing legend Henry Ford: “Don’t find fault, find a remedy.”
The quote really resonates from the time when we noticed absence rates at Knauf Insulation Northern Europe were increasing due to mental health conditions and we pledged to beat the stigma associated with mental health within the workplace. This involved looking at what support we had in place internally for employees and ensuring managers had a full understanding of managing good mental health within the workplace.