Welcome to our Little Black Book, an inspirational series of business stories and insights from our brilliant members.

Becky Davis

Becky Davis on prioritising people

By Becky Davis

Founder- Fantastic People

What’s clear from Becky Davis’ positive outlook on life and business is that above all else she believes in the potential of people.

At 19, Becky spent a year living and working in the States, and on her return initiated a 22-year career in telecoms and IT which included working for one of the BBC’s Dragons – an entrepreneurial environment in which her go-getter charisma thrived – and culminated in a significant role at Virgin Media Business.

Influenced by personal experience and some timely guidance providing her with a new perspective, Becky changed direction and trained to become an academically and professionally accredited coach, establishing her own wellbeing business Fantastic People.

Connect on LinkedIn

Your passion for wellbeing has inspired you to establish Fantastic People, what's the concept?

The Fantastic People concept is about ensuring organisations keep their people productive and resilient with a tried and tested wellbeing framework. It's not fluffy wellbeing approaches that are nice to have, it’s evidence-based methods that work in the real world.

The focus is very much that every employee has different wellbeing needs, and how to meet those individual needs with impact, at scale and within a reasonable budget is a challenge for many organisations.

There are four solutions within the framework: subscription coaching which disrupts the commercial model that is usually associated with coaching, wellbeing workshops, lunchtime learns which are short sessions but with high impact, and a new digital wellbeing course focused on a preventative approach to poor wellbeing because that’s where the greatest return on investment is.

I believe in creating lasting change and my coaching attitude and approach creates the foundation for a sustainable culture of emotional wellbeing that encourages a workplace where individuals thrive and contribute to a positive and supportive environment.

Do you want more articles like this in your inbox? If so then register below...

What can people expect from your new digital course?

The participants can expect a fun and thought-provoking course whilst also engaging in interactive group coaching sessions led by experienced facilitators.

It’s also about personal development and knowing yourself better – understanding why some days you have great days, and why some days you have those not-so-great days and using that awareness to know how to have more of the great days.

I designed the course from the ground up and specifically with outcomes in mind. I use pre- and post-course assessments that provide qualitative feedback and help to measure improvements in emotional wellbeing, resilience, and productivity.

From the participant perspective they can except expert insights, personalised outcomes, and peer support, which creates a community focused on shared growth.

And from an organisation perspective they’ll be equipping their employees with the skills to have great mental wellbeing and reducing costs associated with poor mental wellbeing such as presenteeism, absenteeism, attrition, low productivity, low morale etc.

There’s also a self-study version that provides a really budget friendly version, it’s minus the group coaching but there is still heaps of value and impact.

Can you give us some examples of your clients and how you’re helping them?

I’ve had so many interesting clients over the past few years including individuals from a philanthropy background, UNICEF representatives, research academics, financial advisors, business owners and many more.

I’m a preferred supplier for Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Fire and Rescue, Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire Police. I have worked on projects with global clients in sectors that range from banking software to location technology and still have clients in the energy and construction sector. As well as my core framework you’ll find me running various workshops on topics such Manager as Coach and Resilience or individual 121 coaching with a focus on performance and wellbeing.

I also enjoy working with HR teams on their own wellbeing because they are often so busy looking after everyone’s else wellbeing they can forget about their own!

It’s a broad selection of clients and sectors but there is one common theme, and that is an understanding that a resilient and emotionally well team is a more productive team. My clients also understand that being proactive to their team’s wellbeing needs increases their return on investment and is far less costly than a reactive approach to poor wellbeing.

"The most valuable thing people can do is to give other people time because we live in such a hurry-up world."

Are there common wellbeing challenges and opportunities that businesses face?

Absolutely. The latest Deloitte report yet again has a focus on presenteeism being the main challenge because technology allows people to appear to be working, but not necessarily be productive.

It’s more of a challenge than absenteeism which has dropped because people don’t have to take the time off anymore, they’re already at home. For those not familiar with the term, presenteeism is defined as attending work in spite of illness which can be mental or physical health but ultimately means an employee is not performing at full capability.

Most individuals either always or most of the time go to work when they have poor mental health even though they would benefit from time off. The statistics are worth considering – average days lost per year is about 30 days per employee so if you translate that into a month’s salary, benefits, impact of colleagues picking up additional work etc then it’s not surprise it’s costing the UK economy about £28bn pa.

The report goes further to state for every £1 that you would invest in a proactive manner, there’s a £5 return, and that can increase up to a £11 return when interventions are focused on prevention or designed to build employee resilience, offer a large‑scale culture change, or organisation‑wide initiatives supporting large numbers of employees.

The opportunity comes from not only being able to support employees in the workplace but the wider societal impact of having employees that are able to feel good and function well most days. It’s the halo effect of great wellbeing that will be felt throughout the organisation and far beyond.

Are there any simple changes that businesses and individuals can make to improve their wellbeing on a day-to-day basis?

Definitely. The most valuable thing people can do is to give other people time because we live in such a hurry-up world.

As an account manager in my early career, I was responsible for the British Racing Drivers Club at Silverstone and the Chairman, Roger Lane-Nott, who having been responsible for 1000’s of people in a previous role in the navy gave me some advice. He said to me that the most valuable thing you can do for people is give them your time, even if that’s just five minutes, so they feel seen and heard. Those words of wisdom stayed with me, and I found them to be absolutely true – I believe it really is one of the most valuable, impactful, and human things you can do.

The other thing is do what’s important to you which again sounds really simple, but it is so easy to lose sight of what is actually important in a world of distraction. I have great values exercise I share with people to help them figure this out, and when they do there are many lightbulb moments!

"The latest Deloitte report talks all about presenteeism being the main challenge because technology allows people to show up, but not be productive.”"

Becky Davis- Founder, Fantastic People

What issues aren’t being talked about as much as they should be?

I think the most important thing for organisations to note is that 49% of people will not talk or speak up in the work environment. So how do you have that conversation about what might be stopping them being the best version of themselves in work? I believe the solution is external wellbeing partners where trust can be built for them to share, reflect and move forward.

Another interesting piece of research is about how there is a drive to encourage men to talk but actually the outcomes are far less impactful than when encouraging women to talk. It links into the findings that everyone will have individual needs so a broad and varied approach, offered by internal and external sources is needed most.

Is there anybody that has inspired you, and what have you learned from them?

Back in 2010, I went to see a counsellor who I describe as the person who changed everything without changing anything. She couldn’t change what has happened but just having the space to talk, share and reflect gave me a perspective I didn’t know was possible.

It was my experience with her that initiated my career change. At the outset I trained to become a counsellor which gave me renewed self-awareness and emotional intelligence as well as a thorough grounding in a broad range of psychological theories. It’s partly what I believes differentiates me and enables me to hold the space I do as a coach.

I learned that contentment comes from doing what you truly love, and I feel lucky being able to love what I do!

How do you look after your own wellbeing?

Coming into 2024 I’m in a great place. I run, I strength train, and I’ve promised myself that I’m going to get back into my horse riding this year. Not that I am counting but there are 6 school summer holidays left to take my son on some adventures, Canada, Costa Rica, New Zealand are all on the list, and I get really excited thinking about and planning our trips.

I give back too by supporting a charity called Mind Over Mountains and it’s some of my favourite work. We take people that wouldn’t usually have access to coaches or counsellors out into nature on walks and retreats. We introduce them to mindfulness and facilitate a great day or weekend, with great people and in great locations around the UK.

I also look after my gut! Our gut microbiome has been under the spotlight for many years but more recently the body of research shows looking after our gut is an essential part to looking after our mental wellbeing. Gut microbes can produce most of the neurotransmitters found in the human brain, including serotonin, which plays a key role in regulating mood and therefore how we feel on a daily basis. If you haven’t heard of Chuckling Goat I suggest checking out!