Olympic Delivery Authority HR team under pressure to improve work-life balance and limit risk of staff burn-out


The rush to build the 2012 Olympics infrastructure is giving the project’s HR team a headache controlling long working hours and the risk of employee burn-out, it has revealed.

Wendy Cartwright, head of HR at the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), told Personnel Today that improving work-life balance for employees was a priority for the HR team.

“Working hours are not brilliant,” she said. “We have good flexible working policies, but the reality is that a deadline is looming, and pressure to get things done means people are sometimes working long hours.

“A couple of individuals have had support from HR when they have needed it. It might be that there are issues outside of work, but we need to pay more attention to that. We must make sure people don’t burn out.”

Cartwright took the top people management job at the ODA a week after the body was set up in April last year to develop the infrastructure for the 2012 Games.

“The first year has been quite successful,” she said. “[The HR team] has hit all its milestones – the setting of performance management frameworks, appraisal systems, bonus schemes and so on.”

The coming 12 months will see the department move on to more strategic issues, turning its attention to the ODA’s culture, leadership and employment brand, according to Cartwright. Employee engagement and wellbeing will also be addressed.

“[ODA chief executive] David Higgins is immensely impressive and he sees HR as critical,” she said. “He knows HR is important and he gives it the weight it deserves.”

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