Whytematter: Why wellbeing matters in recruitment and HR


Latest jobs

  • Whytematter is a Northern Ireland-based staffing solutions company aiming to stand out from the normal humdrum of recruitment and HR.

    The business is named aptly after the white matter in our brains, which enables brain cells to quickly send and receive messages. Whytematter wants to make likewise connections and communications in the world of employment.

    The business was founded by Kirsty McDowell and Mairead Moore, two young mothers and working professionals who say they understand the difficulty in striking a balance between one’s personal life and career.

    The business has recently achieved a place on the tenth intake of the Ulster Bank Accelerator programme, for which the ladies had to perform a 60 second pitch. In this time, they explained how Mairead became obsessed with the physiology of the brain after suffering a brain aneurysm in 2015.

    Kirsty talked about how the UK recruitment industry was worth £33b in 2018, yet 15.4 million working days were lost between 2017 and 2018 due to stress related sickness.

    These figures, which were released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at the time, equates to 57.3% of the entire 26.8 million work days which were lost then to ill health.

    Whytematter thus states that they develop and promote wellbeing practices, and ways of working which will support the retention of the best talent.

    With a combined 15 years of experience across various countries, Mairead and Kirsty say they now know that the industry needs something different and progressive to move with the times.

    Keeping up with modern movements, they have recently created a wellbeing app to improve company culture, which they claim will increase output and therefore boost profitability.

    Named KITE, it was originally developed as ‘KITE for Mums’ by Mairead’s long-term friend in New Zealand, Hannah Hardy Jones, who designed it as a wellbeing app for new mothers.

    Hannah has achieved global success, and the app is now available as a tech solution, specifically tailored for business.

    Kirsty and Maired told Sync NI: “As two mums, we want to change the perception around working patterns. Our children deserve mothers they can brag about.

    “We understand more than anyone how important the need is to bend but not break in a busy ever-changing sector.”

    After the traumatic birth of her first child in 2014, and then suffering a brain aneurysm in 2015, Mairead said that her “perfect existence started to unravel along with my sense of self.

    Mairead Moore

    “I needed additional support at work to cope with my personal situation as well as my heightened anxiety, my work goals and aspirations had realigned, and I needed the help to understand what these changes were and the impact they were having on my life.

    “Now I understand when developing anyone professionally, no matter their rank or role, to get the best from them you need to understand and get to know all aspects and provide tools to deal with the mental challenges that a busy work and personal life can deliver.”

    She added that at Whytematter they offer both coaching and digital tools to support teams and individuals, and also develop talent pools for those wishing to make career changes.

    Kirsty discussed how she has a very supportive husband, William, a crazy toddler, a miniature Jack Russell and a horse that she regularly competes in show jumping with: “So yes, my life can be pretty full on sometimes but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

    Kirsty McDowell

    She continued: “Whytematter came about after multiple discussions with Mairead and we thought, why not?! Life is too short to wonder about the ‘what ifs’. I feel like I am living my work dream, working with my amazing business partner and trying to be successful whilst being flexible for my family.

    “I believe everything happens for a reason and we get where we are supposed to be in life all in good time.”

    Visit for more info or e-mail

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

    Got a news-related tip you’d like to see covered on Sync NI? Email the editorial team for our consideration.

    Sign up now for a FREE weekly newsletter showcasing the latest news, jobs and events in NI’s tech sector.

Share this story