Personnel Today Awards 2015 winners: Arup judged best for Health and Wellbeing

Arup collect their Health and Wellbeing Award
Arup collect their Health and Wellbeing Award in 2015.

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Engineering and professional services firm Arup won the Award for Health and Wellbeing, sponsored by Investors in People, at this week’s Personnel Today Awards. Here we showcase its winning entry and those of the other finalists.

Award for Health and Wellbeing – the judges

Lawrence Mitchell, Global Marketing Director and Head of Living Well Team, RBI
Eugene Farrell, Employee Assistance Professionals Association
Noel O’Reilly, Editor, Occupational Health and Wellbeing

WINNER

Arup

About the organisation

Arup is an independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists offering a broad range of professional services. Its structural designs include the Sydney Opera House and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

The challenge

A review of Arup’s UK benefits strategy in 2011 showed a disproportionate expenditure on reactive healthcare services. In addition, there was a disjointed relationship between HR, business leaders and occupational health in addressing workplace healthcare needs. More seriously, the firm had no means of gauging whether or not it was receiving a good return on its healthcare investment.

What the organisation did

  • Appointed AXA PPP in 2013 to become a one-stop-shop to deliver a comprehensive and integrated range of OH and employee engagement services.
  • Included private medical insurance (PMI), health assessments, management referrals, compliance medicals, drug and alcohol testing, all accessible via a unique Arup One Number helpline.
  • Engaged directly with all employees through the Arup Health Gateway, which offers resources such as a personal health risk assessment tool and remote health coach adviser, totally funded by the firm.
  • Led the way in its sector by championing the Public Health Responsibility Deal (a national initiative to improve public health). As a founder member, it has helped the NHS to develop the first Construction Pledge. Underpinning this programme has been an innovative Wellness Intelligence Dashboard, which provides trend analyses on the programme in order to evaluate its effectiveness.

Benefits and achievements

  • Employee registrations with the Employee Gateway have led to more than two-thirds of employees being actively engaged in improving their wellbeing.
  • Health and wellbeing has climbed from seventh to the third highest perceived employee engagement factor.
  • Direct health and wellbeing costs have been reduced by 18% in the past year.
  • The healthcare plan costs one-third less than the corporate average. Just over 1,800 (52%) employees have attended one type of health assessment in the last year, while 103 health risks have been removed from the business at a saving of around £300,000.
  • Arup’s average Health Age Score is 0.5 years younger than its actual age, which is 3.2 years younger than AXA’s PPP client portfolio (Health Age Calculator on the Health Gateway).
  • The 2014 enrolment in health-related flexible benefits has increased by one-third on the previous year, including dental and critical illness. Core membership of the healthcare plan has risen from 90% to 96%.
  • New flexible working guidelines and holiday policies have been introduced to facilitate work-life balance, and healthy outcomes are appreciated by 71% of employees (Arup TRS Survey – June 2014).
  • Sickness absence has reduced from 5.7% to 4.3% in 18 months.
  • Wellbeing has been incorporated into the global three-year people strategy, which will apply to every employee in its operations spanning 37 countries.

Judges’ comments

“Excellent programme with a wide reach and engagement levels.”


RUNNERS-UP

Aimia

About the organisation

Aimia is a global leader in loyalty management, offering a full suite of capabilities including: analytics and insight; channel and employee engagement; and event management. It launches and run loyalty programmes for large global brands, one of the famous being the Nectar loyalty programme in the UK.

The challenge

Aimia is always striving for a healthier, happier and more productive workforce. The challenge was to improve wellbeing tangibly for every employee. With employee engagement survey data showing that employees were highly engaged and committed, the lowest-scoring area was perceived wellbeing.

What the organisation did 

  • Improved maternity and paternity leave policies to offer additional leave on full pay.
  • Designed psychological detachment training – a day-long course, teaching employees how to detach from their work.
  • Launched a self-efficacy course to build confidence in employees to help them get the best out of themselves at work.
  • Led regular health-focused weeks featuring: free gym access; massages; allergy testing; flu jabs; blood pressure and cholesterol checks; and healthy eating workshops.
  • Promoted cycling activities via the Aimia Cycle Club and created an on-site gym, with preferential rates.
  • Switched to a new office layout and way of working. Employees no longer have fixed desks as Aimia introduced new furniture arrangements (soft, stylish booths, kitchen-style tables, standing meeting desks).
  • Offered employees a wide range of ways to get involved in charity work. All employees are entitled to take one day a year (a Common Good Day) to volunteer.

Benefits and achievements

  • Feedback from employees is positive and encouraging.
  • Feedback on the psychological detachment training: “Honestly, this training changed my life. I now go home on time and switch-off, knowing that it is the best thing for my wellbeing and it will help me be better at my work.”
  • The number of attendees/participants in all the initiatives far exceeds the total number of employees, demonstrating that Aimia has reached out and given employees the tools they need to take charge of their own wellbeing and thrive in the workplace.

Judges’ comments

“Imaginative comprehensive programme integrated with company culture – it will be interesting to see the impact on the organisation in future.”


Barclays Bank

About the organisation

Barclays is a 300-year-old British multinational banking and financial services company based in London. It has operations in more than 50 countries and territories and has around 48 million customers.

The challenge

Barclays Personal and Corporate Bank was formed in 2014 resulting in significant change for colleagues, underpinned by the embedding of a new cultural approach via the Barclays’ Values. These changes led the senior leadership across the organisation to thoughtfully consider colleague support and wellbeing for the immediate and the long term.

What the organisation did

  • Created a sustainable culture of wellness built around four key pillars of physical, emotional, social and financial health.
  • Launched a Barclays Wellness Portal in June 2014, ensuring colleagues have easy access to wellness resources and information with a 24/7 one-stop-shop accessible at work, home and on the move.
  • Complemented the Wellness Portal with a Wellness “MySite”, an internal interactive area for colleagues to connect, share, have fun and support each other.
  • Led “Ask the Expert” sessions on topics such as mortgages, the London Marathon and Dementia Friends.
  • Produced a domestic abuse support and information section on the Wellness Portal.
  • Promoted the “couch-to-5k” scheme – and created a virtual running club on the wellness MySite.
  • Launched a unique colleague offer to purchase a Fitbit Flex fitness wristband at 50% discount, with 500 bought.

Benefits and achievements

  • To date over 24,000 colleagues have accessed the Wellness Portal, which has had over 75,000 hits.
  • The UK Wellness Portal is now being taken forward as the Global Barclays PLC platform.
  • The “One Small Stepathon” has taken place – more than 30,000 Barclays Wellness branded pedometers were delivered to colleagues and more than 68m steps were recorded in throughout the competition.
  • Savings of £20,000 realised through colleagues purchasing more than 500 discounted Fitbits.
  • There have been over 75 onsite health events – with over 5,000 attendees, of which 99% would recommend the events; and 89% feel supported by Barclays in terms of their wellness.
  • More than eight in ten (82%) of colleagues planned to make positive changes to their wellbeing following an event they had attended.
  • Importantly, a number of colleagues were advised to visit their doctor as their health assessment highlighted a potentially serious condition.

Judges’ comments

“Some great creative ways of engaging employees to take care of themselves.”


Cafcass

About the organisation

Formed in 2001, Cafcass is the largest employer of social workers in the UK. It is a non-departmental public body that safeguards and promotes the welfare of children; gives advice to family courts; makes provision for children to be represented and provides information, advice and support to children and their families from one of 42 offices in England.

The challenge

In 2010, Cafcass was declared by the Public Accounts Committee as “not fit for purpose,” while in 2008/2009, sickness levels had peaked at 16.2 days per social worker per year. Research in 2014 indicated that: 80% of social workers believe the pressure they are facing is impacting their ability to perform their job; 97% said they were moderately or very stressed; and 90% say society undervalues work of social workers.

What the organisation did

  • Built a new eHR system, which allowed Cafcass to analyse sickness absence data by team, allowing bespoke and targeted wellbeing interventions to be made.
  • Made Cafcass a flexible organisation. Lightweight 4G-enabled laptops/tablets, BlackBerrys, electronic case files with hand writing recognition allow staff to work from anywhere they chose.
  • Introduced an employer-funded health plan, allowing staff to access optical/dental care; health screenings; discounted gym membership; therapies such as physiotherapy/acupuncture; consultations/diagnostic tests; inoculations; and Medicash Extras, providing discounts at over 600 high-street retailers.
  • Commissioned health and wellbeing specialists to provide seminars on achieving high energy through positive lifestyle habits such as nutrition, sleep, exercise, resilience, and mindfulness.
  • Introduced an employee assistance programme, offering individuals eight face-to-face counselling sessions each year, including cognitive behavioural therapy.
  • Appointed health and wellbeing champions in every office at Cafcass. These acted as a local source of information on the health and wellbeing resources.
  • Organised a national charity cycle ride. At least one event took place in every geographic area, ensuring that all staff could easily access it, and over 160 employees rode a total of 3,600 miles, raising £6,500 for charity.

Benefits and achievements

  • Sickness rates have reduced 46% from 16.2 days per person in 2009/10 to 8.8 days per person in 2014/15.
  • Almost all (93%) staff said they have implemented at least one recommendation in relation to their wellbeing after a session with a qualified specialist, and 96.5% said their session was good or excellent.
  • Stress-related sickness absence among social workers has fallen 60% from 2009/10 to 2014/15, adding 5,514 working days to Cafcass.
  • More than eight in ten (81%) staff now say the organisation cares about their health and wellbeing (Independent Ofsted Staff Survey 2014).
  • Staff productivity has increased from 2011/12 to 2014/15, providing a quicker resolution to cases and stability for the vulnerable children that Cafcass works with.
  • Reduced sickness costs has meant more resources can be directed towards frontline practice and work with children – currently 93% of the budget.
  • Cafcass realised its objective in April 2014 of being assessed as Good with Outstanding Leadership by Ofsted.
  • Introduction of flexible working has saved approximately 105,000 hours per year of frontline social work, while 94% of staff work remotely at least once a month.

Judges’ comments

“A wellbeing programme has helped transform the organisation from one in a critical condition to an effective functioning service.”


Chelsea & Westminster Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

About the organisation

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust operates Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and West Middlesex University Hospital, as well as sexual health and HIV clinics across London. It has 5,000 staff caring for nearly one million people.

The challenge

The financial situation in the NHS has led to a cycle of challenges regarding staff wellbeing and morale. Staff need support due to tighter resources and heavier workloads. However, it is more difficult for organisations to provide this support due to restrictions on funding. Equally, when the support is provided, it is difficult for staff to make the most of what is on offer due to heavy workloads and time restrictions. 

What the organisation did

  • Made a conscious effort to encourage staff to take care of themselves and ensure they have a good work-life balance;
  • Created a health and wellbeing strategy and committee to focus on this topic, this has enabled the organisation to make staff feel valued and appreciated.
  • Ran “Schwartz Rounds”; monthly forums where staff can discuss their feelings and emotions around challenges they have faced as healthcare professionals.
  • Led a one-day communications training course called Great Expectations. The training provided managers with the tools to handle difficult situations; improve team working; understand how their communication methods affect others and; understand how other peoples’ communications methods affect them.
  • Hosted National Work Life Balance Week.
  • Took part in National Stress Awareness Day. Promoted stress coping methods to staff and gave out stress dots, which are a fun method of measuring stress levels.
  • Organised Health MOTs for staff, massages and mindfulness sessions and healthy lifestyle talks. Massages took place in specific departments as opposed to the hospital in general. This meant that particularly busy areas such as A&E were able to benefit.
  • Endorsed multi-faith and carers networks within the Trust to support staff.

Benefits and achievements

  • The first 11 Schwartz Rounds were attended by almost 700 staff, and 75%  rated the rounds “exceptional” or “excellent”, while 21% rated them “good”. Ninety-five percent of attendees said that the open discussion was helpful and 88% stated that the rounds would help them work better with colleagues.
  • According to the annual staff survey, Chelsea and Westminster is in the top 20% of NHS Trusts for engagement.
  • Sickness rates for 2014/2015 were well within target (3.23% for March 2015).
  • The Trust is a proud Stonewall Health Champion and is benchmarked as one of the top employers for working families according to the charity Working Families.

Judges’ comments

“An approach that recognises the need to address management culture as well as health and lifestyle.”


E.ON

About the organisation

E.ON is of the UK’s leading power and gas companies – generating electricity, and retailing power and gas. It is part of the E.ON group, one of the world’s largest investor-owned power and gas companies. It employs around 12,000 people in the UK and more than 79,000 worldwide.

The challenge

In 2013, 3,718 days were lost to mental health issues at a cost of £574,000 (or 27% of absence). There were approximately 1,500 calls through to the employee assistance helpline and 10% of those required face-to-face emotional support. In 2014, it was therefore evident that a health focus had to be mental health.

What the organisation did 

  • Devised “Headshed”. A 6×4 ft shed travelled round main corporate sites with support from occupational health advisers and an EAP provider offering advice and support.
  • Created an OH blog, which allowed the team to be open and honest and use a different language from corporate speak. Staff really engaged in simple messages of ‘it’s time to talk’ and the workforce disclosed personal experiences and asked for help.
  • Dedicated May 2014 to talking about mental health. Each day there was an event, an article or blog released. For the first time, E.ON set out its aims to combat stigma and provide a working environment that was open and caring.
  • Approached national campaign “Time To Change”, and signed its organisational pledge. The company signposts their campaigns and uses their expertise and understanding of mental health stigma.
  • Developed a multimedia mental health campaign including: online content; leaflets; roadshows; face-to- face meetings; audio downloads; and training events. For home workers, information was posted out to all 3,000 staff.

Benefits and achievements

  • Organisation is seeing an energy and trust for a health campaign at all levels of E.ON on a level not seen before.
  • People are proud to be ambassadors of change and the organisation continues to keep mental health on the board-level agenda.
  • Funds are in place to deliver mental-health specific training to all managers.
  • Colleagues are more open and honest and willing to disclose their issues; managers are more equipped to manage and everyone has a joint commitment to supporting each other.
  • Referrals into occupational health are of a better quality and more appropriate, thus saving time and effort in having to deflect inappropriate or incomplete referrals, which has a direct impact on an OH adviser’s time and costs to the business.
  • Morale markedly increased in certain areas and there has been an increased focus on return-to-work interviews, completion of stress risk assessments and utilisation of the managers’ helpline.

Judges’ comments

“Innovative programme with high levels of engagement. This will surely yield great results for the organisation.”


Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

About the organisation

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council is one of the largest councils in the country with a population of over 314,000. Excluding school-based staff, the council employs approximately 4,500 people who provide a wide range of services for residents and businesses.

The challenge

The council places a high value on the health of its staff. But when it started to face unprecedented budget cuts, it realised it needed to minimise the impact of these cuts and be able to face the huge challenges ahead as employees needed to be “happy, healthy and here at work”.

What the organisation did 

  • Embarked on an ambitious initiative aimed at having a major impact on employee wellbeing “Taking control – your health, your future”.
  • Formed and developed an overarching action plan which included: working in partnership with Public Health, sharing information and resources; developing an effective communication and marketing strategy; a dedicated health and wellbeing intranet site; researching organisational and national sickness absence data; and planning employee wellbeing events.
  • Created a wellbeing team. This enabled occupational health, health and safety and a wellbeing officer to work as a cohesive unit to drive forward the existing agenda and build in extra momentum.
  • Led the following health schemes: wattbikes – an engagement exercise where employees test their cycling skills and receive on-site cycle training; healthy passport – employees have a passport where they gain points for all the sessions they attend with a prize for the healthiest employee and healthiest directorate; and Charity Stomp –a walk with proceeds being donated to charities.
  • Undertook a “MYZONE” pilot, which uses wireless and cloud technology that accurately monitors physical activity. It collects data on heart rate, calories and time converting into MYZONE effort points, with a focus upon rewarding effort rather than fitness.

Benefits and achievements

  • More than 1,200 employees attended the events. Turnout for 2014/15 sickness absence has placed Sandwell third-lowest for absence in the Midlands region and one of only two authorities in the region that has reduced absence rates.
  • Estimated cost saving, as a result of a reduction in working days lost, is approximately £200,000.
  • Total weight loss by employees is almost 30 stone.
  • 800 employees have received an over-40s healthcheck.
  • Over 120 employees have received an under-40s healthcheck.
  • 1,000 flu vaccinations have been purchased by the council for employees.
  • One healthcheck resulted in an employee being rushed to hospital for potentially life-saving treatment for a blood-pressure-related condition.
  • Earlier referrals to occupational health for stress-related and musculoskeletal conditions have increased by 30% due to greater awareness.

Judges’ comments

“Very well-considered programme, using a variety of approaches. The use of wearable tech is particularly impressive.”


Virgin Management

About the organisation

Virgin Management supports the growth of the Virgin brand by developing and nurturing valuable Virgin businesses. It also manages corporate affairs and communications work for Richard Branson and the Virgin Group, as well as helping to coordinate communications work across its group of companies.

The challenge

Virgin Management’s objective was to empower people to make good choices about their wellbeing, based on what was important to them. With this approach, it wanted to ensure that what it offered was not a temporary programme, but a long-term investment – a wellbeing journey with its people.

What the organisation did 

  • Took the opportunity to partner with a sister company working in the wellbeing field, Virgin Pulse.
  • Devised a health strategy including: an online platform to track employee progress and earn “health miles”; a Virgin Pulse Max pedometer, which syncs with the online platform; the notion of “Gamification” – where gentle competition drives engagement; and rewards of cash and wellbeing-related gifts and activities.
  • Arranged a selection of free taster sessions on: promoting our cycle-to-work scheme; mindfulness sessions; taster massages and yoga sessions; wellbeing sessions focusing on relaxation, managing stress, and higher productivity at work; and financial wellbeing sessions on making the most of a budget.
  • Provided fresh fruit and vegetable baskets and a new library of books on wellbeing.
  • Revised family policies to allow all parents who have worked at the company for four years to take 52 weeks’ parental leave at full pay. Those who have worked between three and four years are entitled to 75% pay, two and three years’ service entitled to 50% pay and those who have been at the company for less than two years are entitled to 25% of their basic salary.

Benefits and achievements

  • Enrolment into the Pulse scheme of 61%, compared to the typical 35-40%.
  • Most (95%) enrolled employees are earning health miles.
  • More than half (52%) of uploading members are getting the recommended amount of activity.
  • Virgin Management members are, on average, taking 7,939 steps a day.
  • Over 60% of employees now use the option to work from home when it suits them.
  • Ability to hot desk in the offices fosters a collaborative approach, while minimising the requirement for office space.
  • Virgin Management also launched unlimited leave, where employees are required to take a certain number of days for their personal wellbeing, but can request unlimited additional leave.

Judges’ comments

“Excellent innovation in approach including the use of technology.”

 

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