PT Awards 2013 winners: Random House wins Award for Health at Work

Random House collect their award for Health at Work at the Personnel Today Awards 2013.
Random House collect their award for Health at Work at the Personnel Today Awards 2013.

The Random House Group won the 2013 Personnel Today Award for Health at Work at this year’s ceremony on Park Lane. Here we profile what the publisher achieved, alongside the entries of our runners-up.

Judges
Noel O’Reilly
, editor, Occupational Health
Eugene Farrell, head of first call and crisis call services, AXA PPP Healthcare

 


Random House Group (Publishing Division)

 

About the organisation

Random House Group is one of the largest general book publishing companies in the UK. It comprises five publishing companies: Cornerstone Publishing, Vintage Publishing, Ebury Publishing, Random House Children’s Publishers UK and Transworld Publishers, together boasting more than 40 diverse and highly respected imprints. Its distribution business services its own imprints as well as 60 other UK publishers.

The challenge

The publishing industry is experiencing a period of unprecedented change caused by the economic downturn and the emergence of digital media. The demands placed upon Random House staff are changing rapidly, putting them under new and increased pressures. The company wanted to ease this pressure with affordable, in-house health and wellbeing measures.

What the organisation did

  • Ran free workshops covering a variety of topics, such as nutrition, relaxation, sleep habits, stress relief and energy levels.
  • “Deskercises” were sent via email to encourage staff to move at their desks.
  • Displayed calorie and nutritional information in the canteen so that staff can make informed choices.
  • To help overcome lack of affordable local leisure activities, it built a dedicated wellbeing studio for classes, a massage room, a quiet space for meditation and a shower block.
  • Negotiated discounted rates from local suppliers to provide yoga, pilates and sports massage.
  • Integrated wellbeing programmes with corporate social responsibility – for example, the annual “Random Ramble”, where staff cumulatively walk the length of Britain; 140 staff took part in 2012, raising £4,800.
  • Introduced free or value-for-money activities such as discounted fitness classes or personal training.
  • Set up a wellbeing committee comprised of HR, facilities and communications staff, which liaises with the staff forum for feedback and ideas.

 

Benefits and achievements

  • Thirty-one per cent of staff attended at least one workshop and 13.6% of staff attend at least one weekly exercise class.
  • Fifty-eight per cent of workers reported a decrease in their stress levels.
  • In 2012, 189 (32%) staff took part in the Global Corporate Challenge increasing their average daily step count from 8,000 to 14,704.
  • Staff personally rating their health as “good or excellent” stands at 78%.
  • Reduction in medical insurance premiums: between 2010 and 2013, annualised benefits payments decreased by 31%, an underlying saving (adjusted for high claims) of £60,000.
  • Medical insurance payments reduced from £33,000 per month in the year to April 2010, to £19,000 per month since April 2012.

 

Judge’s comments

“Good vision of what the organisation wanted… Very good results with a reduction in negative health spending” – Eugene Farrell

 

The runners-up in this category are as follows:


Hertfordshire County Council

 

About the organisation

Hertfordshire County Council is the county’s largest employer, delivering a range of local services to more than 1 million people.

The challenge

The transfer of responsibility for health improvement to local authorities in April 2013 meant that public health became central to what Hertfordshire does as a council. To reflect this, it launched a wide-ranging workforce health and wellbeing strategy in 2012, despite ongoing budget pressures.

What the organisation did

  • Launched “Healthy Herts” intranet pages with access to a range of online wellbeing tools.
  • Quarterly e-wellbeing newsletter is sent to all employees, with printed copies for harder to reach groups.
  • Began a Healthy Herts “Pulse check” email for employee suggestions.
  • Created a wellbeing events calendar linking to national promotions.
  • Launched a smoking cessation campaigns (including promoting Stoptober).
  • Ran a “Feel Good Feb” market with health and lifestyle promotion stalls.
  • Hosted “Workplace Stress” health MOT talks on public health.
  • To better manage ill health and workplace pressure, offered managers training and e-learning tools.
  • Launched “Seed Swap” – employee-ran initiative encouraging healthy eating and gardening.
  • Began offering Herts rewards on health and wellbeing benefits, including: a cycle to work scheme, discounted gym membership, discounted health plans and an employee assistance programme.
  • Offered a new musculo-skeletal intervention scheme via occupational health.
  • Developed an offer to help all employers in Hertfordshire achieve the same benefits.

 

Benefits and achievements

  • Sickness absence has reduced from 9.5 days in 2009 to 7.3 days in 2013.
  • Employee engagement has increased from 49% in 2011 to 60% in 2012.
  • Almost 80% of employees feel their manager is sensitive to life outside of work.
  • More than 60% of employees have some form of flexible working arrangement.
  • Visits to wellbeing pages have increased from 583 in 2012 to more than 2,000 so far this year.
  • Employee assistance programme use has increased by 30%.
  • Thirty-nine employees attended stop smoking sessions, with a 64% quit rate (above the national average of 60%).
  • Stress-related illness or mental health issues are now dealt with more quickly.
  • Identified health risks early through proactive screening, including four people who needed to see their GP because of blood pressure levels and seven people getting support on bowel cancer symptoms

 

Judge’s comments

“Well communicated and sustained health promotion campaign showing demonstrable impact.” – Noel O’Reilly

 


Edge Hill University

 

About the organisation

Edge Hill University offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses, research and knowledge transfer services.

The challenge

Edge Hill wanted staff to reach their full potential and achieve job satisfaction, as well as to reduce levels of absenteeism, so it developed a “whole person” health and wellbeing strategy encompassing health, emotional wellbeing, financial wellbeing, work-life balance and social wellbeing.

What the organisation did

  • HR worked collaboratively with line managers to embed the wellbeing agenda and creating a positive organisational culture conducive to healthy, energised, high-performing staff.
  • Offered counsellor-led sessions on combating workplace stress with reflexology, laughter yoga, acupuncture, light box therapy and Indian head massage.
  • Offered bone-density testing and access to an onsite chiropractor, osteopath and physiotherapist.
  • Ran early morning Tai Chi and swim sessions.
  • Introduced regular health road shows promote healthy lifestyle choices, topics included managing migraine, back care, healthy hearts and diabetes care.
  • Ran regular financial wellbeing sessions on pensions and investments or how to help staff make their money go further and manage debt.
  • Put in place a flexi-time policy with the opportunity to buy additional leave, plus services such as holiday clubs for children, swimming lessons, sports coaching, performing arts groups and a free family film club.
  • Ran a parent-at-work group run by health and education professionals on topics that include early years development, first aid and resuscitation procedures for children.
  • Introduced a group to support members of staff with caring responsibilities.
  • Began two-way dialogue between staff and the wellbeing team on programme of events.

 

Benefits and achievements

  • In the 2012 staff survey, 89% of staff felt it was excellent or good employer.
  • In the 2012 managers’ survey, 83% rated Edge Hill’s approach to wellbeing as “excellent” or “good”.
  • Reduced annual sick pay costs and the number of staff reporting sickness absence.
  • Staff turnover and grievances have remained consistently low.
  • Increase of 32% in the number of staff benefiting from occupational health support.
  • A range of key performance indicators relating to staff data and human resources management is now reported in the HR annual report.

 

Judge’s comments

“An excellent combination of in-work out of work programmes… The savings demonstrated prove the effectiveness and benefits to the business.” – Eugene Farrell

 


Sovini Group

 

About the organisation

Established in late 2011, Sovini Group is a collection of social housing associations including One Vision Housing and Pine Court Housing. The associations are all based in and around Merseyside and together manage more than 12,000 homes. Sovini Maintenance Services is a commercial maintenance and construction company, which provides services to Sovini Group organisations and external clients.

The challenge

In April 2012, Sovini introduced a “Feel Good” initiative, offering a programme of varied activities that both physically and mentally promoted the working environment. The objectives of the initiative were to boost employee engagement, satisfaction, morale, retention and performance, as well as improving health and wellbeing.

What the organisation did

  • Provided a counselling service, physiotherapy sessions and health checks.
  • Set up a state of the art, in-house gym and subsidised gym memberships.
  • A new in-house bistro provides menus at discounted prices, fruit deliveries and healthy vending machine as well as healthy takeaway options for the evening.
  • Introduced exercise classes such as yoga, spinning, relaxation sessions.
  • Ran daily challenges and workshops on healthy cooking, a step challenge and healthy quizzes.
  • Arranged parties, festivals and events for customers, staff and families.
  • Provided training for the management team in effectively implementing revised absence management policy; awards for 100% attendance.
  • Set up a communications programme including intranet, staff group and suggestion scheme.
  • Sent regular internal communications via social media, video, phone, email, letter, leaflets and posters.
  • Offered regular events to promote and highlight recent topics including debt advice, mental health, “Stoptober”, “Dry January” and so on.

 

Benefits and achievements

  • Reduction in staff turnover from 21% to 7%.
  • Reduction in sickness levels from 8% in 2006 to 0.93% in 2011/12, saving the company at least £25,000 year on year.
  • Increased staff satisfaction levels from 75% in 2008 to 95% in 2011/12.
  • Eighty-nine per cent of staff are happy with the balance between their home and work life in 2011/12 compared with 72% of staff in 2010/11.
  • Increased number of 100% attendance employees – more than 200 out of 400 staff in 2012/13.
  • Ninety-two per cent of employees say that they love their jobs and 95% are proud to work at Sovini.
  • A quarter of staff have more than five years’ service.
  • Retained Investors in People (IIP) Gold and achieved IIP Health & Wellbeing in 2012.

 

Judge’s comments

“A highly visible and successful programme. The range of elements is very good and really engages staff to provide excellent measurable results.” – Eugene Farrell

 


London Overground Rail Operations (LOROL)

 

About the organisation

LOROL is a train operating company contracted to operate the London Overground train service on the National Rail network, under the franchise control of Transport for London.

The challenge

Traditionally, the rail industry has had a good track record in managing and improving safety but has tended to ignore the health of its employees. From when LOROL took over in November 2007, it worked from the premise that an employee that feels valued with a strong support system behind them will be better able to cope with their work and perform more effectively.

What the organisation did

  • Put employee health, safety and security at the heart of its health and wellbeing approach.
  • Developed a package of health and wellbeing benefits for employees.
  • Ran a “Wellbeing at Work” study to help identify gaps in attendance data, develop a deeper understanding of the absence triggers and establish wellbeing profiles for conductors and station staff where absence was highest.
  • Strong leadership from HR and senior directors through regularly travelling out on the network and asking staff about how they can be made more comfortable.
  • Launched “Taking care of you” initiatives aimed at helping employees to be healthier and happier at work.
  • Set up manager training sessions to improve understanding of absence and its impact on the business.
  • Collaborated with trade unions to implement improvements.

 

Benefits and achievements

  • Reduction in long-term sickness of 20% during 2011/2012.
  • Attendance improved from 96.1% to 96.7% during 2012.
  • Total days lost to absence were reduced by 1,600 days in 2012/13, representing an estimated saving of £340,000 for the period.
  • Overall passenger satisfaction up from 57% in 2007 to 92% in spring 2013 (source: National Passenger Survey).

 

Judge’s comments

“Targeted approach to staff wellbeing that has helped support major improvements to business performance.” – Noel O’Reilly

 


Centro

 

About the organisation

Centro, the West Midlands passenger transport executive and authority, promotes and develops public transport across the West Midlands.

The challenge

In late 2008, an external review of sickness absence identified absence levels to be in excess of 10 days per year per employee. The organisation had no system in place to capture real-time information and conducted no return-to-work interviews. It needed to address health and wellbeing in the workforce and introduce a better system for measuring and dealing with absence.

What the organisation did

  • Project team researched best practice in absence management.
  • Developed an employee health and wellbeing policy that incorporated mandatory return-to-work interviews, procedures for monitoring and managing short- and long-term sickness absence and the utilisation of trigger mechanisms for identifying a need for more formal intervention.
  • A consultation group was set up comprised of representatives from across the organisation as a whole, including employees, line managers, senior managers and trade union representatives, and a draft policy was reviewed.
  • Launched final version of the policy in March 2009 with a series of separate workshops for employees and managers, plus advice on how to handle difficult conversations.
  • Revised mechanism for reporting and recording sickness absence was implemented that allowed for real-time information to be presented to managers and senior managers.
  • Tendered for, and appointed, a new occupational health provider that gives advice and support on best practice.
  • Introduced a programme of wellbeing initiatives including an annual Wellbeing Day, quarterly “lunch and learn” seminars, monthly subsidised acupressure massages and weekly free fresh fruit and smoothies.

 

Benefits and achievements

  • Reduction in average absence levels of more than 50% – from 11.6 days per employee in March 2009 to 5.2 days in March 2013.
  • Reduction in sick pay costs and costs associated with finding temporary resources to cover staff leave.
  • Health and wellbeing days are oversubscribed, and more than 130 staff take advantage of free fruit and smoothies.
  • Managers are more aware of the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and proactively managing health issues for staff in their teams and directorates.

 

Judge’s comments

“The focus on wellbeing and health has paid handsome dividends in the reduction of absence.” – Eugene Farrell

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